Colette Soler-Lacanian Affects_ The function of affect in Lacan’s work-Routledge (2015)

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Lacanian Affects
Affect is a high-stakes topic in psychoanalysis, but there has long been a
misperception that Lacan neglected affect in his writings. We encounter
affect at the beginning of any analysis in the form of subjective suffering
that the patient hopes to alleviate. How can psychoanalysis alleviate such
suffering when analytic practice itself gives rise to a wide range of affects in
the patients relationship to the analyst?
Lacanian Affects:The Function of Affect in Lacans Work
is the 
rst book
to explore Lacans theory of affect and its implications for contemporary

Lacanian Affects

The function of affect in Lacanswork



Lacanian Affects:The Function of Affect in
Lacans Work
by Routledge
27 Church Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN32FA
and by Routledge
711 Third Avenue, NewYork, NY10017
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa business

1 In the beginning was Freud
2 Anguish reconsidered from the otherside
3 Lacans theory of affects
4 The Lacanian series of affects
5 Enigmatic affects
6 Analytic affects
7 After affects




Affects are a high-stakes topic in psychoanalysis. Isnt it owing to
ter may help them explore and assuage those symptoms? And who
2 Introduction
Introduction 3
problem but rather an unavoidable element of the therapeutic pro-
cess itself; he viewed it, moreover, as necessary to its progress.
When Lacan raised the question anew, he formulated it in terms
cation of the analysands
demands, but it was essentially the same debate. Lacan entered the
4 Introduction
transformations were structured not unlike a language, for he did
not hesitate to discuss the grammarŽ of the drives. Lacan, follow-
ing in Freuds footsteps here, continually reinvestigated their nature,
what differentiates them from the register of need in living beings,
and above all their genesis in beings who speak (
). Brie
implicit for a long time, the emphasis being placed less on affect as
an effect than on what produces it, the latter alone being what allows
us to transform it and even rectify it attimes.
In The Direction of the Treatment,Ž for example, all the affects
generated by what Lacan called the negative agency of language (that
is, by the fact that language introduces lack into the real, a lack that
allows subjects to think about absence and death and that is conju-
gated as lack in being, lack in enjoying, and lack in knowing), all the
affects that 
gure so prominently in the experience that sustains the
er of lack:the phallus. That which is
suffered is not neglected… indeed, the article concludes with re
tions on the outcome of patients complaints. Nevertheless, Lacan
was primarily concerned there with presenting the structural cause of
affect. Iwont demonstrate this any further here, but the same could
be said of many other of Lacans texts aswell.
The 1962…3 seminar on anguish

introduced a 
Introduction 5
affect, which is so essential to those who speak, was not clari
ed by
er there. On the contrary, Lacan declared that anguish is
what permits us to close in on the object. This is what makes anguish
an exceptional affectŽ (see the beginning of
)… the only
affect that does not lieŽ… for it refers, not to the signi

that leads
us astray owing to its substitutions, but to its effect of subtracting
6 Introduction
It must be emphasized that without the Other (as language or dis-
course), we would not know what we are feeling. Perhaps we must
go further still:discourse, in naming affects, manufactures them
and isolates them in the obscure mist of lived experience. It does so
The signi
erŽ is generally shorthand in Lacanian psychoanalysis for the signi-
fying systemŽ as a whole; in certain cases it might make sense to think of signi-
ersŽ instead of the signi
In the beginning wasFreud

Minimizing the role ofaffect
In the beginning wasFreud 9
repressed (it has thus not disappeared) but, he tells us, is rather dis-
placed… in other words, it has become disconnected from its original
cause. There is thus no reason to oppose the intellect to the affective
(or mind to emotion, thinking to feeling), for if affect is linked to
ers, and everything indicates that it is, it cannot
be conceived of outside of the symbolic… that is, outside of what is
operative in psychoanalytic technique.
Moreover, the representations residing in the unconscious obvi-
ously are not random. If they are repressed, it is because they are
linked to early sexual experiences… in other words, to drives… that
are unacceptable to the subject. It is from those drives that the quan-
10 In the beginning wasFreud

By restoreŽ here, Lacan means that the contention had
been forgotten or erased by post-Freudians in the IPA who neverthe-
less claimed to be Freudian. It was, in other words, part of Lacans
This amounts to saying that there is but one possible answer to the
question What can Iknow about the unconscious?Ž:nothing that
does not involve deciphering, as Freud put it; nothing that does not
involve linguistic structure, as Lacan puts it. They are one and the
same answer, assuming linguistics is taken into account, for only a
language can be deciphered. In analysis, the analysand investigates
the unconscious and expects to receive an answer from it that is not
ineffable (Lacan, 2006a , p.549), an answer that says why, and the
affect he experiences cannot give an adequate answer. His affect is
certainly non-negligible, insofar as he who suffers it cannot neglect
it, but it wanders about too much, so to speak, for its drift to have any
This minimizing of the role of affect in deciphering the uncon-
scious leads to dif
In the beginning wasFreud 11
for those who are affected by them, have a certain immediacy that
turns out to be but a pseudo-immediacy.
Stated otherwise, for Lacan, affect does not represent the subject.
It is, moreover, because the subject is represented not by affect but
er… which is an identi
able and transmissible elem-
ent… that one can say that affect has moved elsewhere, has been
ers (Lacan, 1974 , p.38; 1990 , p.20).
In order to conclude that a displacement has occurred, there must
xed point from which the displacement began and the 
rst signi
er of the experience that generated
the effect. To use structural terminology, it is on the basis of the
uncertainty as regards knowledge. Affect is experienced and even
puts subjects through the wringer, but it proves nothing, being no
friend of proof. The affected subject may be deceived (
) by it,
and we understand why, but it is preferable that the deceived party in
12 In the beginning wasFreud
In the beginning wasFreud 13
I will not go into the construction by which Freud attempts to
account for these worrisome facts, as this is not my objective here,
but in essence his construction places the following at the origin
of peoples fundamental affects:on the one hand, drive excitation
with its unyielding exigency, and, on the other hand, the impossi-
bility of satisfying that exigency. Affects are thus clearly conceived
of by him there as effects of what we would call the real… both the
real exigencies and limits of living bodies, and the real impossibil-
14 In the beginning wasFreud
very interesting due to its late date:it is virtually Freuds last mes-
sage regarding neurosis. He proffered there that anguish-provoking
traumas which are at the origin of symptoms are either experiences
In the beginning wasFreud 15
bring out the fact that, in peoples experience, affects drift from their
anchoring point in a traumatic sexual experience that was very real.
Even before his conceptual turning point in the 1920s, Freud had
ed by classical psych-
iatry… such as conversion in hysteria, the shearing of thought in
obsession, and fright in phobia… but also an early affect character-
istic of each of them:primal aversion that generates disgust in hys-
teria, captivation by excess pleasure in obsession, and anguish when
faced with the enigma of sex in phobia. These are tantamount to what

with regard
to what is most real about sexuality. What can Iknow? Nothing that
does not have the structure of languageŽ by de
nition (Lacan, 1974 ,
p.59; 1990 , p.36). Affect is subordinate. Nevertheless, what Iwant
16 In the beginning wasFreud
the misfortunes of childhood that repeat in the transference… and
on which he based the beyond of his pleasure principle… led him to
posit, in Analysis Terminable and Interminable,Ž that analysis runs
up against the bedrock of castration in two ways that are addressed
to the analyst at the end of an analysis:the rebellious overcom-
pensation of the maleŽ and outbreaks of severe depressionŽ in the
In the beginning wasFreud 17
as a rule to the parent of the opposite sex, succumbs to disappointment, to a
vain expectation of satisfaction or to jealousy over the birth of a new baby…
delity of the object of the childs affections.
His own attempt to make a baby himself, carried out with tragic seriousness,
fails shamefully. The lessening amount of affection he receives, the increas-
ing demands of education, hard words and an occasional punishment… these
show him at last the full extent to which he has been scorned. These are a
few typical and constantly recurring instances of the ways in which the l
characteristic of the age of childhood is brought to a conclusionŽ (Freud,
1920/ 1955b , pp.20…21).
See Freud (1920/ 1955b ,p.20).
See Freud ( 1959a ).
See Freud ( 1964a ).
See Lacan ( 2006a , p.177).
See Freud ( 1964b , p.252).
Anguish reconsidered from the

Anguish considered from the perspective of
In each of Lacans seminars, one 
nds several striking, key for-
of various later elaborations. The anguish seminar includes many
such formulations. The 
rst that Iwould highlight is the follow-
ing:anguish is the affect that does not lieŽ or does not deceiveŽ
ne trompe pas
This assertion stands out against the backdrop of
Freuds view that affect lies regarding its cause as soon as it under-
goes displacement. Lacans formulation thus makes anguish into
what, in the Introduction, Icalled an exceptional affect.Ž
An exceptionalaffect
As all clinical work with anguish shows, anguish is experienced and
But unlike other feelings,Ž it always involves major
ones throat or that ones heart is racing. It belongs to the register of
Anguish reconsidered from the otherside 19
even if he cannot help feeling that it concerns him. We thus see here
work of thought; it has no need for dialectic or proof. How can we
fail to recall here that the term certaintyŽ is often used when dis-
cussing psychosis, to the same extent as is the term foreclosureŽ
that characterizes it? Where some portion of the signi
er is fore-
20 Anguish reconsidered from the otherside
Anguish reconsidered from the otherside 21
function is to reveal what the signi
22 Anguish reconsidered from the otherside
drive that relate it to the register of jouissance.
What Lacan adds is his hypothesis,Ž as he puts it, of the operativ-
ity of language, which was unknown toFreud.
is what is missing [

]Ž (Lacan, 2001b ,
p.573). It is the portion of life that is lost because of language… Iwill
Anguish reconsidered from the otherside 23
a noumenon? How then can psychoanalysts assert the centrality of
its function without at least minimally offending the scienti
c spirit
and without taking on a religious or even mystical coloration? And
24 Anguish reconsidered from the otherside
is thus closely related to what Freud designated with the terms
libidoŽ and instinctual energy.Ž One could say that, for Freud, it is
the motor force of psychical as well as social life that is at stakehere.
is everywhere and not simply in psychoanalysis. In 1970
already, in a text entitled Radiophonie,Ž Lacan (2001b) diagnosed
the ascension to the social zenith of the object Icall little
Ž (p.414).
and its differential
functions both in civilization and in psychoanalysis. The same is true
The place of anguish
Lacans seminar on anguish emphasizes the contexts in which anguish
Anguish reconsidered from the otherside 25
26 Anguish reconsidered from the otherside
The subjection of the subject to the Others discourse and
cations that are included in it are not
anguish-provoking in and of themselves. They generate, of course,
Anguish reconsidered from the otherside 27
28 Anguish reconsidered from the otherside
temporal discontinuity, with a before and an after that allow us to iso-
late its coordinates. Whereas the subject consists of a sliding along
the chain that presides over the temporal vector, anguish arises in the
form of a cut:it involves stoppage and immobility, a sort of tem-
poral funnelŽ or abyss,Ž as well as terri
ed mutenessŽ and sinking
into immobility,Ž as Lacan putsit.

