Lacan: the End
|by Jorge Alemán translated by Jane Lamb with Barbara Sauerman|
Heidegger deserted Being and Time for a lack of a language and for a lack of a relation between the thinker and the language which would allow for the task. Insofar as language is charged semantically it is metaphysically inert to the point that it is no longer capable of piercing philosophy. In need of a transformation which not only requires changing its conceptual ways, philosophy will not merely transform its architecture but rather listen from a new place, to that which has always been spoken but never attended.
Philosophy should return to the key terms of its tradition, to its words and articulations in order to be traversed. Thereof thinking cures itself of philosophy—of metaphysics, of its onto-theological fantasme. To recall, not anymore an act of knowledge but rather of saving thinking, within the challenge of metaphysics what is found is what saves: the opportunity to listen to "an appeal from Being" which the metaphysical fantasme can no longer sustain in the same old words. Again, the condition of the task is not only the piercing of history but rather the signal of this crossing.
The consequence of the imperative is to carry out a different experience with language. With Heidegger, the philosopher reviews the tradition which has made him—in attempting to go beyond the limits of tradition he must diverge from the path which is not a step forward but rather a twist. The nucleus of this twist reveals afresh the relation with language, fundamentally compromising everything to be written thenceforth.
Lacan's theory of the end in analysis may be analyzed in its logic. Whereas Freud maintains the "interminable" nature of analysis, and even formulates the necessity to begin it anew, Lacan conceives the psychoanalytic experience as an itinerary which reaches an end. Neither arbitrary nor exterior to the experience, the end arises as the result of circumstances which should locate and transmit it. If the Hegelian resonance is obvious, it is because Lacan proves the ending of the analytic experience essential—the dialectical movement of analysis following the same sequence described in The Phenomenology of the Spirit.
The Phenomenology posits an itinerary where the various figures are exposed to "seriousness, pain, patience and the work of the negative" in such a way that these figures of speech are eternally torn, split: the becoming of the Spirit is reached by a force pushing beyond its possibilities, the Spirit is overcome by the knowledge increasingly taking over, and consciousness is forever split by anguish. In Hegel's words "the unconscious search for fullness."
Through Aufhebung consciousness is always driven towards a new figure, since it is constantly summoned by something which is beyond it and this something is only to be mastered in the end, in Absolute Knowledge—the place where history gathers around the end.
This brief and summarized mention of The Phenomenology is meant to recall that Lacan, unlike Hegel, conceived an end not resolved in a totality guaranteeing an encounter of Truth with Knowledge. Thus the consequence of the subversion of the Cartesian subject—implicit in the discovery of the Freudian unconscious—is that there is no experience, Aufhebung notwithstanding, culminating in the absorption of truth by knowledge.
It is the unconscious as a structure to posit that truth in its singular dimension is not reducible to knowledge. Thereupon Lacan comes to think the end within a logic which detaches itself from the reference to a totality realizing itself—to think the end from the side of the "not-all" is the impossibility of going beyond truth through knowledge. Lacan will say more than once that there cannot be a theory of truth without a doctrine of love, therefrom the consequences that by the same token sexual difference imposes on the speaking being. Thinking the end from the side of the "not-all" might imply the basic task of psychoanalysis; to think woman and what it implies in the emergence of subjectivity, to think the end from the side of the "not-all," to take up again the homology posed by psychoanalysis between truth and woman. Both terms, relative to the real, promote a logic which is already conceptualizing the end in a different way than Hegel.
Heidegger, like Lacan, attempts to construct a conception of the end distinct from the one in the Hegelian structure. The end indicated in The End of Metaphysics cannot be understood as an Hegelian overcoming, nor the twisting which may occur in that end as a step toward absolute knowledge. To undergo the experience of the end for Heidegger is not a labor of consciousness, nor immersion in an aimless totality (in which no tasks remain), but rather it is in the end where the call to take a distinct step rules more strongly toward an "availability" delivering the signs of a different way of thinking.
