essence of jouissance. And it is this essence that xes precise traits of the real – rstlaid down in the past – in the outside world of the Other and others who resemblethem. Resemblance, for Lacan, belongs to metonymy, to desire. These ‘objects’ thatresemble something like a
, which is not one, are
or masks. Made upof unary traits, identicatory pieces of narcissism, and the libido and traumata thatcompose the real, these ‘objects’ function like a signpost that says ‘that’s it’, ‘that’s
das Ding an sich
’. In a sense, the decomposed mask would reveal a puzzle of piecesrst treasured at the moment of loss and the originary e
ort of rending. Theybecome known, in memory, then, as pieces of the metonymic jouissance (essence) of a ‘person behind’ who seeks the particular details of her or his pleasure in a preciseunary trace; not in a whole other or even in whole objects. Perhaps someone desires,beyond all reason, a new car of a certain type. Further details would reveal that thatis because this girl’s father sold that type of car in his business. The desired car is ametonymy of an Oedipal nostalgia. Unary (non-dialectical) traits bind concreteimages, words, and a
ects to the void place of holes
that we continually llby desired objects in everyday life and in dreams.
In this essay, I shall work with the thesis that dreams are valuable because they sendmessages to the Other and to ego ideal others about what is lacking in the dreamer’sdesire. In this sense, dreams are tautological, because the message sent is, really, tothe dreamer him or herself. Thus, when Freud remarks that the censor is absent indreams, this would be equivalent to saying that the symbolic order of the secondary-process signier is missing. Or the imaginary father, acting as visible agent of thesuperego, is missing. Neither the well-made narrative, nor the supervising super-ego privileged in everyday life, gives order to the dream. Rather the imaginaryorders the dream, functioning as a virtual real, giving the dream its characterof true-seemingness, or semblance.Lacan maintained in
Le se ´minaire, livre V
that the distance that separates the spokenword (
) – which is lled up by the being of the subject from the empty discoursewhich buzzes around human acts, from the ‘something’ of unconscious meaning,helps to explain the motive of dreams as that of
. In other words,desire takes on the clothes pro
ered by the imaginary. Thus, Lacan’s reinterpretationof Freud’s dream theory, is a departure from Freud’s idea of dreams as wishfulllment. Unconscious desire, for Lacan, is not a wish. Unconscious desire meansthat the unconscious is radically absent from a conscious assessment of meaning,although it is present as the mysterious motivator of intentions and acts. And, as amotivator, it works according to the thought processes typical of an unconsciousprimary-process arrangement of thought, rather than that of secondary-processgrammar or other kinds of motivators such as biology or instinctual causality. Tothe degree that human acts especially dreams – are seemingly irrational, Lacan callsthem impenetrable by the imagination of motives which are irrational insofar as theyare only rationalized in the egoistic system of misrecognition. ‘These [missed] acts,these [forgotten] words reveal a truth from behind. Within what we call freeassociations, dream images, symptoms, a word bearing the truth is revealed. If Freud’sdiscovery has any meaning, it is that truth grabs error by the scru
of the neck inthe mistake’.
If, however, one were to recognize unconscious motives for what they