This has nothing to do with other types of moments that are gener-
ated by discourse. Moments of triumph, for example, are ego-based
moments that curiously involve expansive gestures, like those we
Anguish reconsidered from the otherside 29
desire, the Other here taking himself to be a subject. This is true
when the Other is a partner this is the paradigm of the praying man-
tis that Imentioned. But it is no less true when it is the subject him-
self who desires as an Other, as if he were an Other. The paradigm
in this case is of he who has writers block when in the process of
he is in his own fantasy.
with desire must be accompanied by clinical work with jouissance,
for the object as cause which is a negativity (or loss) of jouissance
is also what conditions all the
. Why not extend the
theories in the anguish seminar and lay them out according to the
different jouissances, all of which are conditioned by object
Lacan includes three of them in the Borromean knot:
enjoyment of meaning),

which is the most intellectual and brings
into play the imaginary related to the body (
limaginaire du corps
and the representations that are attached to it; phallic jouissance,
which is outside of the body, and which is shaped by the signi
and fragmented just like the signi
er, running from the jouissance
of the organ to every form of power; and lastly, the Others jouis-
sance, which is outside of the symbolic that is, not colonized by
language but not outside of the imaginary.



30 Anguish reconsidered from the otherside
I would suggest that three occurrences of anguish correspond to
these three different jouissances. Irealize, of course, that when Lacan
attened form
Others jouissance as an anguish related to the real that erupts in the
imaginary related to the body. Nevertheless, there is also an anguish
breaks or ruptures in meaning that are so overwhelming in our era
and that explain many so-called panic attacks. At the level of phallic
Anguish reconsidered from the otherside 31
The expression already indicates that the structure in which anguish
is situated… and has been situated since people 
rst began to speak,
for this affect seems to have been around for centuries… does not
exclude the historical moment by which it is marked. This change in
the very mooring of anguishŽ is legible in historical time and perhaps
Anguish prior to the development of science
One can trace an ever-more insistent and explicit rise of the topic of
anguish in civilization in the course of the centuries that followed the
appearance of science. It culminated in the so-called existential phil-
32 Anguish reconsidered from the otherside
What is striking to someone like me, who is not especially
well-versed in Christian theology, is that St. Thomas Aquinas…
whom Lacan cites quite often regarding the theory of the passions…
mentions fear, not anguish, in the section on the emotions in his
Summa Theologica
. This is not very surprising and it is quite indi-
cative. Inasmuch as Christian theology situates affects in the couple
consisting of man as a sinner and the divine will that makes God
into a consistent Other, the articles of faith saying precisely what
He wants, we can understand why there would be more fear than
anguish. Consciousness of sin makes men feel guilty and leads them
to expect possible anger and divine punishment. But he who is peni-
tent… for example, the penitent of the Middle Ages… knows what
to expect. See the Book of Revelation about which Iwrote an art-
icle entitled Apocalypse or Worse.Ž

Revelation… which provides
a list of ills promised to the sinner owing to Gods righteous anger…
enigma. When the Other is so consistent as to announce by the voice
Anguish reconsidered from the otherside 33
corrupt Church? What did he say when he, more radically still, added
to his doctrine of evil man… man inhabited by the radical evil that
Christ himself did not efface… the idea that salvation is nevertheless
possible, but that it is a salvation that is neither won nor negotiated
(not with money, obviously, or even with good works), a salvation
34 Anguish reconsidered from the otherside
What sort of split believer must one be to propose the calculations
and which left Gods creatures in the imminence of being abandoned
to the existential anguish of their unsoundable dereliction. Agradual
transformation was thereby made from unshakable faith to a worri-
Anguish reconsidered from the otherside 35
This was a pivotal moment, for no one would say of Pascals era
what Lacan said of Kants and of ours:The in
nite spaces have
36 Anguish reconsidered from the otherside
absolute nature of his freedom. No more is needed to broach the
facticity of existence.
The topic of anguish becomes central in Heideggers work,
anguish being the affect corresponding to the facticity of exist-
ence. Regarding anguishs ontological import, Heidegger gave
us many striking formulations… for example, that
in the face of
Ž one has anguish and being thrown,Ž thrown into the world
(Heidegger, 1962 , pp.233, emphasis in the original). He also gave
us Anguish individualizes Dasein and thus discloses it as 
 Ž (p.233): it throws Dasein into foreignness by ripping him
Anguish reconsidered from the otherside 37
or who knows that this Other does not exist. What remains is obvi-
ously the Other as language, which allows for the possibility of the
transferential subject-supposed-to-know.
The historicity of anguish as an affect, with its historical 
tuations, already indicates to us that, although it is at the origin of
subjectivity as the scar of sexual trauma, anguish is nevertheless
accessible to possible treatment through discourses. This is what
allows for the possibility of its treatment by analytic discourse
and also raises the question of knowing what current discourse…
which is so affected by the globalization of capitalism… is doing
38 Anguish reconsidered from the otherside
of depression in our era, but the true mood illness of capitalism is
anguish. Its rise in civilization followed from Kierkegaard, and
even Pascal that of scienti
c capitalism, as Ijust indicated. This is
logical, moreover, for anguish is the affect tied to subjective des-
titution; it is an affect that arises when the subject perceives him-
c capitalism, with its technological effects,
brings about destitution far more radically than psychoanalysis
does:it uses and abuses subjects as instruments. If people pay more
is, Ithink, simply because those who are depressed withdraw more
Anguish reconsidered from the otherside 39
The breaking ofbonds
Lacan endeavored to provide a matheme for capitalist discourse,
40 Anguish reconsidered from the otherside
solidarity and faithfulness to the cause, with all that implied by way
Anguish reconsidered from the otherside 41
1975b ). This new de
nition of anguish goes far beyond those given
in the anguish seminar, all of which revolved around the object.
This new de
nition does not cancel the other ones out, but instead
Lacans expression any arising of the realŽ invites us to establish
fests itself. With this formulation, we have gone well beyond Freuds
nitions, which made anguish essentially into the affect related to
the fear of castration, however Freud formulated the latter:loss of
the organ with which boys hope to achieve union with their mothers,
or loss of the love object for women. For speaking beings, lack is
42 Anguish reconsidered from the otherside
or corresponds to each arising of the real, is patently a feeling
of being reduced to ones body that is, subjective destitution
in ones sex life, with which psychoanalysis especially concerns
itself, but also in manifestations of civilization. Ihave always
recalled, like many others no doubt, the famous image of distress
but also of the little Colombian girl, who was alone and lost on
a promontory that a mudslide was in the process of inexorably
his Borromean knot when, in a text entitled La Troisime [The
he attempted to translate into Borromean terms Freuds
triad, inhibitions, symptoms, and anguish, which Lacan had made a
great deal of in the anguish seminar.
they do not lie outside of the body. Their real nevertheless shows that
it is antinomical to all verisimilitude (Lacan, 2001b , p.573) when
it threatens the body of a speaking being. The expression clearly indi-
cates that it owes nothing to the subjects truth, the truth that we seek
out in biography, in ones life narrative, or in an analysis. This truth is
ed in everything an analysand says as he explores his relation to
the Other and discovers the foundation of the unique meaning of the
fantasy by which he relates to the Other and to those who incarnate