Late in life Jünger and Heidegger exchanged letters (On Crossing the Line, Jünger; The Question of Being, Heidegger) addressing the issue of the end in concern with the "crossing of the Line." In Jünger we find a "judgment of the situation" where "we are at the zero meridian…", on the line where "everything flows together toward nothing…", on the border between "two ages of the world." Thus the border of nihilism positing that everything is reduced to nothing, that there is no value, figure, or form of the world which has not been reached by the "nullifying" power of nihilism. The "desert creeps" and reaches its consummation through the unleashing of the technical in the world—for Jünger this unleashing of the technical does not proceed but precedes modern science. Nihilism is thus the desertion of being which no transcendental sense will ever fill, "interested in concealing its own essence."
Nihilism for Jünger designates the moment when subjectivity reveals itself rather than in harmony with its symbolic ideals, with its way of jouissance. This ambiguity inside nihilism can be clarified by Freud who believed that moral value proceeds not only from the ideals, but plunges its roots in the mode of libidinal satisfaction; moral values are also ruled by the mode of jouissance, by the plus-de-jouir always present in the satisfaction of the drive. Modern times have certainly conferred a new rank on the mode of libidinal satisfaction by involving, in a hitherto unknown manner, the jouissance of the drive with the technical object. What Lacan considered a capitalist discourse in his moment may well be understood as the matheme of nihilism: for capitalism there is no longer any barrier to connecting the subject and jouissance, while there is a barrier in repudiating the truth—"that" which is accounted for.
With Jünger the moment of the consummation of nihilism is a "crossing of the Line"—"…the instant at which the Line is crossed brings a new contribution of Being, and with it the illuminating which constitutes the advent of the real in the subject. At the end of psychoanalysis, drive "flashes" for the subject, "that" which the play of light and dark of his fantasme was veiling like a screen—this illuminating reuniting the truth of his desire with his method of libidinal satisfaction.
Jünger does not specify clearly enough what this new contribution of Being consists of other than that he will yearn to restore an emerging power. The "gift of Being," the force of a new scope of appropriation, must be reestablished to the impotence of nihilism. For Lacan instead, the only possible treatment for impotence is impossibility: there is no place for a restoration plan, which after all can be read once more as a yearning—a way to avoid the dead end of castration—that can be detected in Heidegger's work.
Again Jünger's illuminating is in a fantasme of appropriation of the "originary," of the most elemental which is not yet degraded: forever waiting to be reestablished, the originary is never depleted by castration. And this is how Jünger regards war as the suitable path for recuperating the sacred, whereas Heidegger's response establishes a distance regarding this point, "war has stopped neither the movement of nihilism nor has it changed its direction."
Heidegger's answer is to bring from the outstart an invitation to think the place of the Line—the condition to cure nihilism. Heidegger does not hesitate to call on the medical style of Jünger's letter when he mentions terms as prognosis, diagnosis, and therapy, which pay an explicit homage to Nietzsche and to the final function of the philosopher as a "doctor of culture." The exchange between Heidegger and Jünger is one of the privileged moments in modernity where philosophy attempts to cure itself of itself; "…the essence of nihilism is neither curable nor incurable, it is the non-curable, and nevertheless it is a unique remission to the cure."
Let's trace some of Heidegger's responses to Jünger in concern with the end:
a) The Line cannot be represented; it is necessary to go from topography to a forthcoming topology which nevertheless precedes any representation of the Line. This is about thinking the place and discussing its essence: "I only gaze at the Line you represented. " The Line is not visible. It cannot be grasped as an object of the representation in front of which a subject of consciousness is up to cross. There is no Line, "man is not only in the critical zone of the Line. He himself is, but not for himself and under no circumstances per se, that zone and therefore the Line." To think the Line implies figuring out the essence of nihilism which is not nihilistic but rather metaphysical. Here again we observe in Heidegger a procedure which characterizes his mode of thinking; to consign the problem of the Line, which Jünger saw so clearly in front of him, to the "unthought" of a tradition and its experience, and the actual tradition is forever subtracted in its appearance.
b) To think the Line implies thinking what has been "forgotten" in metaphysics. And not a casual omission, the case is the forgetting that has constituted metaphysics itself, on which a "twist," different from the Hegelian overcoming, should be performed. As Heidegger admits "we are still rather far from determining the essence of forgetting." Clearer than Heidegger, Lacan approaches this question rather directly. Thus he conceives two kinds of forgetting within the structure of the unconscious: one that arises from repression, and one which arises from foreclosure or rejection. From the forgetting inferred from repression proceeds the modulation of the "return of the repressed," and from foreclosure—as what has been expelled from the symbolic—this that you forgot and that will not even return through the figures of "metaphor" and "metonymy." Over all, the symbolic utilizes forgetting to encounter the real.
