OF SEM BL ANTS in the Relation Between Sexes

Jacques-Alain M iller


Semblants, again. This time, as implicated in the relation between

Where are men in this respect? Perhaps they are more captive of semblants than women. Perhaps women are closer to the real in such a way that when one speaks of ‘women and semblants’, it would be men who are in the place of the semblant. It appears that Hesiod was the first one to speak, in his Theogony, a work which is the matrix of an enormous amount of myths, of the race of women — genos gynaicon. From then on, after him, in the Greek literature of Antiquity, one speaks of women in terms of ikelon, which signifies semblant, copy, of dolos, which signifies ruse, of pema, which signifies calamity. This means that to slander women is something which began a very long time ago. Semonides, from the appropriately named city of Amorgos, had already written a poem entitled Iambe, in which he does not speak of genos gynaicon but of tribes of women. In this poem, recently reprinted in England, he enumerates the women. The poem is a catalogue — written, this goes without saying, without knowing Mozart’s Don Giovanni — which enumerates the types of women, which he does not call genos but phyla, namely species. The first word of his poem is koris, which is translated as on the side, but, after Lacan, one realises that it must be translated as diversity, not as unity but as diversity. It is with this word that Semonides begins his poem.

The race of women

In his 1932 article. amongst which he stresses modesty. Thus. Lacan’s formulation is sufficiently known for us to take it as a starting point. as he puts it. to cover women. In this sense. a type of woman we will encounter in the course of this hour. we call women these subjects which have an essential relation with the nothing. 1 The nothing. he enumerates some of the psychical traits of feminine maturation. masks of nothing. The quotes mentioned earlier are sufficient for us to think that Lacan’s formulation. there is nothing left but to invent her. only masks are encountered. which is sufficient to justify the connection between women and semblants. I use this expression with caution. translated by Strachey as shame. which he situates on the basis of that which would be an initial intention to veil the absence of the genital organ. the veil is the first semblant. such as it was defined by Lacan. at least since the Greeks. ‘the Woman does not exist’ — there are only women — was something that has always been well known.N. T. In a way it can be said that women are covered the Woman cannot be uncovered. has a relation with the nothing but. and used by Freud in Three Essays to mark one of the three ways of repression. Freud thought this bond of women with the nothing on the basis of a corporeal. They are also linked to the term Scham.: The Spanish pudor and the French pudeur do not have an exact English equivalent. They imply the wish not to be an object of desire but rather to be an object of love. in a certain way. In this place.10 Jacques-Alain Miller Amongst other things. That this place should remain empty does not prevent us from encountering something there. Today. for any subject. these subjects that women are have a more essential. anatomic nothing. I have a risky idea of adding another type to this catalogue. What do we call a semblant? We call semblant that which has the function of veiling the nothing. modesty 1 and respect . The history of anthropology testifies to the fact that it is a constant preoccupation of humanity to veil. more proximate relation with the nothing. In this. ‘The Woman does not exist’ does not signify that the place of the woman does not exist but that this place remains essentially empty.

gives birth. It is because the Analyst does not exist that respect and its susceptibilities occupy a place that one may think excessive in the functioning of analytic groups — even if it is a School. correlatively. it veils absence at the same time as it constitutes this absence as something. brings to the surface. in effect. One could also say that it phallicises the body. But if one is to accept the construction which leads to define the fact of this minus. that her castration was effective. and. considering that. And we are not short of men’s testimonies. give phallic value. Freud. Thus we have a demand for respect. a demand that a distance be respected. This obviously has to do with the fact that the Analyst does not exist. Hence one grasps how outrage may have an erotic value. his quality of war veteran? When there is respect. Freud proposed what he calls Penisneid as the fundamental signification of this not-having. Perhaps to respect would always be to respect castration. What does one respect in the father if not. Like modesty. the question remains as to its subjectification. for whom modesty appears as having a phallic value. through its localisation. Respect signifies that there is something which should not be seen. respect has to do with castration. which should not be touched. one sometimes witnesses what Lacan indicates to be a delusional respect. to use Freudian terminology. attracts the gaze. unlike Lacan. what Lacan once called. that is to say what sense her not-having acquires for the subject. de facto. and it is there that the handling of the veil is shown to be phallicising. because of that. It is the Freudian name of not-having. there is outrage. she was marked with a minus. for example in relation to the father. seems to have stopped at the anatomical difference of the woman. to any part of the body. a very stringent demand for respect coming from the elderly or those who put themselves in this position. we have a paradox in modesty. The veil of modesty can. Towards a ‘feminine clinic’ . whether it be in literature or in the clinic. There is a thin line between modesty and respect. The historical variations on modesty illustrate that it is an invention which. According to Freud. the nothing is always at play. In analytic groups. that is to say the act of veiling creates.Of Semblants in the Relation Between Sexes 11 There.