Anguish reconsidered from the otherside 43
ed that regulates his
relations to the world. This fantasmatic constant is rarely pleasant
indeed, it is more often painful but it is not without satisfying him,
, enjoyment of meaning.
The real outside of the symbolic does not manifest itself as
(enjoyed meaning), but as the affect of anguish or as a symptom. The
symptom, as a bodily event, is an arising of the real in the spe-
c form of a jouissance that excludes meaning. It is not a matter
of the jouissance that one can imagine to be characteristic of a living
organism, but rather a jouissance that is already denatured in other
words, marked and 
xated by the very moteriality (a condensa-
(word) and materiality) of
, which is outside of
meaning and obviously affects us. All the jouissances of
are denatured by the operation of language, but not all of them lie
outside of the symbolic. The jouissance of meaning and phallic
jouissance (the latter being linked to the power of words), which are
approachable analytically speaking by the pathway of deciphering,
do not lie outside of the symbolic. On the contrary, the jouissance
manifests itself as a jouissance that is opaque because it excludes
the meaning (Lacan, 1987 , p.36) that results from the effects of
on the body as a substance. In the symptom, two things
44 Anguish reconsidered from the otherside
The conception of the symptom never stops evolving in Lacans
teaching, and at the end, Lacan posits that there is no such thing
tom… far from simply being a disorder or perturbation… is also a
solution. Without being paradoxical, we could say that each of us
has adapted owing to our symptom. Adapted to what? Not to the
norms of discourse, because with respect to them our symptom
Anguish reconsidered from the otherside 45
Freud to be homologous to castration anguish in men. Nevertheless
rst hypothesis persisted.
For Lacan, the anguish seminar presents an interesting enigma
on this point. Imentioned that he makes much of Kierkegaard; now
and without resorting to the father, it is the cause of desire (and
thus equivalent to the invisible quantum of pressure that constitutes
desire) and is only anguish-provoking in speci
c contexts. This is
The anguish seminar also devotes considerable attention to
anguish in sexual encounters. Lacan always said that the desire
and castration that condition the sexual act concern men, not
women. In this seminar, he persists forcefully, asserting that at the
level of jouissance women are lacking in nothing, and furthermore
that when it comes to jouissance women are superior to men for
they are freer in their relationship to desire. Here we are talking
about the jouissance that is at stake in the sexual act, not about
the subject. Lacan alludes here to T.S. Eliots
and to
the proverb that enumerates the three things that leave no trace,
one of which is man in woman. Do women thus have less anguish
How does Lacan end up agreeing with Kierkegaard? He does
so by bringing out not just what the object is, but the function it
plays in sexual relationships, which he does not lay out until the
end of the seminar. The seminar 
rst indicates that this ungraspable
46 Anguish reconsidered from the otherside
object… this 
rst subtraction, which takes precedence over the sub-
ject himself… can be speci
ed or identi
ed by the morsels of the
Anguish reconsidered from the otherside 47
is homologous to that of the giving up (
) of drive objects, and
which in fact interrupts desires movement toward the Others enig-
matic jouissance. Here Lacan provides a sort of naturalist reinter-
crazy and enigmatic,Ž as Lacan says in
… that she experi-
and about which the Other
knows nothing, is also a guise of the real. The fact that she does not
succumb to castration makes Lacan say in the anguish seminar that
women are superior to men as regards jouissance. Yes, but that may
48 Anguish reconsidered from the otherside
goes beyondŽ her (Lacan, 1973b , p.23), that identi
es her ultim-
Anguish reconsidered from the otherside 49
See Lacan ( 2006a , p.390).

might be understood as the enjoyment of meaning (meanjoyment,Ž
as meaning as enjoyed.
See Lacan ( 1975b ).
See Lacan (1968…9, p.219).
In the text, Ihave followed the French translation of Heidegger. Here is what
the English provides:It is no accident that the phenomena of anguish and fear,
which have never been distinguished in a thoroughgoing manner, have come
within the purview of Christian theology ontically and even (though within very
narrow limits) ontologically. This has happened whenever the anthropological
problem of mans Being towards God has won priority and when questions have
been formulated under the guidance of phenomena like faith, sin, love, and
repentanceŽ (Heidegger, 1962 , p.492, footnoteiv.)
See Soler, 1996 .
50 Anguish reconsidered from the otherside
See Lacan ( 2004 , p.231).
See, for example, Lacan ( 1998a , p.53).
See Lacan ( 2004 , p.233).
See Lacan ( 1998a , p.131).
Lacans theory of affects

The affected livingbeing
There are no known affects that are lacking in a bodily compo-
nent. Thus in order to conceptualize affect, one must include the
bodyŽ (Lacan, 1974 , p.39; 1990 , p.22). The bodys involvement
in affect is, indeed, quite obvious. Lacan mentions surges of adren-
but there are many other examples:a lump in ones throat,
the trembling of ones hands, the trembling of ones voice when
one is intimidated, the shaking of ones legs, the racing of ones
heart, tears, and so on. These are among the many bodily manifes-
tations employed by literature, theater, dance, and especially mime
to display a characters emotions and feelings.
Affect passes through the body, of course, and disturbs its func-
tioning, but does it come to the body or from the body? Which
is the affecting party and which is the affected party? We tend to
believe that the affected party is the subject… owing to the fact that
he experiences the whole spectrum of human passions… but isnt
it rather the living body that succumbs to the effect of language,
this effect having repercussions on the whole range of the subjects
satisfactions and dissatisfactions?
The body is a trendy topic in our times. Dictionaries and histor-
ies of bodies are being written to indicate that we now realize that
52 Lacans theory of affects
to domestication by education, that they are the effects of discourse
are proposed or imposed? In this sense, the organic individual that
serves as a prop for the speaking subject represented by the signi
is not, strictly speaking, what we designate as the body. There are, in
fact, three different concepts here:(1)the living organism, which is
the object studied by biology and which psychoanalysts need know
little about; (2)the subject de
ned by his speech; and (3)the body
Lacan often says that the body is the imaginary. Indeed, the nar-
cissistic image, emphasized by the mirror stage, lends itself to the
rst of the identi
cations in which the speaking being can recog-
nize himself. Moreover, experience shows how much each per-
son remains so strangely infatuated with this image that an attack
Lacans theory of affects 53
its jouissance is marked by language. The conversionŽ phenom-
ized:the body is corporized
in a signifying wayŽ (Lacan, 1998a ,
p.26) and the jouissances of speaking beings are jouissances that are
into language… in other words, they are
by the
ciphering that goes on in the unconscious, the affected party being
the bodily individual in his 
esh. What Lacan calls his hypothesisŽ
(p.130) comes in here. It posits that the signi
erty of the living body, but we dont know what it means to be
54 Lacans theory of affects
Lacans theory of affects 55
exiting from what is natural. We can, moreover, merely imagine the
state of nature which we presume to be the de
ning characteristic of
humanized which means being denatured through discourse that
no wolf child ever recaptures.
I am merely going back over the basicshere:
Demand must be added to need [] for the subject [] to
make his entrance into the real, while need becomes drive, inso-
far as its reality is obliterated in becoming the symbol of a love
(Lacan, 2006a , p.654)
The subjects entrance into the real implies his exit from the Other;
people speak about him even before he is born, as is well known; it
is from the Other that he receives the 
rst oracular statements about
himself; and his unconscious, in this sense, will be the Others
discourse. But, right from the very 
rst demand he articulates, he
extracts himself from the space of the Other in which he was merely
spoken; and, even though his demand borrows its signi
ers from the
Other, it has an effect on the real, little living being that he is at the
56 Lacans theory of affects
frequently not in conformity with the Others socializing norms…
forever draw their strength.
This was the 
rst step of the demonstration.

Language as jouissances apparatus
In 1973, Lacan again mentions the effect of language:My hypoth-
esis is that the individual who is affected by the unconscious is the
same individual who constitutes what Icall the subject of a signi
1998a , p.129). And in ƒ
ou pire
I contend that knowledge affects the body of the being that
the bodys jouissance and thereby cutting the body up to such
an extent as to produce the scraps from which Imake (a), which
or as abject [
Lacans theory of affects 57
even to positivize it differently. Hence also a displacement of the
very de
nition of the unconscious from the symbolic to the real, and
real unconsciousŽ) that Ihave emphasized, the unconscious that
58 Lacans theory of affects
this regard, castrated jouissance.Ž Converted into the language of the
Lacans theory of affects 59
to put it simply (in other words, the fact that we are speaking beings),
the body, and the subject. Language is the affecting party that passes
over to the real by latching onto the bodily jouissance that it affects.
The subject produced as an effect is affected by the status of this jouis-
sance. The affected party is thus split into jouissance affected by the
er… jouissance affected by the signi
erŽ would be a possible
nition of symptoms… and a subject correlatively affected along
the satisfaction-dissatisfaction axis. A subject, as such, doesnt have
much to do with jouissance,Ž as Lacan says.

But, because of the
enjoying of the unconscious (
), the subject is
affected by an other satisfactionŽ… a satisfaction that is not that of
its needs, a satisfaction that is tied to what is said and not said… as if,
by a sort of capillary action, wounded jouissance took its revenge by
seeping into the space of theWord.
This is tantamount to saying that jouissance is everywhere. It is not
found solely in the bodily eventsŽ known as symptoms, but also in
the speaking being. The unconscious is not the fact that being thinks
[ƒ]; the unconscious is the fact that being, by speaking, enjoysŽ
speech that is received but speech that is enunciated… that what is
60 Lacans theory of affects
that is based on languageŽ (Lacan, 1998a , p.49), to the jouissance
that has passed over into language, into the unconscious… the terms
are synonymous here… into a moteriality that has become an object
of jouissance in what is enunciated. This is the satisfaction that comes
from blah blah blah, thus, from chatting, which sheds new light on
The symptom itself is a mixed formation:whereas it is a substantial
Lacans theory of affects 61
Lacan took up by dissociating it from any sort of castration complex.Ž
As for the other satisfactionŽ that corresponds to the enjoyed
unconscious that Imentioned, it is connected to
; and the
latter is obviously a function of history… both of the little history

This is why, if we note that a subjects affects are quite particular to
him, we nevertheless note that there are shared symptoms that go a
long way to creating sympathy among people, and also affects that
Iwould qualify as almost standard in which each of us recognizes
himself enough to empathize with others. Moreover, doesnt our
ability to still read works by antiquitys authors… and be touched by
their narratives, our emotions being stirred at school as we hear about
the exploits of Ulysses, Achilles, and Patroclus… argue for a sort of
This is because in addition to the effect of language there are the
collective effects of what Freud called civilization,Ž which Lacan
62 Lacans theory of affects
There are, no doubt, affects related to face-to-face relations with
semblables that appear to be relatively autonomous:all the affects
of the imaginary, for instance, which run the gamut from pity to
execration, which preside over the loyalty of friendships and over
fratricidal wars, and which last for centuries… at least those that
have created our current world. To the paranoiac knowledgeŽ that
Lacan borrowed from Salvador Dalí, who knew whereof he spoke,
Lacans theory of affects 63
real outside the symbolic that can manifest itself. Hence Lacans late
formulation, cited earlier, that anguish is the standard affect related
to any arising of the real.Ž

As we can see, what we need to know is
what it is that affect is a response to; the stakes are obviously prac-
64 Lacans theory of affects
civilization, and he did it here for the same reason as before, it seems
to me. He did so earlier with regard to transference love… which
c to psychoanaly-
sis and which was discovered by psychoanalysis… and he sought the
model for it in Platos
. For, indeed, if transference is an
effect of speech, it cannot date back only as far as psychoanalysis
itself does, even if it was Freud who brought it to light. Similarly,
if certain affects are effects of transhistorical structure, we must be
nd traces and clues of them in the history of their concep-
tualization. Nevertheless, what psychoanalysis alone can say about
affects remains to be said. This is what Lacan called giving serious
follow-upŽ to the effect of the unconscious on the body.

