TRACES – ORIENTATION : Éric Laurent – extracts (1)

Éric Laurent – extracts

"Writing is a trace in which an effect of language can be read"
— Lacan, XX, 121


NLS Congress presents

By Daniel Roy

From 2013 on, Éric Laurent gives an extremely precise commentary on Jacques-Alain Miller’s reading of Lacan’s last teaching regarding the question of the body.  This foregrounds the real consistency of the body as a body that “enjoys itself” (se jouit), by tying it to the symbolic consistency of  lalangue and to imaginary consistency. This is an opportunity to revisit the importance of hysteria, of its symptom and of its identification, to take a step beyond “the horizon of love for the father.” Then to follow step by step Lacan’s text “Joyce the Symptom,” published in the Autres écrits and translated by A.R. Price in The Lacanian Review, No. 5, 2018.
His article “To Speak with One’s Symptom, to Speak with One’s Body” (“Parler avec son symptôme, parler avec son corps”), published in Quarto, No. 105, in September 2013, traces essential avenues for us, which were then unfolded in his seminar at the École de la Cause freudienne (ecf),  2014-2015 (a recording of which can be found on Radio Lacan: This was his intervention at the ENAPOL [1] IV Study Days, “Speaking with One’s Body: The Crisis of Standards and the Turmoil of the Real.” Here is the introduction:

"The choice of title indicates a concern and relates to a fact. Words and bodies are splitting up in the current arrangement of the Other of civilization […] On the one hand, norms have more difficulty bringing bodies into standard uses through their forced inscription, an infernal machine where the master signifier sets up its disciplines of labelling and education. Rather, the bodies are left to their own devices, feverishly labelling themselves with signs that fail to give them consistency. On the other hand, the turmoil of the real can be read as one of the consequences of ‘the rise to the zenith of object a.
The foregrounding of the demand of jouissance bends bodies to an iron law, the consequences of which must be followed.
Bodies seem to take care of themselves. If anything, it’s the language of biology that seems to take hold of them. It operates on the body, cuts it up into its own messages, its unequivocal messages which are not those of language. It produces operated-upon, therapeutized or genetically modified bodies – we will all be genetically modified bodies soon – cosmeticized by these divisions. This is a real whose effectiveness was underlined by Jacques-Alain Miller in his little treatise on “Lacanian Biology” (published in English as “Lacanian Biology and the Body Event,” trans. B.P. Fulks and J. Jauregui, Lacanian Ink, No. 18, Spring 2001, pp. 6-29).
Psychoanalysis has grasped the joining of words and bodies from a precise angle, that of the symptom. From Charcot’s clinical spectacle, Freud extracted the rebus of the formation of the hysterical symptom. Lacan can say: “Freud arrived at a time when he understood that it was only the symptom that interested anyone,” that everything that had been wisdom, ways of doing, or even the divine gaze was leaving the scene; it was the symptom that remained insofar as it questioned everyone with regard to what disturbed their bodies. This symptom, insofar as it is the presence of the signifier of the Other in itself, is demarcation, cutting. This is where the traumatic surge of jouissance occurs.
Freud, setting out from the hysterical symptom, recognizes the path by which the disturbance of the body imposes itself and which comes, by means of words, to redraw, mark, the paths by which jouissance occurs. The axis around which the organization of the hysterical symptom revolves is love for the father. This is what keeps her body always on the verge of unravelling, it is what makes it “the handle,” to use Lacan’s expression. This is precisely what is in question in our time. This is why we must conceive of the symptom not on the basis of a belief in the Name of the Father, but on the basis of the effectiveness of psychoanalytic practice. By its handling of the truth, this practice obtains something that touches the real. Something resonates in the body, starting from the symbolic, and causes the symptom to respond.
The question that arises for us is: how “do bodies speak” beyond the hysterical symptom, which presupposes the horizon of love for the father?"
Our next orientation text will draw on Éric Laurent’s book, L’envers de la Biopolitique, which gives this approach its full scope.
Translated by Janet Haney

[1]  Encuentro Americano de Psicoanálisis de la Orientación Lacaniana.

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