and it is not certain whether Freud worked out a solution for women other than this one. We could almost speak of a fundamental fantasy of injustice. in a somewhat crude way. namely the solution on the side of being. was placed by Freud in this series. The question remains open. or another order of solution. the analytic investigation will be directed towards the goods which may successfully cover over the hole of the minus. Freud laid stress on the supplements encountered or invented by the subject to deal with her minus. The not-having is sublimated into a not-having-the-right. For example. To this end. To become a mother. the fundamental minus with which. and currency of a feeling of depreciation. one can already speak of feminine clinic directly on the basis of the conceptualisation of the minus. the clinic of inhibition takes on different aspects in masculine and feminine clinics. This signifies that she is the one who accumulates money. maternity itself can be considered to be part of the feminine pathology. The child. For example in the feminine clinic we could speak of the space taken by the feeling of injustice. too. We could maybe say — it certainly would be entertaining — that the very origin of the concept of justice must be looked for in the ‘feminine’ complaint. Is becoming a mother the solution to the feminine position? It is a solution on the side of having. there is another solution. there is in its core a not-having-the-right to knowledge. And indeed. We could also speak of the extent. This solution on the side of being . Still. is to become the one who has par excellence. Such a feeling is also linked to that which could. can be the name for the wife — Ma bourgeoisie. It does not only concern an inhibition to knowledge or to study but. Lacan himself took a great delight in pointing out this denomination of la bourgeoisie which. Without making any claim to completeness. that it is up to her to manage the household money. in colloquial idiom. and.12 Jacques-Alain Miller Thus the gates to what one could call ‘feminine clinic’ stand open. He emphasises obtention and giving. in a certain sense. be put in the parenthesis of a feeling of inferiority. on the side of having. according to Freud. the subject has a relation. frequency. an Other of demand. a theme that could fill many analytic sessions. frequently. that is to say into an illegitimacy which is not encountered so heavily in the clinic of men.

one of the solutions were to displace this lack towards the Other by attacking its completeness. but in relation to the Other.Of Semblants in the Relation Between Sexes 13 consists in not covering over the hole but in metabolising and dialecticising it. a whole feminine clinic. and which consists in being the hole. and in incarnating it. the clinic of lack of identity opens up. that is to say building up one’s being with the nothing. and in being the hole. and to raise the question of differential diagnosis. The act of a ‘true’ woman . we know the solution that may be encountered. the virile Other. which can be noticed in the testimonies telling of a feeling of bodily fragmentation. as if. that is to say at the level of a feeling of radical incompleteness. Thus this solution consists in thinking that the Other. We can situate the lack of control. Its intensity in women is incommensurable with what is encountered in men. which can also be manifested at the level of that which is not finished. Lacan says that not only does the Woman not exist but also that there are true women — an expression which poses a problem for us. It is not that one cannot understand that women and truth may have something to do with each other. A lack of consistency comes on top of this lack of identity. We must realise that the expression ‘being the phallus’ already implies a certain depreciation with regard to the position of having of the virile Other. such as moments of absence from oneself. of being-nothing. in order to escape this lack of identity. since truth is distinct from knowledge. We have thus little choice but to speak of a being of nothing and of a suffering specific to this being of nothing. From this perspective. This may go far enough to make us think of psychosis. What Lacan brought to the clinic under the expression ‘being the phallus’ corresponds to this variant of being the lack in the Other by giving this lack a positive value. In this case. lacks a hole. the affect through which one comes to realise that the mastery over one’s own body is slipping away. namely a reduction of the position of having of the Other to the status of semblant. In the feminine clinic. There are also testimonies of a strange relation to infinity. there are testimonies of a psychical suffering linked to an affect of non-being.