Lacans theory of affects 65
individual variable, a differential threshold for each subject; this
individual threshold is misrecognized by the trendy notion of trau-
matic disordersŽ that are standard and predictable. Affect, accord-
ing to Lacan, is a response to the status of wounded jouissance, as
Isaid earlier, but the term responseŽ must be taken in the strongest
sense:a repercussion, no doubt, but one that includes a personal vari-
able that brings responsibility into play. Affects thereby involve the
66 Lacans theory of affects
For example, in the case of little Hans, the signi
er horseŽ came to crystallize
and condense all kinds of things; it was, in this sense, extracted from the one
among others Ž and raised to the status of aOne.Ž
See Lacan ( 1998a , p.48).
Lack in being, lack in enjoying, and lack in knowingŽ could alternatively be
rendered as want to be, want to enjoy, and want to knowŽ or failure to be, fail-
ure to enjoy, and failure toknow.Ž
See Lacan ( 1974 , p.52; 1990 , p.31).

(little history) is from Spinoza, according to Lacan in a talk (given the
title Cest à la lecture de Freud ƒŽ) included in Robert Georgins book entitled
, in a collection published by LAge dHomme entitled
The Lacanian series of affects

With the expression Lacanian affects,Ž Idesignate both the Lacanian
conception of affect and the highly original series of affects estab-
considering them to be relevant to the
psychoanalysis of his time. Most of the affects Iwill mention here
have already been extensively discussed in literature or philosophy.
provide a compendium and Iexamine here only what Lacan himself
contributed to our understanding of them. His contribution consists
essentially of locating their causes… the unconscious and the effects
of language… without ever contenting himself with a simple phe-
As Ihave already mentioned, Lacan considered certain writers as
his predecessors in this area:Aquinas for orthodox Christian the-
68 The Lacanian series of affects
there is at least one informative affect that can serve as a compass
for analytic work. In other words, anguish is an affect that serves to
index a real, the object as real, which means that it can thus hold its
own in relation to articulated knowledge. Here Lacans predecessor
was Kierkegaard, as we alreadysaw.
After anguish we 
nd the following series:sadness, the excitation
of mania, joyful knowledge (
boredom, and moroseness.
We can immediately pick out a number of strange elements here. First
and foremost, what is lacking in the series… the term depression,Ž
which is so popular today… is mentioned only to be challenged, and
The Lacanian series of affects 69
The idea that sadness is a sin has been discussed for centuries by
religious thinkers for whom… regardless of what it is called, for it
has several names… it is an offense to faith, to Gods love. It is an
offense to Gods charity, as Aquinas, for example, says regarding
70 The Lacanian series of affects
Turning now to Dante, where does he place those who are sad in
the impressive catalog of sins enumerated in his
The true sin of sadness, deserving of hell, is discussed in canto VII
. Dante places those whose sins are similar, but do not
warrant them being sent to hell, in Ante-Purgatory for example,
, the neg-
lectful. On the contrary, those who have succumbed to true sad-
ness or acedia those who, according to Aquinas, have turned away
from the divine good, thus committing a sin against Gods char-
ity are found in hell. In canto VII of the
, Dante places
fth circle, where they are plunged into the black mire
of the Styx River alongside those who are overcome with anger.
The Lacanian series of affects 71
summoned him as the guarantor of mathematical truths; Einstein
asserted that he was complicated but not a deceiver. He is the sup-
nite numbers before Cantor became their
discoverer, the one to whom certain scientists (physicists) today
appeal with the expression intelligent design.Ž Since Freuds time,
this god has been the analysands partner, who is assumed to har-
ers that the latter deciphers in his own speech with
the analystshelp.
Affects related to knowledge
72 The Lacanian series of affects
The Lacanian series of affects 73
74 The Lacanian series of affects
after having mentioned original sin is, strangely enough, good for-
as if the affect corresponding to original sin was
Guilt and good fortuneŽ
Lacans conception of guilt is not always well understood, and it is
immeasurably different from Freuds conception.
Very early on, Lacan rejected Freuds idea that the superego, as
the Fathers heir, commanded the sacri
ce of jouissance. Lacan
with Freud, to be the Fathers law… namely, prohibition. Lacans
view that guilt can arise without prohibition is apparently paradox-
ical, because we all… and psychoanalysts too, especially as regards
obsessive men… imagine that the more people feel guilty, the more
they are inscribed in the Law. But the contrary is the case and this
can be seen clearly among obsessives where guilt is part and parcel
of the canceling out of desire. Were one to doubt this, moreover, we
could point to the proof provided by psychotic melancholia, in which
are-up of the feeling of wrong-
), whereas guilt is tempered where the Father is effective.
These are facts that are clinically attestedto.
There is thus a form of guilt that owes nothing to prohibition and
that is not connected to any sort of transgression. To what sort of
) is it related? People believe themselves to be at
fault in relation to the Other, the Others values and prescriptions,
and we postulate that they are what induces guilt. Discourse is, in
effect, chock-full of norms and varied prohibitions that are conveyed
feel at fault in relation to them. But this is merely the kind of guilt
that is based on alienation,Ž as Iwould describe it. It is of a piece
with the subjection of subjects to the Others speech, speci
cally to
the Others demand.
This conviction inspired utopian visions of libertarian education
until people observed that such forms of education are far from elim-
inating guilt; they are instructive to us owing to their very failure.
In 1968, a funny story went around:a child, who had been exposed
to this experimental form of education, when told that he would
The Lacanian series of affects 75
be going to a new school, anxiously asked, Will we be required
to be free there?Ž The British wrote extensively about such forms
of education; see, for example, Alexander Sutherland Neills ( 1960 )
Summerhill:ARadical Approach to Childrearing
. This
dimension of guilt with respect to the Other obviously exists, but it
is superimposed onto another dimension. Psychoanalysis, moreover,
heals and alleviates guilt based on alienation to the very degree to
tion to theOther.
This leads to the idea, found in
(Freud, 1961b ), that it is not familial and social repression that lead to
sexual repression and a failure to enjoy (
). Lacan puts
:if familial repression didnt exist, we would
have to invent it. We would have to invent it precisely so that its
prohibitions would allow us to mythifyŽ the impossible, the impos-
must be concluded that we consider ourselves to be guilty of the real.
Nevertheless, one must indicate what the term realŽ covers here.
In this context, the real is the effect of language, which gives rise to
s insuf
cient jouissance; there is some jouissance that
is impossible to inscribe in the symbolic… namely, the jouissance
related to the sexual relationship… and there is correlatively some
One jouissance, the latter being a jouissance that is always partial
and castrated, and that is known as phallic jouissance. Hence Lacans
[guilt] and
cut]) to designate the offending jouissance.
76 The Lacanian series of affects
jouissance. What is the sin of
if it is not facticity… that
is, the absence of a reason for an existence (my existence) for
which the Other cannot answer? In fact, it might have happened
that Ididnt come into being, and Imight have been other than
The Lacanian series of affects 77
78 The Lacanian series of affects
can we avoid assuming that what weighs down speaking beings has
The Lacanian series of affects 79
thus… is nothing but what constitutes the solitary fate of the
; what a shame for him (
Where then does his idea of bliss come from, since it cannot
come from any sort of revelation promising him an earthly para-
dise? Again it is Dante who gives us the answer, not the Dante of the
but of
La Vita Nuova
and his love for Beatrice. He
spills the beans,Ž as Lacan says,

80 The Lacanian series of affects
This is the same us that Lacan designates when he speaks of
way of enjoying, which can no longer be situated except on the basis
, and indeed is no longer spoken of in any other way
The Lacanian series of affects 81
of master and slave (see, in particular, Lacan, 1970a , pp.84…92;
2001b , pp.431…40). The only bond that is created by capitalist dis-
82 The Lacanian series of affects
desire:a desire caused by object
The Lacanian series of affects 83
comes to union, we encounter merely a brief coiteration,Ž as Lacan
They are not mutually exclusive owing to the fact that moroseness
results from two factors, one of which is real… which is the nonrela-
84 The Lacanian series of affects
The Lacanian series of affects 85
position. Lacan arrived at such a reversal starting with
, even
if not all affects were equally involved in this reversal.
Other affects
Passions forbeing
We can thus understand why, in
cerns love. But love must not be confused with desire, even if they
86 The Lacanian series of affects
The Lacanian series of affects 87
light as Lacan develops the concept of the real unconscious… the
) of the unconscious and the real unconscious… which
does not cancel out this negative instance but adds to it the impact
and jouissance. However affected jouissance may be,
it is nevertheless what Imight call a positive, substantial instance,
even to the point, as Isaid, of being everywhere… in the body, but
le dire
). It is thus interesting to
trace what Lacan said about these three affects starting in
88 The Lacanian series of affects
is such a thing as One, but this means that there is nevertheless
feeling, a feeling that Ihave called depending on the unari-
ties, the prop of what Iclearly must recognize hatred.
(Lacan 19767, class given in May1977)
The Lacanian series of affects 89
as if the unconscious alerted the child that any signi
er can insult the
subject and that it is useful to degrade him to the lowly status of a
household object. All examples of vituperation against God go in the
same direction, like the register of insults which is the 
rst and last
word [of a dialogue], touching on reality [
] only to lose all signi-
cationŽ (Lacan, 1973b , p.44). We thus rail against the Other who
since we cannot sway reality (
) itself.
Shame is a more complicated and more subtle affect than anger. It
is also more closely related to the unconscious and more dif
to isolate. There are no affects that are not effects of structure and
its limits, of structures handle or lack thereof on the real. Affects
are thus themselves as diverse as the aspects of structure that cause
them:the passions for being correspond to the want-to-be engen-
current discourse echo our lack of enjoyment, echo the jouissance
we either have or do not have; sadness inscribes a refusal to know
whereas joyful knowledge inscribes knowledges intrinsic limits;
90 The Lacanian series of affects
The Lacanian series of affects 91
There are plenty of other examples of shame than that of the voyeur,
not the least of which is Alcibiadess shame in Platos
which was commented on by Lacan on March 1, 1961, during his
Alcibiades disgraces himself, and makes of his confession some-
thing that is so affectively laden, because the daemon of
), Shame, intervenes here. This is what is violated here.
92 The Lacanian series of affects
to pin down being, hence what we might call Lacans anti-ontology.
As he said, Ontology in other words the consideration of the sub-
ject as a being is shameful [
lontologie est une honte
], if you
will (Lacan, 2011 , p.116). The subject is a want-to-be and in the
signifying order his being is always elsewhere, always displaced.
But where there is shame, his being which is extimate, unavow-
The Lacanian series of affects 93
er that represents us
effectively warrants death, no longer in a lovely era of duels where
instating themselves thus in the being for deathŽ over which lan-
guage presides. Already, right at the beginning, in The Function
and Field of Speech and Language,Ž Lacan had mentioned the vari-
gures of the bringing into play of death as a manifestation of
mans freedom, and among them the sacri
ce of his life that he
agrees to for the reasons that give human life its measureŽ (Lacan,
2006a , p.320). But, it must be admitted that times have changed and
94 The Lacanian series of affects
of two of the discourses the masters discourse and university dis-
course Lacan constructed that year. The masters discourse places
the master signi
er in the position of the agent that organizes the
discourse, whereas the university discourse places knowledge in the
position of the agent. There would be a reason to die of shame for
he who maintains with all his strength a perverted masters dis-
course, which is what university discourse is (Lacan, 2007 , p.212).
To the students whom Lacan calls astudied [