Heidegger glimpses the problem. Forgetting cannot be understood as mere omission—it is not always a lapsus. Though he tries to outline a certain structural hypothesis ("forgetting should not be understood as a merely human act or departure"), he attempts to de-psychologize forgetting ("it is not the umbrella left behind by the philosophy professor, it belongs to the 'thing of Being'").
But the aforementioned forgetting of the being, decisive in interpreting the history of metaphysics, has not been sufficiently developed through its specific logic. From the status of that forgetting the conditions of the "overcoming of metaphysics," its end and the possible corresponding twist, may be fixed. Then forgetting is "the promise of a discovery," while the question of forgetting in Heidegger reveals the thinker as a perceptive commentator on this yet unknown experience: psychoanalysis.
c) What brings Heidegger's perception closest to the analytical experience is found in his response to Jünger, where—reflecting on the topology of the Line—he asserts that more than a gift of Being, crossing the Line assumes a "transformation of the saying." Unlike Jünger whose terms still revolve around metaphysics, this transformation is about "requiring a different relation with the essence of language," and not substituting old terminology for new.
Here is the problem. Say Heidegger approached Jünger in the same vain as he approached Nietzsche. While seeing Jünger about to leap over the Line, Heidegger would certainly remit Jünger to the question of being that the history of metaphysics has veiled. So Heidegger goes back to thoroughly discuss "availability" instead of the gift of Being: if the "condition of availability" is a transformation of language, the end comes together through a new way of listening, of speaking, and of writing. Yet Heideggerian expressions such as "the essence of speaking" and the "saying" do not resolve the gap: the difference between speaking and writing is sutured.
Meanwhile in Lacan there are two basic algorithms constituting the possibility for interpretation: on the one hand, the difference between signifier and signified, and on the other, the algorithm which differentiates the oral from the written. The Lacanian act of listening, unlike merely "hearing" phonemes or sounds, relies on this difference which makes for the experience itself. Not accounting for the reason of that new found difference, the Heideggerian experience now listens to the words of tradition in another way, whereby equivocals shape up, language is neologized through the equivocal in writing, it will operate with letters distorting etymologies. The anticipation of the unconscious is ever more obvious insofar as Heidegger's experience of the end conveys the "parting" from a metaphysical way of inhabiting language; what else to make of this when the saying of recollective thinking "always walks through the ambiguities of words and their turning…" Ambiguity of saying is absolutely not a new accumulation of signifiers emerging whimsically. It is a game which, the more richly it develops, the more rigidly it adheres to a hidden rule. Thus saying remains linked to the supreme Law by the game.
But which rule does it follow? What is the supreme Law in front of which the speaker mutates his relation to language so as to meet up with it from a new place? To inhabit a language…does it maintain a relation of structure to the mode of deriving jouissance from it? Doesn't the unconscious imply that the one who speaks enjoys "it," even if he wants to "know nothing of that"? And when a thinker relinquishes his previous work in order to give himself up to a new type of writing, to what change of subjective position is it tied to?
The Lacan-Heidegger confrontation raises questions: is the end of analysis perchance the place that, after the analysand in free association has undergone the speaking experience, "without knowing what he says," reveals at last the rule which subjects the analysand to a mode of jouir of the unconscious?
Richard Rorty, with his asserted pragmatic and quasi-clinical vocation, has attempted to show in various writings the different twists and turns of this Heideggerian yearning. Thus: the attempt to speak in a different manner, to construct an account different from metaphysics, to avoid the model of what in turn is deconstructed, are the dead ends which lead Heidegger to a nostalgia and fascination for a more "primordial and deeper" vocabulary infused with an atmosphere of the "originary;" the "vicinity, building, dwelling, help, voice, etc."