What would a true woman be. When does this cry — It’s a true woman! — come out of Lacan’s mouth? On the one hand. The true in a woman. this expression should always come out in this way.14 Jacques-Alain Miller since truth has the structure of fiction. and incarnate. She had betrayed her father and her homeland. We can also understand that women may be placed as the truth of a man in so far as they reduce masculine sublimations to lies. To be a mother. He indicates it much more discreetly than I do but. the failure of his concept. is for a woman to choose to exist as the Woman. It is something which is articulated with the sacrifice of goods. is to be measured by her subjective distance from the position of the mother. and on a single occasion. It is brought out at the beginning of Euripides’ play. in Lacan’s sense. Medea had done everything for her man. in so far as the Woman does not exist. that the mother has not filled in the hole in her. To make oneself exist as the mother is to make oneself exist as the Woman in so far as she has. It can only be said as tuché. following an indication of Lacan. visible. I thus regret not being able to offer the model of a sufficiently good mother. for it is not certain that a woman can sustain herself in the position of a true woman. it seems to me that one can introduce Medea today. the mother of one’s children. This is why she was living in exile in Corinth with her husband and children. and is thus dependant upon semblant. It may be that a woman deserves this exclamation precisely when she consents to her own modality of castration. or the model of supportive spouse. ‘It is a true woman’ can only be said in a cry of surprise. The true woman can only be declared one by one. and maybe only when one can perceive that it becomes palpable. then? There is a very simple answer to this question. in which it is explicitly mentioned that Medea was doing her best to consent to . Jason. From another perspective. had convinced the daughters of Pelias to kill him. I would like to say something of a character who can figure for us. whether it arises out of wonder or horror. give us a model — albeit an extreme one. as a lot of time has gone by. for we should not construct the concept of the true Woman. not one to identify with — of the ‘it is a true woman’. as Winnicott did.

give her explanations. The word episteme suits her well. of how they were with her until their death. when you offer . namely Medea’s knowledge. which is not without resonance for the analyst’s position. How does she construct her revenge? She will not kill the faithless one. and is driven to tears. women. the lines quoted by Lacan are not those telling of Medea’s crime but those she speaks to Creon — “Those who are fools will call you ignorant/and useless.Of Semblants in the Relation Between Sexes 15 everything Jason desired. there is nothing more sorrowful than us. There was no disagreement. And yet. In Medea’s own terms. pay the costs…. that is to say. she lost her joy of life. Her revenge will consist in killing what is most precious to him. Lacan refers once to Medea. and of how she led them to what was to become their grave. who are also those of Jason. and there it is the woman who. she is already in a zone where having no longer has any value for her without this man. Yet she provides us with the radical example of what it is to be a woman beyond being a mother. she was the perfect wife and mother. Of course we are not talking about imitating her. The whole of her being is in this act. In Euripides’ play. reassure her of his honourable intentions — he will take care of the children. in her. and she definitely leaves the register and the reign of the signifier. She kills her own children. She delights in speaking of them. It is then that Jason tells us that he wants to get married to someone else. we must now add something that is very present in the whole play. It would be too simple. Indeed. his new wife and his own children. she is prepared to kill them and — this is the most horror-ridden act in theatre — so she does. She was a bit of a criminal. Then we have this beautiful song: Of all that breathes and has conscience. She refuses the gifts. it is an outrage. In her own words. of her hopes for them. Even if I don’t want to expand on this. of the one who knows. a bit of a witch but perfect as wife and mother. And she goes through what we would call today a moment of depression. Creon’s daughter. Jason tries to appease her with soothing words. the value of this extreme act is admirable in so far as Medea is presented as a mother who deeply loves her children. As she explicitly puts it. wins over the mother. at this moment. she emerges from her depression. words are useless. Through this act. regarding some lines in which Medea appears in the position of the sage. From then on.