livestock at a show) in the form of course credits


toward their
Masters degree and who will even write theses, thus collaborating
with university discourse, he says:Being ashamed of not dying of
shame from this would perhaps change the tone, such that the real
would be involved init.


But what is there that is shameful in university discourse compared
to the masters discourse, and what real is at stake? It is the fact that
this discourse by substituting knowledge for the master signi
er as
what governs the discourse, knowledge as carried by the professors
voice dissimulates what serves as the principle of power in the
symbolic, which is always an S
, on the basis of which a reality of
discourse, whatever it may be, becomes oriented and legible.
Masters discourse



University discourse



The real that is characteristic of the masters discourse namely,
the structural impossibility that separates S
from S
qua know-
ledge is thus masked and the master signi
er changes places and
We see this in the exercise that crowns a students coursework:the
thesis. One of the primary characteristics of a thesis is that it bears
the proper name of its author. It thereby reveals that the presuppos-
ition of university discourse is that knowledge has an author. In the
knowledge that is turned into a thesis, or into a summa (or slumber
]), it is the authors name that holds the place of the master
The Lacanian series of affects 95
er, and this decline leads to the production of shame that goes
one who invented this impudence:people everywhere decry the
cynicism and effrontery of our times, but in fact they are less a sub-
jective disposition than a consequence of a change in discourse and
the bankruptcy of the master signi
er. What is impudence? Every
statement that is baldly posited is impudent. All those whose
er (the master
was not impudent) nor by an assured knowledge are thus impudent.
This runs the gamut from gurus of all ilks to experts of all kinds. Is
there a limit to impudence? Transference, which presupposes not a
er but knowledge and its supposed subject, is perhaps
such a limit; this raises a question regarding the possible impudence
of the subject for whom this belief has died away namely, the
It should not be thought that Lacans contention here is reaction-
ary. By constructing the structure of the discourses at the time of
the 1968 antiauthoritarian revolt in France, Lacan was not com-
ing to the rescue of the masters, whoever they were. Moreover, the
antiauthoritarian revolt of 1968 and a revolt is not a subversion
by yelling, down with the masters, overlooked the other tyranny,
which is that of knowledge itself. For one can ask a master to jus-
tify himself, whereas knowledge cannot be questioned in the same
way; it spares itself the trouble of justifying itself and imposes itself
) especially when it
comes from the true knowledge of science, so-called hard science.
This tyranny is redoubled, moreover, in our times by the pseudo-
c ideology of everything that legitimates itself by appealing
96 The Lacanian series of affects
with the master incarnate:the latter is not a master, but is instead
er. This is so true that, today, masters
who wield no power our politicians when they no longer know
which way is up, appeal to the authority of legal texts as though they
were pseudo-master-texts and proceed to legislate right andleft.
The fact is that capitalist discourse has no equal when it comes to
degrading the master signi
er:capitalist discourse is endowed with
a power of destruction that no insurrection against the master could
ever even approach. If people didnt realize that in 1970, it seems
that today it is palpable in the continually developing crisis of capit-
those who would like to become masters. Hence the proliferation of
experts in pseudo-legibility whose cacophony merely helps further
Lacans contention regarding university discourse, made in the
context of the 1970s, obviously has an import that goes well beyond
The Lacanian series of affects 97
98 The Lacanian series of affects
in which it is produced. If its precondition is capitalism with its
degrading of the master signi
er, the shame of the 1968 students,
and above all of those who escaped from the concentration camps,
it is certainly not homologous to antiquitys
We must no
doubt follow Kertészs reading, as he is one of those who manifestly
touched the least on the shame of those who managed to escape,
The Lacanian series of affects 99

means both sin (or wrongdoing) and lack or absence (above all in the
faute de quelque chose
See Lacan ( 1998a , p.55).
Lacan introduces the adjective
ƒ ou pire
(Lacan, 2011 , p.126), where
he connects it with his famous claim:
(which might be rendered as
theres such a thing as OneŽ). The adjective might be rendered as one-ian (as
even as characteristic of what is (or those who are) united. (In recent years,
people or things from the United States, as opposed to from North America
100 The Lacanian series of affects
See Lacan ( 2007 ).
On the extimateŽ and extimacy,Ž see, for example, Lacan (1992, pp.122 and
167; 1992 , pp.101 and139).
In French the
is silent, making the sound of the two words,
, indistinguishable.
Lacan seems to be suggesting that one deserves to die if one merely dies of
See Lacan ( 2007 , pp.211…12).
See Russell Griggs commentary on the term in Lacan ( 2007 , p.9); Lacan works
into studentŽ or studied,Ž forming astudiedŽ (pp.117,121).

(course credits) literally means units ofvalue.
See Lacan ( 2007 , pp.212).
, see Signi
cation of the PhallusŽ (Lacan, 2006a , p.692) and the
seminar (Lacan, 2001a , pp.213…14).
Enigmatic affects

To provide a schematic summary of what Ihave said thus far, we can
break down the various affects according to the different structural
102 Enigmatic affects
it (as Isaid in an earlier chapter). He thus considered anguish to be
an exceptional affect, an affect that is able to manifest what the sig-
er does not reveal:
rst and foremost, the a-phenomenological
) that produces a hole in the Other, and, more broadly
speaking, the various forms of the real that lie outside of meaning.
This was a condensed way of saying that anguish is the affect that
is related to the real… both related to what is real in the symbolic
(namely, what it is impossible to write in the Other), and related to
what is outside of the symbolic (namely, the 
eld of the living being).
This was in 1962…3. Ten years later, in the seminar
, Lacan
extends this thesis to another series of affects, which he calls enig-
matic affects; they, too, attest to the fact that the subject is approach-
Enigmatic affects 103
This theory must obviously be justi
ed. For how can we ensure
that the knowledge deposited in
operates on jouissance
when this knowledge is essentially unknown to the subject and is,
moreover, neglected by everyone except Lacanians? Deciphering
ctional, invented knowledge
Lacan broached this topic in
and later texts in particu-
lar, and in a very clinical manner, in his Geneva Lecture on the
Symptom dating from 1975. Ihave discussed this paper elsewhere
and will take up only one point here, the one that concerns affects.
It does not concern all affects, but only those that Lacan calls enig-
matic. The speakingbeing
provides the occasion to realize just how far the effects of
go, in that it presents all sorts of affects that remain
enigmatic. Those affects are what result from the presence of
insofar as it articulates things by way of knowledge that
go much further than what the speaking being sustains by way of
enunciated knowledge.
(Lacan, 1998a , pp.1267)
This is to say that these enigmatic affects, which are effects of the
unknown knowledge residing in
, are revelatory. They
serve as proof that the knowledge deposited in
is unknown
knowledge; in other words, they serve as proof of the irreducible
. Unlike anguish, an enigmatic affect does
er namely, to object
. It attests to knowledge, but it is a knowledge from which the
subject is absent and which no deciphering will ever exhaust, no
matter how far it is taken. We must thus reverse Freuds claim and
say:Where knowledge of
was, Ill never be able to come
into being!
This impotence is what makes for the irreducibility of enigmatic
affects. We can see here how different this is from the theory of affect
as misleading, insofar as it is disconnected from its original inscrip-
tions owing to Freudian repression. The enigma of the fear of going
into stores that was experienced by the little phobic girl that Freud
told us about effectively disappeared at the end of the deciphering
104 Enigmatic affects
There we saw the signifying sequence that constituted
proof and allowed for possible transmission, insofar as it revealed
the anchoring point of the original affect. But the fact remains that an
eliminate a subjects unpredictable affects.
Syntonic or discordant affects
Not all affects are enigmatic and thus not all of them are related to
Enigmatic affects 105
our ideals of communication. Consequently, the others affects… the
partners affects or, more generally speaking, other peoples affects…
often seem strange indeed and even unbearable. But for he who is
affected, they are plainly obvious, as Isaid in an earlier chapter, and
he willingly (mis)takes them for his owntruth.
Nevertheless, the fact that others may occasionally seem enigmatic
to you does not suf
ce to establish that it is
that in the 
analysis affects you. An enigmatic affect does not become a sign
of the effects of
until it becomes a mystery, not to others,
but to yourself… in other words, whenever your own affects seem
incomprehensible to you, whenever you cannot manage to account
for them given the context, whenever your moods go beyond the rea-
sons you can come up with for them, in short, whenever you cannot
manage to recognize yourself in them. There is for each subject a
106 Enigmatic affects
I am providing here a caveat regarding what Isaid at the beginning
Enigmatic affects 107
rst encounters with traumatic jouissance, and the fact that symptoms
108 Enigmatic affects
is knowledge that allows us to eliminate enigmas and thus to reach
a consensus. At least we think this is true when we are talking about
c knowledge:where we know, enigmas are left behind; more-
over, once knowledge is established, its authority is indisputable and
Lacans statement is no less surprising when compared with the
major emphasis of what precedes it in Lacans teaching… namely,
Enigmatic affects 109
110 Enigmatic affects
basic differential elements are not words but rather phonemes devoid
of any kind of meaning. The childs babble… or lallation,Ž as Lacan
puts it… that echoes the mothers chatter attests to a conjunction
Enigmatic affects 111
again have here one of those paradoxical claims that highlights the
scious knowledge. As for knowledge in the usual sense, we agree
and observe that its acquisition perhaps costs, in every sense of the
term, a good deal, but we do not doubt but that once acquired, the
subject bene
ts from it and uses it to his advantage. But as for uncon-
scious knowledge, what does it mean to equate the jouissance of its
acquisition with that of its exercise? In my view, it can mean only
one thing:there is neither loss nor entropy. Asigni
er that has been
transformed into jouissance in the process of its acquisition in other
words, that has become an element of knowledge will be enjoyed
with the same jouissance (that is, without loss) in the exercise of
This, too, will come as a surprise to those who recall the stress
Lacan placed up until that point on the signi
ers entropic effect,
it a unary trait or a signi
er that indexes an experience that had
to be subtracted, as Lacan underscores in
From One Other
to the other
These two contentions must undoubtedly be rendered compat-
ible. To do so, it is enough to bring in the bipolarity of true
knowledge (Lacan, 1970b , p.77). We have, on the one hand, the
unary traits that produce loss namely, the unconscious that works
by presupposing a subject, and that is guilty of castrated jouis-
sance that serves the function of the subject (Lacan, 1975c , p.9)
and that does not stop being repeated. We have, on the other hand,
Swarm of unary traitsS
deposited in