Heidegger does not grasp his own operation ironically, since he should have known that this vocabulary says nothing about Europe or the "destiny of Being," nor about the experience of the end. Even though Rorty accepts that Heidegger does strip himself of a metaphysical basis insofar as more than intending to speak of "knowing" and its possibilities and to explain the ultimate key of the world and its history, he builds a royal path to "create oneself," redescribing the inert vocabularies of the tradition preceding us.
Here one can see Rorty's clinical sharpness on account of him discerning what Lacan elaborated in his seminar on Joyce—those occasions when a work of writing fulfills the function of engendering a subject, of doing something with its proper name, of inscribing its place and finding for it a symbolic scaffolding to make up for what fails in the structure. However, we would have to cross-examine Rorty when he speaks of "creating oneself." In what structure should "creating oneself" be understood so that no new identifying marks are granted to a psychological subject? Is this about someone who owns himself, who knows how to carry out his authorship and thus be sovereign in the realm of discourse?
Rorty does not venture too far in explaining this original manner by which each thinker redescribes and creates himself. Furthermore, why is a certain redescription more attractive than another? For if he describes himself, what is he describing? Does Rorty without knowing it reduce the discourse of each thinker to his own fantasme? Yet why would one discourse prevail over another? By mere persuasion, or does violence have something to say here? Finally, why are there those who must imperatively "create themselves," find a satisfaction in doing so? In any case, Rorty's observations open up various questions on the articulation of an end in concern with the transformation of the experience of language. Lacan designed a device so that each end of an analysis can be drawn together precisely at the point where the subject, in changing his relation to language via the unconscious, can articulate the way how this other relation reaches and affects his mode of satisfaction.
Thought will encounter its correspondence with the Thing through an experience with language. With Heidegger this is the moment when the twisting proper to the end occurs. The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking retrace this problem as a culmination of what was already said in The Question of Being.
Through interrogating Lacan and his approach to The End of Metaphysics the equation psychoanalysis:philosophy changes; the equation "Lacan:Heidegger" is no longer included. Not for Heidegger though who not only allows for its inclusion but furthermore proposes its piercing while testifying through his non-philosophical Task of Thinking to a new kind of Saying that cannot be integrated in the philosophical tradition.
The internal logic of this text presents a tension between the "universal" and its "exception."
On the one hand there is a universal: philosophy and its end—the history of the forgetting of Being and its consummation in modern times, especially European technical civilization—and
to this universal closing over its end there is one exception: the encyclopedic, totalizing image of philosophy is discompleted through an opening—the Task of Thinking.
Can we make a diagnosis of the entire history of Western thought? Is there a sturdy enough key to identity allowing for the argument that all history is in some way regulated by its principle? In Heidegger it is the forgetting of Being that reveals metaphysics.
Plato's Doctrine of Truth, Kant's Transcendental Subjectivity, Hegel's Absolute Spirit and even Nietzsche make for the metaphysical weave and its forgetting by treating "being" in its "constant and present attendance." However, end does not mean cessation and perfection closing in itself; rather, it means completion of what, starting in Greece, is found now in technical civilization, in the regionalizing of science, and in the dissolution of philosophy. Thus totality does not close in on itself as a circle, but has a limit: the Task of Thinking which since the beginning has crossed, traversed, and discompleted it.
The exception that assigns the "Task of Thinking" implies that in the consummated history of philosophy there has been a "thing of thinking" which is in the "place" from which philosophy has sprung, a place which philosophy has not been able to think (was it repressed? was it expelled?). Philosophy in its full regalia starts out from an "originary" thinking which philosophy could not outdo, that thing of thinking that philosophy could not assume as such.
Lacan's diagnosis confirms philosophy as the "discourse of the Master;" philosophy is the Master's theft of the slave's know-how, the appropriation by the Master of a know- how which is a knowledge preceding all knowledge knowing itself. Indiscernible from its use and satisfaction, the Master of knowledge purges while veiling the relation between Being and jouissance. Lacan's call on the linking of Being and jouissance appearing in the task of thinking: the place of the reunion is psychoanalysis.