2 Lacan alludes that the act of a true woman — although I would not say that it is the act of Medea. even though it has the same structure — is the sacrifice of that which is most precious to her in order to drill. It is in this context that we find Lacan’s phrase referring to Gide — ‘poor Jason. and who stayed by Gide’s side in the position of a sacrificed and immutable angel. A true woman explores an unknown zone. Vellacott. Medea. a correspondence kept year after year. it is because she explores a region without marks. This verges on an emergence of the absolute. from the first encounter. Penguin. P. There is no way to negotiate. Let us also add that she does it for a man. that there never was a more beautiful correspondence. He too tells us that these letters were his most precious possession. 2 Eurupides. . when she burns the letters of André Gide. beyond borders. falling prey to the opinion of her social circle. She manages to turn her minus into her very own weapon. which he calls the child he never had. Poor men. which is more powerful and effective than any war weapon. she encounters a deadly sword. who don’t know how to recognise the Medeas in their wives! This is where there is no proper measure. Protestant. contrary to what Goethe thought. although not because these values are disregarded./As for those thought intelligent. Lacan recognised Medea’s act in the act of Gide’s wife. that is a thing they will not stand”. transgresses limits. 1966. One could ridicule the latter. We must also stress that she acts using the minus and not the plus. who could be described as a virgin. which she had herself called her most precious possession. as a character in Euripides’ work had expressed the wish. he does not recognise Medea’. Indeed. No doubt it is something which goes beyond all law and human affection. trans. if people rank/you above them. They were Gide’s love letters to her. in her exclusive relation with a man. London.16 Jacques-Alain Miller them unfamiliar knowledge. But what attracts Lacan’s attention is precisely her act. he does not recognise the Medea in his angelic wife. a hole which will never be sealed. In the very midst of a situation in which she appears to be defenceless. meanspirited bourgeois wife. If Medea gives us an example of the disorientation of a true woman. in a man.

burdened and embarrassed by having. There are other modalities. Lacan thought that there was no solution for a woman on the side of having. one for me. since he has something to lose. par excellence. concessions signify to cede. A masculine cowardice is here contrasted with the feminine limitless. it is to escape from women. and that such a perspective would only lead to falsities and inauthenticities. and to realise herself as woman through this not-having. a jouissance of ownership. finally. whether it be that of Medea or of Madeleine Gide. we are talking about reactions to the betrayal of men. to escape from the hole. Phallic jouissance is. And. Having is clearly linked to masturbation. if he goes to war. the feminine semblant. It seems to me that Lacan is not merely thinking differently from but also contrary to Freud. Not-having and having . Thus. men are not without semblants but they are there in order to protect their little having. and this may go as far as a subject protecting himself by means of impotence. We could speak of the subjectification of the genital organ in man. also known to Lacan. on the contrary. the mask of the lack. The ‘Lacanian’ man. is. This is not the case with the semblant properly speaking. her soul. But let’s put the masculine having aside. it is as if he was the victim of a theft to such an extent that he retains his masturbation as a bonus. for example when he indicates that there are no limits to the concessions a woman will make for a man. and do so under the title of The having — the having as a feeling which gives him the superiority of ownership. he is condemned to prudence.Of Semblants in the Relation Between Sexes 17 In those cases. It means that every woman is able to go towards not-having. as a shelter for a jouissance all for himself — One for her. whether it be with her body. something good but which also comes with the fear that he be robbed. And when. Here. as he is depicted throughout the seminars and the Ecrits. This means that the subject does not give the key to the till to anyone. and he even derives satisfaction from it. and. which is. a heavily clogged being. it happens that he gives. The Lacanian man is fundamentally fearful. stricto sensu. and thus of a punishment. Indeed. her possessions. Having is for him a burden.

shows to the man that having is ridiculous. on the contrary. In a certain way. and demands a great deal of respect. she is the woman with postiche. and it is not uncommon for her to complete herself by means of a man in whose shadow she remains. on the side of having. the one with postiche conceals her lack-of-having and prances about making a show of the fact that she is the owner who lacks nothing or no one. I will carefully introduce this character. what I call the woman with postiche. of excess. allows a man to appear as desiring in so far as she assumes the minus and the semblants that are put into play. who is on the side of being. that she succeeds in being the phallus. the woman with postiche. When. she remains a woman — and this can be observed through the wild passion with which she protects her possessions — with a trait of hubris. On the contrary. The woman with postiche The woman with postiche is the one who artificially covers what she lacks. It is on the basis of her lack-of-having. She demands respect as something absolutely owed to her. the one who requires not to be looked at too closely. from the woman who is constituted on the side of being the phallus. and secretly. They have nothing to do with each other. what she demands is the distance necessary to make believe that the postiche is true. the woman with postiche exposes man as castrated. the one which men lack. the most conservative subject possible. be her property. We must distinguish the phallic woman. at the end of Euripides’ play. in Lacan’s sense. However. ‘seeming’ is essential in so far as it must appear to come from her. on condition that. For the woman with postiche.18 Jacques-Alain Miller What does it mean to live subjected to the signification of having? In order to pave the way for an answer. shows her lack ostentatiously. she obtains it from a man. which is constituted as the woman who has. in every case. A true woman. on the contrary. a ‘true woman’. With regard to the man. it is the ruination of . In opposition to this. Let us shed some light on the ambiguity of the concept ‘phallic woman’. even if they can be encountered as dividing the same woman. A woman who is constituted on the side of being the phallus takes upon herself her lack-of-having. Medea leaves on the winged chariot of the sun. the former woman. recognised as such. The latter.