LossNo entropy
Uncertain element
112 Enigmatic affects
the incommensurate knowledge that resides in
. Lacan
Enigmatic affects 113
114 Enigmatic affects
xation (
) of the symptoms jouissance; there are, in addition,
Enigmatic affects 115
Theres no such thing as a sexual relationship because ones
jouissance of the Other taken as a body is always inadequate
perverse, on the one hand, insofar as the Other is reduced to
 and crazy and enigmatic, on the other, Iwouldsay.
(Lacan, 1998a , p.131)
But love is put to the test by the confrontation with this impasse
The mystery of love is not eliminated thereby, but is related to
its unconscious foundation. The signs that are always punctuated
enigmatically (p.131) are either jouissance-laden symptoms or
116 Enigmatic affects
Or which brings about a failure to be, failure to enjoy, and failure toknow.Ž
The author presumably means here that certain affects provide proof of the
existence of the
-based unconscious.
See Lacan ( 1998a , p.127), where
is rendered as harebrained
See Freud ( 1954 ).
Fantasmatic postulateŽ refers here to the phrase or sentence that fantasy con-
sists of, like a child is being beaten.Ž
See Freud ( 1955d ).
See Freud ( 1964c ).
See Lacan ( 1998a , p.49).
See Lacan ( 1998a , p.87).
See Lacan ( 1998a , p.125).
See Lacan ( 2007 ).
See Lacan ( 1985 ; 2000 ).

Mangé des vers
is from a poem by Victor Hugo entitled Le mendiantŽ (The
Analytic affects
Lacanian psychoanalysis broaches the topic of affect in a new
way and thus it cannot avoid examining the affects that are pro-
duced by its own discourse, since each discourse has its dominant
This does not constitute an objection to the varity (
) of each
analysis; Iam borrowing Lacans term here that condenses
(verity or truth) and
118 Analytic affects
Transferential affects
It all begins with transference. For Lacan transference was very
Analytic affects 119
120 Analytic affects
of this beings advent (Lacan, 2006a , p.844), which is nothing other
To put it succinctly, an expectation of knowledge is contained
Analytic affects 121
is the expectation of knowledge, the expectation less of a cure than
of a revelation. Or perhaps we should say instead, the expectation
of a cure through revelation, since what is at stake in an analysis is
to clarify the unconscious to which you are subjectŽ (Lacan, 1974 ,
p.67; 1990 , p.43).
The brickwall
Nevertheless, structurally speaking, transferential expectations are
also destined to be disappointed. No analyst can be unaware of the
fact that the expectations given rise to by applying the fundamental
rule of psychoanalysis… that of free association… eventually end
in frustration. Frustration loudly manifests itself in myriad forms
in the analysands speech:protests, disappointments, and recrimi-
nations regarding what is obtained and granted. Faced with such
transferential demands, people have noticed above all the insati-
ability of love, regarding which Freud recommended maintaining
122 Analytic affects
leads to this effect (frustration) and how this effect can be overcome
The affects that, according to Freud, lead to a brick wall are
encountered by every analyst, above all in the form of a recrimin-
despairing about obtaining as the analysis progresses. What is it?
Different people have put it in different ways, but as Iam not trying
to provide an historical account here, Iwill go directly to the crux of
the matter.
Freud formulated it in the terms with which he situated the cas-
tration complex:having the phallus. Iwill not go into Lacans
reformulations of castration here, but they all imply that castration
Analytic affects 123
Now, transferential disappointment does not stem solely from
the demand for love that derives from the curse on sex presided
over by language; it also stems from the limits of what we can
know about the unconscious. It is thus twofold, being situated
at the level of love and at the level of the quest for knowledge.
Lacan demonstrated this. What can Ihope for? Many things, but
not for a sexual relationship… thats impossible… and not for the
end of my solitary fate, despite my various love affairs. What can
Iknow? Apart of the truth, of course, but the truth is never more
than half-spoken, not whole; and the real is not designed to be
known, even though it manifests itself in symptoms. Because of
this, far from alleviating epistemic disappointment, a psycho-
the necessity of such
, for the latter does not stop being written as the
124 Analytic affects
nothing that does not have the structure of a One (I will not demon-
strate this here) and thus castrations cut is everywhere:at the level
regarding this:there can be no analysis without at least occasional
anguish Freud said so before Lacan did and the more analysis is
Analytic affects 125
oriented toward the real, the more it encounters anguish. Hence the
idea formulated by Lacan late in his work that to see the analyst at
work is anguish-inducing.
In any case, we can see that the affect of frustration, of which so
much was made at one point in psychoanalytic history, constitutes
a rather weak referee. This does not put it strongly enough, and in
1973, in his Italian Note,Ž Lacan borrows the term used regard-
ing the Medusas head:the horror of knowing.Ž

He even says
that, like Christians, psychoanalysts are horri
ed by what was
revealed to them.Ž

Horror is more than the cowardice involved in
sadness, which is an ally of repression; horror is not an affect that
is addressed to someone. It is one of the affects that rati
es the dis-
covery of languages castrating effects, effects that are character-
istic of each of us and of whose linguistic cause we are obviously
126 Analytic affects
Lastly, when he introduces
to an
English-speaking audience in 1977, Lacan emphasizes satisfaction at
We should thus be able to articulate the basis of the affects
nal phase of analysis and of the exit from analysis;
we should be able to say which fall under the heading of affects
related solely to structure, that are valid for everyone, and which
Analytic affects 127
interest in the analysts own analysis and did not tie it to the end of
the analytic process in general. We even 
nd in his work an obvi-
ous inversion of the current problematic:Freud de
nes the analysts
analysis as possibly the shortest, having to produce in the candidate
nothing more than a conviction that the unconscious exists. This con-
viction amounts to nothing more than believing in unconscious for-
mations, which is in fact the very de
nition of transference… that is,
analyst. Lacan proposed, on the contrary, that only an analysis taken
all the way to its point of 

the major precondition for which being the
falling away of the transferential postulate… namely, the postulate
of a subject of knowledge. When this illusion… along with the hopes
that it gave rise to… is no longer tenable, how could such a change
128 Analytic affects
different note:regarding the manic-depressive mood, he says, it is
the state of manic exultation that Balint, who doesnt understand it,
nevertheless describes well []. Then the mourning is over (Lacan,
1973b , p.44).
The mourning for what? What is lost in an analysis? The answer
one gives to this question implies an entire conception of psycho-
analysis. In any case, one does not mourn the loss of ones therapeutic
Analytic affects 129
the urgencyŽ to provide the satisfaction that marks the end of an

The satisfactions that mark the end were not always conceptual-
ized by Lacan in the same way, their de
nitions varying depending
on his structural developments; they are not all situated at the same
level, but they all involve reconciliationŽ; they all bring into play
the dimension of a renewed subjective option; and each of the texts
130 Analytic affects
1977Preface to the English Edition of