The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking wonders about the condition of the appearing of the thing and about the way philosophy has addressed the thing—you go through the mode which some thinkers (Husserl, Hegel) related to the appeal of the thing. In Heideggerian terms, how the presence of the thing comes into the present and concealment happens, "the ontological furthest away is the ontically closest," as what is leaving you in its concealment approaches you in its unveiling.
The offer of "far proximity" as a new form of spatiality consistently mentioned by Heidegger is already questioning the conditions under which the experience of language (identical to the task of thinking after the end) must be transformed. In other words, how does the saying connect to that kind of spatiality? This mode of appearing can only be grasped in its appropriate spatiality if in language itself the experience of the near and the far meet without any synthesis of the two. Thus there must be concurrently in language a saying localizing the place of this meeting—for Heidegger it is precisely the Topology of the Being. While Being is revealed, illuminated from the outside, the entire metaphor of light at play—this has been the firmest ground of the Platonic construction—there is at the same time a concealing of the Being-of-the-being moving away from the "straightforward look" of metaphysical vision. At the end of philosophy there can be a call to what has been the "Thing of thinking;" there is an opportunity to connect once again with that place from which thought must have sprung, thought never to assume or know its name: philosophy.
Heidegger in fact attunes with the Thing of thinking through his concept of Lichtung; a clearing in the woods, an opening, its fundamental condition is a void that needs no previous light, rather it is the light, also the shadow, of the Lichtung. And Lichtung will establish a particular tension with the Light of Illustration which illuminates from the outside. The main border of this opening is made up from trees which surround it. In that void where light and shadow are put to play, light can cross its hollowness. There is a yet unthought moment related to the appearing of the opening up—to use the terms of Being and Time, the unthought not a defect of thought but rather its essential motor—Lichtung names and writes, localizes the unthought in what appears, again the condition of possibility of that which appears; this void where clarity and light play during the time of appearing.
The void and the question of its location is problematic in reference to Lacan's teachings. First there is the way Lacan time and again treats this "near farness" space he himself designates by the neologism of "extimity;" thereby joining in the same noun the space which assigns intimate exteriority. From the outset he points to language as what "tears a hole in the Real," showing that the Real in the speaking being is what "lacks language and remains torn."
Thus the traumatic aspect of that void-the Thing-Das Ding, both a foreign and intimate place produced by language and yet what language cannot grasp by means of words.
The Thing, the void, what is not recorded, is solely referred to as what is impossible to say. Thereof, an authentic failure in the apprehension of reality, it denotes the place of the foreigner and foreign arising beyond the pleasure principle, and that in being the most familiar—what is already in the first Other—is the most foreign as well. The Thing, the first exterior, the first Otherness, is the space from which a topology of the unconscious is designed; included in the exterior, excluded from the interior, it divides and erases emerging subjectivity while impeding all identity with itself.
Round about The Thing—the internally excluded—move, condense and displace the links of motion in discourse, in such a way that the Thing is of a radically different register than the register of signifiers, although the signifier produces it. The Thing is there only when the real suffers from language. Thereof what makes for the speaking factor is the impossibility in saying, "that" which is absolutely discordant with language forever inhabiting it. With Lacan, different names assign to this place of the Thing, the extimate void: trauma, drive, jouissance, the first Other in its "obscure authority," and the Thing is never a Being among beings, nor an object, but a construction of language ready to fixate the satisfaction of the drive. Starting precisely from the Thing, its place forever prone to be filled up, to be colonized with objects, it is itself the first condition for the objects to appear. Again with Lacan the Thing is the first logical and chronological place around which the field of the symbolic gets organized.
Lacan takes up The Origin of the Work of Art in The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (1960). It's in deducing this very space, the void which is at the same time interior and exterior, from the Freudian project "psychology for neurologists," that Lacan meets Heidegger.