for this Lacanian postiche is not designed to make believe that she has it. does not pose a threat to a man. It is much less hassle to pair up with a woman with postiche. It is a postiche which says — I am a postiche. considering any lack of respect to be an outrage to remind ourselves of Freud’s phrase of ‘those who love their delusion as they love themselves’. in so far as it is handled by a man. when he speaks of the absence of the penis which makes of the woman the phallus. a signal to indicate her lack and to bring it to light. she receives respect and her castration is left to rest. In return.Of Semblants in the Relation Between Sexes 19 the man. as is demonstrated in this simple compliance with man’s desire when she yields to his demand by lending herself to his fantasy. The supposed knowledge of women It is from feminine sexuality and from nowhere else that we can situate jouissance. . We encounter the word postiche in a fragment on page 825 of Ecrits in Lacan’s Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire [p. This woman with postiche does not appear to be castrated. On the contrary. on the contrary. in so far as it exceeds the phallus and the allsignifier. In the same way that Magritte’s painting declares — ‘This is not a pipe’. This is not a woman’s initiative. It is a semblant which says — ‘this is not a semblant’. And this man is the one who is not afraid of the feminine castration and of not-having. sometimes concealed. as the man can then deposit his own possessions in a safe. We could say that the woman with postiche loves respect as she loves herself. is that she does not respect anything or anyone. Correlatively. he goes so far as to suggest that one could evoke the said absence by making the woman wear a postiche under a ball gown. while. Hence the importance she attaches to respect. And yet the truth of a woman. This Lacanian postiche. and she exposes the phallus itself as a semblant with regard to jouissance. for she does not demand from him that he desires. properly speaking. this postiche is the signal that she does not have it. she respects masculine semblants and adopts them. reveals itself as postiche. the postiche of the woman with postiche is a postiche which lies. The Lacanian postiche is a semblant which is open to being a semblant. She wants the others to believe in it.322].

due to the very nature of speech. it happens that a woman. In truth. it is quite a recent thing for men to take such themes upon themselves. These psychoanalytical themes are women’s themes. to write the novel La femme pauvre to define the fundamental feminine position. And this is why. All this fuss around the question of what they must be taught is not sufficient to mask the male fear of women’s supposed knowledge. The Church identified a threat in them and devised a solution for them — to marry them with God. today still. the Church had recognised true women. a veiled. educate them. For them. in so far as there is something which cannot be said. at its beginning. that raises with it the question of knowing how to teach them. And the feminine not-having is assumed through the vow of poverty. This structural secret of speech. as proposed by the Church. one could just as well situate the origin of the infinite as the function of the secret. It is not by chance that it befell a catholic author. a certain liberation. is a secret on the side of women. secret knowledge. as Freud says. for analysis offers them. a . Léon Bloy. to constitute the lie itself as object a. they incarnate in culture the subjects who are preoccupied by the question of sexuality. the secret can be a condition of jouissance and they can come to enjoy secrecy as such.20 Jacques-Alain Miller Before psychoanalysis. and which is present throughout the ages to the extent that women themselves end up believing that they are ignorant. because. The position of object a suits them too in so far as it requires some flexibility in relation to the fantasy of the Other In relation to this. As a mass phenomenon at least. some women utter these perpetual vows of obedience. Psychoanalysis suits women. desire and jouissance. They signify that no man can be introduced at this level of jouissance and that only God is equal to the task. chastity and poverty. Hence the famous question of women’s ignorance. These vows frame the jouissance beyond the phallus. we can perhaps say something of women in analysis. This is where we approach one of the many reasons for which we can say that psychoanalysis suits women. There is no doubt that sometimes women need an analysis in order to become aware of the knowledge of which they are supposed. On the basis of this. incarnates that which cannot be said. and this is why the subject-supposed-to-know is situated in her. love.