Starting in
Direction of the Treatment,Ž Lacan places what Icall structural
negativitiesŽ at the center of the problematic of the subject and for-
mulates solutions by way of ƒ acceptance. Acceptance of what? Of
these very structural negativities as he discerns them in the course of
his teaching:the negativities of the phallus and castration in Direction
of the TreatmentŽ and Subversion of the SubjectŽ; the avenueŽ of
desire in Remarks on Daniel Lagaches PresentationŽ;

the division
that is acquired and even, as Lacan says, in the end, a subject [who
is] assured that he knowsŽ (Lacan, 1973b , p.44):that he knows
the impossible in its various forms and consequently what is incur-
able. We can see the pathway that is traced out here for the analys-
and:without knowing it, the subject initially suffered from the
unconscious as knowledge, and he hoped to eliminate it; by the end,
he has sized it up and knows that it cannot be eliminated; this is the
unexpected revelation that is provided by an analysis… in the course
of which one always 
nds partial therapeutic effects… and that ƒ
es. But in what respect?
To speak of reconciliation or consent is to invoke an element that
is not epistemic in nature, the same element that is at work in the
I dont want to know anything about itŽ involved in repression or
in the rejection of the unconscious:a response by a being to what
Analytic affects 131
revelation of the unconscious or this beings response to it? This ques-
tion was already raised by Freuds verdict in Analysis Terminable
and InterminableŽ (1964b). The last words of his paper attest to it.
Speaking of the refusal of castration or the underlying bedrock,Ž
he says, We can only console ourselves with the certainty that we
have given the person analysed every possible encouragement to
re-examine and alter his attitude to itŽ (p.253). This is tantamount
to saying that the brick wall does not depend solely on the bedrock
in question.
That which satis
How is it that the end satis
es? Is it knowledge that automatically
132 Analytic affects
)… satis
es (
when it allows one to conclude
that there is such a thing as the impossible. This conclusion cer-
tainly doesnt ful
ll our expectations. On the contrary, it radically
for the partner [i.e., the analyst], he vanishes, being nothing more
than the empty knowledge of a being that gives wayŽ (Lacan, 1968b ,
p.26). In this sense, the substantialŽ therapeutic effect… substantial
in the sense that it impacts jouissance, the only substance at stake in
analysis, as indicated earlier… comes at the end of an analysis, and is
even an effect of the analysis coming to anend.
The conversion ofaffect
As concerns the positive therapeutic reaction,Ž we can see that the
analysands quest. There is relief at having 
nished after so long.
Ž mentions an end
than consent; the lectures in the United States have him happy to be
it being understood that it is in spite of the fate produced by
the unconscious; and lastly, the 1977PrefaceŽ refers to a speci
The nature and affective connotations of the positive therapeutic
reactionŽ are obviously varied. In creating the institutional procedure
Analytic affects 133
known as the Pass, Lacan offered them up for veri
cation. They run
the gamut from resignation when faced with the inevitable, all the
way to the conversion of horror into enthusiasm that is mentioned
in the Italian Note.Ž In each case, it props up this unheralded desire
known as the analysts desire. This is tantamount to saying that it
must have some impact on the analysts behavior and thus it would
ed, as Lacan says, to examine the analysts lifestyle.
have, that the staid bourgeois life of someone like Freud excluded
subversive desire or, on the other hand, that going against bourgeois
134 Analytic affects
anyone. Already at that time Lacan said, The fact that someone
is not an analyst does not imply that he was not analyzed (Lacan,
1970a , p.19). Countering any and every attempt to psychologize
the analysts desire, which cannot operate as a speci
c attribute, he
Analytic affects 135
ineffable than enigmatic affect? What could be further from an epi-
stemic conclusion… from the solutionŽ of an equation, as he put
it in The 1967 ProposalŽ… or even from the invention of a cre-
136 Analytic affects
is by dint of this very fact outside of meaning, the real that provokes
anguish and is the locus of the symptoms opaque jouissance.
The RUNC, as de
ned by the fact that it is outside of mean-
ing, is not supposed knowledge but manifested knowledge. Outside
of or prior to analysis, it manifests itself in the guise of an emer-
gence or epiphany, as Iexpressed it earlier, of its moteriality, run-
ning the gamut from slips to symptoms, including dreams, puns,
and so on. In and of themselves, these emergences, which borrow
-as-real and from its equivocations, appear to be real;
they appear to offend common sense, so much so that the enemies
of psychoanalysis refuse to grant them any meaning whatsoever.
love affair with the truth,Ž as Lacan puts it,

that led Freud to the
Analytic affects 137
that there is knowledge in the real, knowledge of
outside of
meaning in the living being asreal.
Having just mentioned
, Ibelieve that it would be useful
ned to the RUNC, strictly
speaking. It is not because one comes across a word or words
from the unconscious, which is what one does whenever one deci-
phers, that one is dealing with the RUNC. Whatever it may be,
, running from
138 Analytic affects
give meaning to anything whatsoever; there is no intrinsic endpoint
to meaning-making. Adream that has been analyzed, whose mean-
Analytic affects 139
One is in the unconscious when an element no longer has any
import at the level of meaning [ƒ]; then one knows it, oneself
soi ],Ž says Lacan.

Ihave already underscored this oneself
soi ],Ž which indicates that no one else knows it… not the ana-
lyst therefore, nor any jury involved in the Pass. The moterial-
ity of knowledge lends itself to transmission, but apprehending
that its opaque jouissance is outside meaning does not lend itself
to transmission. The unconscious de
ned by the falling away of
meaning is the anti-matheme.Ž It cannot be demonstrated; it is
ation or fall (
) of meaning, as we say
drop in blood pressure.Ž If Iwant to attest to the RUNC or ensure
a hold on it, Ipay attention to it and thereby leave it behind; for
attention reopens the space of meaning-making. In other words,
Iam in the RUNC only when Iam not thinking about it. One can
apply to the RUNC a part of what Lacan said about desire in his
Lecture to the EFPŽ:it is the locus where 
nding ones bearings
implies having exited that locus for goodŽ (Lacan, 1970a , p.14).
But this exiting is not just any old exiting, it is the one that occurs
140 Analytic affects
This is why analysis resolves it, paradoxically. As for the real that
manifests itself… above all in symptoms… as an epiphany of jouis-
c affect that corresponds
to it other than anguish?
What is the consequence of this for the Pass, in its two forms, the
one that is produced in analysis and the one involving the procedure
that authenticates it? Lacan did not say that we take the risk of going
through the Pass in order to attest to the real. Why not? Because we
cannot attest to the RUNC; as soon as we begin to articulate, and
Analytic affects 141
in the other language he speaks (German), like
, meaning
shine.Ž The erotic condition that we generally call a perverse traitŽ
(failure to enjoy or want-to-enjoy) wrought by castration.
that is missing is
rst effect of language.
réel troué
) from which anguish gushes, we
nevertheless also 
nd a plug constituted by a
of jouissance,
142 Analytic affects
A satisfaction that does notlie
What can serve us as proof that the analysand has sized up this RUNC
ees the subjects grasp and creates obstacles to transmission?
What can attest to that which cannot be laid out in terms of know-
ledge? Proof is clearly necessary if we are to avoid some sort of mys-
tagogy worse than that of non-knowledge, and which would be a sort
about the emergence of the analysts desire or even about the moment
at which a shift occurs. He provides only two expressions:(1)the end
of an analysis involves putting an end to the mirage of truth; and
(2)in the procedure (of the Pass), it is still a matter of attesting to the
lying truth whereas in 1967 the Pass implied attesting to knowledge
acquired regarding desires lack and knowledgeslack.
How do we know that the truth lies beyond its half-speaking,
which in fact does not bother anyone?
In speech, the half-speaking of truth is not unrelated to a certain
real, in fact, for this half-speaking is tied up with an impossibility
linked to language:words are missing there. For its part, the real
ned via what it is impossible to write is not improbable. It is on
But how do we know that the truth, which is not content to be not
Analytic affects 143
the end of an analysis (Lacan, 2001b , p.572). In analysis, meaning
and the jouissance of meaning devalue the real constituted by jouis-
sance that is outside meaning; but in order for there to be an end to
the analysis this is Lacans thesis in the 1977Preface the real
144 Analytic affects
that Iattest to my experience:Iwill of course say what led me to
analysis, the steps by which Iisolated the truth regarding my rela-
tionship (which is always fantasmatic) to the Other, what aspects of
my symptoms Iwas able to reshape and what aspects remain irre-
ducible, and what Ihave grasped regarding the analysts function
in the course of this adventure. But what could prove that Ihave
put an end to the mirage? Ican obviously say what Ibelieve to
what Ihave thus come up with regarding the effects of
1967 regarding the 
nal depressive position:there is no way to act
as if one is in that position if one is notŽ (Lacan, 1970a , p.21), and
passer who is not far from it himself, even though he is perhaps still
caught up in the muddle of truth and the real… in mourning, we might
say… can ƒ recognize it. Iam employing the term recognizeŽ in
order to point out the homology here with love, which, if Lacan is to
be believed, is the recognition, based on enigmatic signs, of affects
related to the subjects position with respect to the unconscious.
This constitutes a radical change of perspective that is unique in
psychoanalysis and takes proof via affect to the extreme. We can
see how different this is even from what Lacan said in 1973 in the
Italian Note,Ž in which he emphasized that, in the case of someone
who has isolated the cause of his horror at knowing, enthusiasm may
ensue, but it is not enthusiasm itself that proves he has isolated it. The
Pass must be authenticated,Ž as Lacan already said in The 1967
Proposal.Ž Now, it is only where the transmission of knowledge fails
Analytic affects 145
that one invokes authentication. In 1967, what was at stake was the
hole in knowledge where the object comes to lodge; here, what is at
stake are affects related to knowledge in the real, knowledge which
is enjoyed outside of meaning (see the section earlier in this chapter
entitled The Enigma of KnowledgeŽ) but which cannot be transmit-
ted… neither the enjoyed knowledge nor the knowledge outside of
These affects run the gamut from anguish to the satisfaction felt by
all the affects related to the transferential working through to which
146 Analytic affects
to be sure to be able to satisfy this urgency? Now, one is not sure of
this, says Lacan, unless one has weighed it,Ž despite the two stum-
able real. And how
can one have weighed it if not by having experienced it in ones own
rst, and/or in at least a few of the analyses that one has
We must thus conclude that one is not an analyst if one has not
perceived in ones experience this real that serves as a plug with-
out which there can be no stopping the mirage… in other words,
no falling away of the postulate of the subject-supposed-to-know,Ž
Ž(Lacan, 1968c , p.46). This gives us an answer to the question raised
regarding the Pass as a procedure:How can someone devote him-
self to satisfying emergency [
We have here an indirect de
nition of the analyst and of his
desire:he is someone who has put an end to his love affairs with
the truth, and dropped the Freudian model,Ž as Lacan calls it.

