"Lacan used to say, ‘To love is to give what you haven’t got.’ Which means: to love is to recognize your lack and give it to the other, place it in the other. It’s not giving what you possess, goods and presents, it’s giving something else that you don’t possess, which goes beyond you. To do that you have to assume your lack, your ‘castration’ as Freud used to say. And that is essentially feminine. One only really loves from a feminine position. Loving feminises. That’s why love is always a bit comical in a man. But if he lets himself get intimidated by ridicule, then in actual fact he’s not very sure of his virility."
#to love is to give what you haven’t got
Love, the love of the person who desires to be loved, is essentially an attempt to capture the other in oneself, in oneself as object…
The desire to be loved is the desire that the loving object should be taken as such, caught up, enslaved to the absolute particularity of oneself as object. The person who aspires to be loved is not at all satisfied, as is well known with being loved for his attributes. He demands to be loved as far as the complete subversion of the subject into a particularity can go, and into whatever may be most opaque, most unthinkable in this particularity. One wants to be loved for everything –not only for one’s ego, as Descartes says, but for the colour of one’s hair, for one’s idiosyncrasies, for one’s weaknesses, for everything.
Angst and its feminine translation.
Women, women in love, are anxious. They are anxious about their man’s desire. Following Lacan’s comment after his quotation of one of his women analysands, this would be the definition of feminine love.
What did this woman say ? She told her analyst that she didn’t mind her husband desiring her « as long as he desired no other » ! « Qu’elle y tienne, c’est ça l’amour » (1)was Lacan’s comment on these words . She cared for her husband’s desire and prized it. This caring for and prizing the desire of the Other, which may be expressed in English by ‘being anxious’, is love.
Now, what does such a definition of a woman’s love have to do with anxiety, or with anguish ? In French, apparently nothing. Because ‘y tenir’ only means caring for and prizing something.
But the English ‘being anxious’ allows the question to be raised. Not only does this expression acknowledge a close relation to anxiety. It reveals moreover, beyond its worry and unease, a being ‘earnestly desirous’ … desirous of the Other’s desire ! (And then, why not remember here the Freudian point of view ? Freud explicitly linked anxiety and love in women by stating that castration anxiety can certainly find no place in them, but that its place is taken by that of loss of love.)
So we may consider that this English translation of the definition of feminine love points out the Lacanian connection between Angst and desire : what a subject is concerned with in anxiety is desire, the desire of the Other. Lacan would have better said it in English !
Women are not subject to castration but they are subject to anxiety and anguish. In a different way than men. In his seminar on anxiety, Lacan underlines women’s ease concerning the desire of the Other, which often gives them more freedom in the handling of the transference. This ease has to do with their not lacking anything and thus not depending on the object for their own jouissance. That is why, When lovely woman stoops to folly/and paces about her room again alone/She smoothes her hair with automatic hand/ and puts the record on the gramophone (2).
Nevertheless anguish does get a hold of them. Whenever they discover themselves as being nothing more than a. That is to say, either when they experience themselves as really being at the centre of the Other’s desire. Or when, being in love, the desire they so earnestly desire really turns away from them.
1. Lacan, Seminar on anxiety, 20 March 1963.
2. T.S.Eliot quoted by Lacan, 29 May 1963.
By Sol Aparicio.
"And do you know what the ultimate goal is? Gaining what they pompously call a strong ego, ego strength in the midst of all that and all the scientific instances that go with it.
And they succeed. They make good employees. Thats what the strong ego is. You obviously have to have a resistant ego to be a good employee. They do it at every level, at the level of patients, and then at the level of psychoanalysts.
Even so you have to ask yourself if the ideal end of the psychoanalytic cure really is to get some gentleman to earn a little bit more money than before and, when it comes to his sex life, to supplement the moderate help he asks from his conjugal partner with the help he gets from his secretary. When a guy had had a few problems in that domain, or was just leading a hellish life, or had some of those little inhibitions you can have at various levels, in the office, at work and even - why not? - in bed, that was usually considered to be a good outcome.
When all that has been removed, when the ego is strong and at peace, when the obsession with tits and bums has signed its little peace treaty with the superego, as they say, and when the itch isn’t too bad, well, everything is fine."
"If one wishes to deceive a man, what one presents to him is the painting of a veil, that is to say, something that incites him to ask what is behind it."
Lacan, J. Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis.
"I don’t want to begin developing a theory of knowledge here, but it is obvious that the things of the human world are things in a universe structured by words, that language, symbolic processes, dominate and govern all. When we seek to explore the frontier between the animal and the human world, it is apparent to what extent the symbolic process as such doesn’t function in the animal world – a phenomenon that can only be a matter of astonishment for us. A difference in the intelligence, the flexibility, and the complexity of the apparatuses involved cannot be the only means of explaining that absence. That man is caught up in symbolic processes of a kind to which no animal has access cannot be resolved in psychological terms, since it implies that we first have a complete and precise knowledge of what this symbolic process means."
J. Lacan, Seminar VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis.
#animal vs human
"But if the the truth of the subject, even when he is in the position of master, does not reside in himself, but, as analysis shows, in an object that is, of its nature, concealed, to bring this object out into the light of day is really and truly the essence of comedy."
"For a brief moment, it was possible to perceive something that was the intrusion of the Real. The analyst stays there. He is there as a symptom. He can last only as a symptom. But you will see that humanity will be cured of psychoanalysis. By drowning it in sense, in the religious sense, of course, one will succeed in repressing this symptom…Religion is made to do this, to cure people, that is to say, to make sure that they do not note what doesn’t go smoothly."
"I think where I am not, therefore I am where I do not think."
"[…] this real is the essential object which isn’t an object any longer, but this something faced with which all words cease and all categories fail, the object of anxiety par excellence."
When we say symptom, repetition is always found on the horizon.[…] Lacan talked about surprise as a structural trait of the unconscious. The symptom as “et cetera” is the opposite of surprise. When we say, “That’s him all right” or “That’s just like her,” that’s the “et cetera” of someone. A person’s symptom is his or her true identity. Lacan said that the symptom of certain persons could be the most real thing they possess. This illuminates for us how the symptom is associated with the real. […] Lacan placed the symptom very precisely at the level of the necessary: the symptom doesn’t stop writing itself. (J-A Miller)