On the one hand then. We can displace this writing to the writing of fantasy. I could perhaps simply mention that it would be useful to think about the distinct function fantasy has for men and women. to indicate that there is in this desire a manifest will to jouissance which necessitates fantasy. or where they are so much in the habit of occupying the position of the subject-supposed-to-know that they are unable to accept it in another. While I will not develop these themes. one can already read in this formula the relation of this desire to A. Thus. if we are to refer to Lacan’s writing of feminine desire. as Lacan says in Encore. analysis offers women the repose that comes from the fact of delegating this position to the analyst. There are cases which demonstrate that some women can remain so glued to the function of object a that they cannot manage to cede it to the analyst. the drive-object does not figure in the pathways of this desire but passes through A. to cross the different levels of fantasy. where object a figures as part-object. The experience of analysis shows that the crossing of the different levels of fantasy makes this formula a concentrated one emphasising the function Φ. In other words. in so far as masculine desire is sustained by phallicised semblants. this time as masculine fantasy. These two formulae Fantasy according to sexes . In masculine desire. as $ ◊ Φ (a). And conversely. and. even if Lacan said a lot of other things afterwards. and to strip it to its bone only results in the phallic function becoming all the more insistent. on the one hand. It also suits women to occupy the place of the barred subject — the subject which experiences its lack of identity. To sustain oneself in such a position is tiring. Lacan wrote it Φ (a). is exercised upon them in men’s fantasy. This is his first way of writing masculine desire. even less if it is a man who is necessarily a bit silly. on the other hand. as object a. according to Lacan. only accentuates perverse desire — since there is for him a certain homology with perverse desire — objects are caught in the parenthesis of what is written as Φ. on the other.Of Semblants in the Relation Between Sexes 21 letting-go of the semblant. and to the phallus. A (ϕ). a liberation from the capture which. we have the relation to the supposed genital object. the nature of which. drive-object.

in his opinion. it may give her access to A. the phallic function becomes more insistent for him. who never had any doubts. at least in the French experience. as subjects they may end up on the side of Φ. This is the point at which oracular figures come to life. which gives rise to something of a monster who says — I know everything. when the pathways of desire open up for a woman. He thinks he has drawn from psychoanalysis all that it could offer him. which can be called the feeling of the end of analysis. and in this way concealing the A while incarnating it in a castrated man. It is women who remind men that they are deceived by semblants. the phallic function will stand in the way of the reduction of the phallus to the semblant. From time to time. if he presents himself for the pass it is because.22 Jacques-Alain Miller indicate that. and that they are deceived by semblants. that is to say to the knowledge that the Other does not exist. when it reminds men that their sublimations are nothing in comparison with jouissance. and it is on their side that the access to the truth that the phallus is not whole and is a semblant. The passant can or cannot have reached the end of his analysis in the opinion of the jury. which is the way of inscribing the postiche. he thinks he has cleared his account. it can be said that a woman’s desire will lead her naturally towards A. feminine cynicism already provides us with an anticipation of this. by playing whole in using the postiche. was such a figure in her time. in man. is easier for them than for the men. while. he is done with it. when a man encounters the pathways of his desire. and there is something. women are better friends with the real than men. while. they can be inscribed as subjects on the side of small phi. In this. at least according to our experience in France. Notwithstanding this. The analysand presents himself to the pass at the . The goddess Psychoanalysis and the goddess School This may sometimes come to light in the procedure of the pass. Of course. that is to say ϕ (x). and that these semblants are worthless in comparison with the real of jouissance. and the brilliant Melanie Klein. But if one is to depart from this pathway. An analysis of feminine desire pursued in this extreme direction can lead to a cancellation of A.