can then serve transference and its decoys without deception because
he is sure there is a possible way out. It is no more than possible,
but that is already a lot. Failing this… should he remain captive to
analysands unbeknown to himself… he can promise no more than an
endless analysis that terminates out of simple lassitude and thus falls
short of the analysts desire. This is precisely how things began in
transference and who could thus begin analyses but for whom 
analysis remained a mystery. Hence the debate since Freuds time in
But if the analyst is aware of the function of the RUNC, he will
not be supposed to knowŽ by the analysand in vain, and this can
orient him in certain of his interventions. When, for example, in
sance of some element resists all attempts to give it meaning, he
may recall that not all of the real can be dealt with via meaning.
Then perhaps he will avoid endlessly demanding further efforts
to make meaning, which in the long run lead to an impasse. He
will recognize, and Iwill conclude on this point, the real where
Analytic affects 147
it is, a real that is unlikely but that constitutes a limit to the
kind of making trueŽ that goes on in analysis. This is also why
Lacan mentioned, as Idiscussed many years ago, the idea of a
counter-psychoanalysisŽ in order not to leave the analysand com-
148 Analytic affects
See Lacan ( 1973b , p.37).
See Lacan ( 2001b , p.571).
See Lacan ( 2001b , p.573).
See Lacan ( 2006a , p.66).
See Lacan ( 2001b , p.572).
A passer is someone to whom the person going through the pass recounts the
various things Soler just mentioned regarding his analysis and the changes it
has wrought. These things are not recounted directly to the jury (or Cartel of the
Pass), but rather to two passers who are people who feel that they themselves are
close to the end of their analyses; they, in turn, convey what they have heard to
See Lacan ( 1998a ).
See Lacan ( 2001b , p.572).
See Lacan ( 2001b , p.573).
See Lacan ( 2001b , p.572).
See Lacan ( 1968b , p.28).
See Lacan (1976…7, class given on December 14, 1976 ).
After affects
A question that never fails to arise is what one is left with after
an analysis, above all regarding anguish, and regarding symptoms
related to love and to social bonds, which are so often the reasons
It is obvious that the 
nal satisfaction alleviates sadness, but what
remains of anguish at the end, since anguish is essentially an affect
related to the real? Analytic discourse involves a paradox in this
context:analysis too announces, promises, and produces a form of
subjective destitution, either via the object or via the fundamental
symptom related to the real unconscious (RUNC) in this sense,
150 After affects
Where exactly? In that which destitutes him, the object and the
real, but which owing to this very fact separates him, and with which
at the end he can identify, as we observe. The trajectory thus runs
cation with the
symptom identifying with the symptom being the best thing one
can do at the end of an analysis. It involves a change in position with
with the alleviation of anguish that this real aroused.
This does not imply that there is no longer any anguish; the
remains subject to anguish whenever the real reemerges unex-
pectedly and surprises him and this is not always a product of his
unconscious. Nevertheless, we have here a change in the relation to
As regards love, analysis cannot announce an end to the sexual
impasse. It promises neither a sexual relationship, which is impos-
being at the mercy of
(good fortune); and analysis is not
supposed to cover them over by appealing to norms. Lacan did not fail
to warn analysts about the conclusions they should draw from this.
ction which is called marriage, hesays:
It would be a good rule of thumb for the analyst to remind
himself, regarding this point, that [his patients] will work it out
as they can by themselves. This is the course he follows in his
practice. He doesnt say so, nor does he even say it to himself,
with a sort of false shame, because he believes he must palliate
all dramas. This is a purely superstitious legacy. He plays the
part of a physician. Physicians never promised conjugal happi-
After affects 151
Once it is granted that the analyst cannot be providential to couples,
152 After affects
where, when one loves, we prosaically say that we are having a
relationshipŽ or even an affair (
),Ž no doubt because we real-
ize that there is therub.
blue… and simultaneously reveals that love nevertheless comes with
very precise constraints. These are the constraints of the unconscious
subject, add to the contingencies of encounters. This is to say that
love, as contingent as it may be, is structured like a symptom, which
solid thing one can say at the end of an analysis, but what chance
does the symptoms opaque jouissance leave love strictly speaking?
Lacan envisioned the possibility of an eyes-wide-open love which,
unlike the surrealists crazy love, exalts neither the Lady nor the
Man, which takes the air out of the sails of loves self-satisfying
chatter… to speak of love is in itself a jouissanceŽ

… a love that
allows us to increase the resources thanks to which we can manage
to do without this annoying relationship and make love into some-
thing more worthy than the proliferation of chatter it currently con-
[like manure or straw], as St. Thomas Aquinas
said in putting an end to his life as a monkŽ (Lacan, 2001b , p.311).
The proliferation of chatterŽ is given free reign in analysis, and this
is why exiting from transference can represent its falling away to the
t of a more worthy love… in other words, a love that does not
Can this love, which the elucidation of the unconscious would
reduce to silence, be a love without limits? Iam alluding here to the
After affects 153
end of Seminar XI, which has so often been commented upon incor-
rectly, leading people to believe that analysis results in a love without
limits. Lacans text says just the opposite.
In the last two pages of Seminar XI, Lacan endeavors to situate the
154 After affects
the regency of an Other with a capital O.This, for Lacan, was the aim
I am borrowing the title of this section from Lacan who, when speak-
ing of analysands who could potentially participate in the Pass, says,
you cant talk about all [of them], you can only talk about a bunch
des pars dsassortis
] (Lacan,
2001b , p.573). Is there, thus, just a bunch or a simple aggregate of
After affects 155
It is true that, in his function as an analyst, he must be able to
suspend the particularity of his fantasy, his symptoms, and all the
personal judgments that the latter give rise to. This suspension is
the condition for what Freud called benevolent neutrality,Ž which,
156 After affects
After affects 157
analyst, who is thus indifferent when it comes to doctrine; the not
whole analyst who is now inclined toward love; and so on. How can
we not burst out laughing?
But what is truly at stake in these varied conceptions? Nothing
158 After affects
from ones symptomatic impediments, ones capacity for work and
love restored, as Freud said, the analyzed subject can more effect-
After affects 159
Now although it is contingent, this saying should not be thought
to be free. This is how Iunderstand what Lacan says in 
with respect to the three barriers to jouissance that he discerns:the
impossible, beauty, and truth. This, moreover, was not his last word
on the subject. The Italian NoteŽ stresses the knowledge that must
be constructed in order for analysis to continue to rise in visibility.Ž
This thesis is a bit different, but, like the preceding one, it has to do

be a kind of knowledge that is in large part unknown, knowledge of
I came to realize that this series depicts different types of symptoms.
meaning, is itself existential. Here, the real at issue is the entire
knotŽ (Lacan, 1976 …7, class given on February 15, 1977). We can
see the ambiguity of the expression real unconsciousŽ or RUNC,
that can designate both the effects of this saying as
, which
are Borromean, and the symbolic existing as a symptom in the real,
The latter manifests itself in what Ihave called its epiphanies,Ž
borrowing a term from James Joyce. In the 
attening out of the
) in the 
or poem, since its saying brings
cations at the level of meaning effects… what we call
therapeutic effects in the banal sense of the term… as well as at
The only weapon the analyst has at his disposal in this context
it. Consequences as concerns analytic action cannot fail to ensue.
Bonnefoy , Y. ( 2010 ). Interview appearing in
Le Monde des livres
on November
Bousseyroux , M. ( 2010 ). Le vice du vice [Vices 
aw] .
Lesdits dprims. Revue des
collges de clinique psychanalytique du Champ lacanien
, 9 .
Cheng , F. ( 1977 ).
LEcriture potique chinoise, suivi dune anthologie des pomes
. Paris : Seuil . [In English, see (1982),
References 169
Freud , S. ( 1955e ). Group psychology and the analysis of the ego . In J. Strachey (ed.
170 References
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absolute differenceŽ 
absolute knowledgeŽ 
; ambiguity

; conversion of
as an effect of linguistic structure
related to the end of an analysis
related to Pass procedure
; of
Agamben, Giorgio 
analysts analysis
analytic discourse
analytic practice 
; as an
affect related to separation
; before
the development of science
; change
in mooring of
; characteristics
; de
nitions of
; as an
exceptional affectŽ
; Freuds view of
; from the perspective of the real
Dalí, Salavador 
Dante Alighieri
denunciation in psychoanalysis 
Descartes, René
desire: of the analyst
discordantŽ affects 
; analytic
function of
; named typesof 
dissidentŽ affects 
dying of shameŽ 
education, forms of 
Einstein, Albert 
Eliot, T.S. 
end-stage of analysis
enigmatic affects
enigmatic knowledge 
enthusiasm and enthusiastic affect
Joyce, James
joyful knowledge (
Kant, Immanuel
Kertész, Imre 
Kierkegaard, Søren
Klein, Melanie
knowledge: as distinct from

; enigma of
; enjoyment of
; expectation of
healing effect of
; limits to 
Lacanian affects,Ž use of the term 

language: Noam Chomskys view
; effect on jouissance
enjoyment of
; as jouissances

; negative agency
; operativity of
subjectifying effectof 
learned ignoranceŽ 
Levi, Primo 
life narrativesŽ 
lived experience
demand for
; for supposed

; of truth 
Luther, Martin 
LycurgusŽ discourse 
Marx, Karl
master signi
Maupassant, Guyde 
quantum of affectŽ 
Rat Man
real, the, de
nitions of
real unconscious (RUNC)
reality (
; of the
Reich, Wilhelm 

Christian theology

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