one does not know whether it has to do with analysis or with age. because. Sometimes.Of Semblants in the Relation Between Sexes 23 moment at which he thinks that the goddess Psychoanalysis realised its vows. offered them a gift. and that what he demanded from an analysis remains yet to be fulfilled. and his consent. and he will present the gem derived from psychoanalysis to the supposed experts. it is because it is possible for him to recognise to have learnt that his very vow was a vow of nothing. They themselves are transformed into symptoms. it is the incurable which constitutes a merit for the nomination: namely. the obsessed can think of other things. Sometimes he comes to say the contrary: that the goddess has done nothing for his wish. the access of the subject. in this case. They are their symptoms. The passant is the one who is really convinced that that there is nothing more to be obtained from the goddess. at times. They have realised their vows and the goddess gave them a present. and the anguished can enjoy in peace. for the former. For others. in their own way. for the latter there . that she fulfil his wish to belong to the register of the analysts of this School. and. Other analysands offer another kind of testimony. a feeling of necessity comes to denote the access to the impossible. that she rejected his demands. But if he goes through the pass. although not always in the manner they had hoped for. If. to the incurable. and that there is from then on nothing more to be hoped for from her. The passant does not always come to say that the goddess realised her vows. it happens through an identification with the symptom. the spouses divorce. In this perspective. or that the goddess who could have realised it does not exist. so that they may evaluate whether it is genuine or not. the goddess of the School. that psychoanalysis healed them from their lack-of-being. the only thing that is clear is that analysands grow old. It is the revelation of the symptom’s jouissance which puts an end to the lack-of-being. For some. it is the crossing of fantasy. and cease to wish for more. Both the former and the latter testify. the mad-about-the-body find their place. And he asks another goddess. It is true that one can observe through the pass that analysands change in the course of the analytical experience — the bachelors marry. They no longer hope to get rid of the symptom. the feeling of the end of analysis translates the stripping bare of the symptom’s jouissance.

In male sexuation. Here. be reduced to the first term. what can be translated of the crossing of fantasy in Freudian terms is a certain modification. the bare signifier of jouissance. as it is practised. the phallic function remains. Well. the last one remains. there is a very special pregnancy of fantasy. sometimes with brutality. One can very well see. Once all the semblants have been reduced. defined as the crossing of fantasy. there is something akin to a feeling of necessity. covering A with a screen. on the contrary. who sometimes takes a whole heap of cars and reduces it by means of compression into a cube-like sculpture. a feeling that one is accessing the impossible. It amounts to making a cube out of compressed cars. On the side of the crossing of fantasy. as a fruit of his experience. but not without honesty. albeit a very transitory one — that there is an influence of sexual difference in what refers to fantasy. in the end. Indeed. From the jury’s side. after all. This could be another end for an analysis. through the crossing. or with the silence of a stone. And the question can then be: how to practice analysis with the phallic function. Lacan would add. a possible result of analysis concerning masculine desire is when a terrible César-like compression of fantasy can be observed. I don’t know whether you are familiar with the work of the French sculptor César. It is as if one obtained. sometimes. This presents itself like a question. the fantasy is far from allowing a crossing to masculine desire and. that is to say of the possibility which gives access to contingency. one observes something like a compression of fantasy. of accessing contingency. The question is whether one would recognise this type of an end of analysis as a valid end since. the pass teaches us — at least this is my conclusion. that the question can. and is not without having positive . in Lacan’s two formulae of the sexuation of masculine and feminine desire. there is an affect of liberty. So much so that one could have thought that after the Proposition of 1967 on the pass. likewise. When one ends on the side of an identification with one’s symptom. and the subject remains glued to this last signifier.24 Jacques-Alain Miller is something akin to an affect of liberty. understood as a flexibilisation of the condition of love which governs object-choices. the end of analysis as an identification with the symptom. sometimes with rigidity.

. as he defined the very position of the analyst as having affinities with the feminine position. 1997. Must we recognise the identification with the symptom as another modality of the end of analysis? Freud had perceived that. Freud said that symptoms end up representing satisfactions.Of Semblants in the Relation Between Sexes 25 effects.36. its ideal. one more effort…! Translated by Véronique Voruz and Bogdan Wolf This text was originally presented in Buenos Aires in 1992. The last word could be — Men. The subject seeks his satisfactions in his symptoms. Lacan privileged the end of analysis on the feminine side. The most typical in the pass. but it has to be said that it is the feminine side. and appeared in French in La Cause freudienne No. an obsessional neurosis may be prolonged up to the point where the illness can no longer be distinguished from the treatment. and that this signification becomes progressively more important. by the same stroke. is certainly to be sought on the side of A.

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