Lets remember that, at the beginning of his reflections, Heidegger establishes the difference between "thing," "useful," and "work," assigning the occurrence of the work of art to "putting truth to work." Thus a work of art is an opening to the Being by the being, through the privileged form of the Dichtung, through Poetry, which includes architecture, sculpture, music, which wrenches us from the customary and invites us into "that which is opened" by the work.
In this sense the work of art "institutes" and this instituting out of the void can neither be deduced nor proven by what has occurred until now, because it is not comparable with what exists, as it is ready for "the suddenness of a beginning." The impact of the work of art on the beholder is implying that the subject, insofar as it looses the support of its presentation—uprooted, exiled from the ground from which it habitually recognizes itself—is available for the experience of spatiality. Without reconciling the interior with the exterior, spatiality brings forth an echo of the absence of the Thing through what is presented. The esthetic impact will not capture the perfection of form, nor the satisfaction which such perfection provides, it is rather an "almost traumatic" encounter where not only the gratuitousness that "the world be" is captured but also the contingency of Being thrust into it.
There is a correspondence between the Heideggerian disquisitions on the work of art and the way Lacan makes a theme of introducing the void in the real through the function of language.
In The Ethics of Psychoanalysis Lacan's thesis on ex nihilo creation (from the void of das Ding) calls on the potter's vase, once a new object in the world. The vase as object represents the existence of the void in the center of the real which is called Thing. The potter creates the vase ex-nihilo from the void; and shaping the vase concerts with the shaping of the signifier as it introduces a void in the real. From there Lacan moves through the cave, the temple, architecture, as different modalities of surrounding and sifting the void, while considering art, religion, science, art history in the illusion of beyond-space; the sifting of that void is "beyond the sacred." Though this institutes the temple or home of the gods, the void was not set up by any supreme being, nor Being among beings, but rather by the material encounter of language with the real. The void in Lacan is secularized; its topology is not getting ready for the coming of a new god; it rather chooses to show "the real of the structure" beyond the metaphor.
The void-sacred linking goes through different experiences of thought—from the "Negative Theology" which returns always to an non-conceptualizable void (silence), to the experience of Tao. In this sense let's highlight Empty and Full: the Language of Chinese Painting, by François Cheng, disciple of Lacan and perhaps the first book of Lacanian aesthetics. The Oriental void, which Cheng will consider neither as a noumenon nor a phenomenon, may grant the possibility of the painting: "the stroke is to extract oneness from the void," yet the void is not only the condition for color, stroke and texture to emerge, but also the "vital breath" animating the body (how to avoid mentioning the topological structure of the body, that Lacan writes with the figure of the torus showing how the human body envelopes the void). It's in 1953 that Cheng speaks of a center exterior to language which has to do with the "presence of death" in speech.
Michel Leiris as well, tries to reach the very sacred in his 1938 conference "The Sacred in Everyday Life," that is the sacred beyond religion and the sacred of official life. To find out what prestige and rejection, fascination and fear, respect and terror (produced by the sacred) consist of, he walks through the sacred places of his "interior experience"— the objects belonging to the father, the stove, the bedroom, secret encounters—until the journey stops by itself at a place where precisely the unveiling of the sacred knots the void to language. The sacred is revealed to Leiris in certain facts of language: misunderstood and misread words, sudden meanings (words are not what they were thought to be), key words returning with a surprising sonority, proper names endowed with secret and personal meaning, unknown names for objects, until he stops at the words maison vide— boulders at the seashore that were a deserted house during Leiris' childhood, a prodigious temple held up precisely by its extimatic void.
With Leiris, the void of the thing touches the objects of the world through the experience of speech, his experience with the Maison vide very close to Heidegger commenting on the sculptures of Chillida. Heidegger asks himself about that which is proper to space and whether or not this can be said by language (not the physical, technical space, rather the space separating the volumes of the sculpture both on the outside and the inside).
To return to The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking: in the word Lichtung a new place gets named, the word that "says the place." And Lichtung as a focal point obeys the task of thinking and cannot be absorbed inside the wavering of philosophy. Through Lichtung what speaks is no longer philosophy but a new form of (topological) vicinity between "poetry and thought." Certainly not joining philosophical terms to elements of poetic rhetoric, this vicinity is a different place where, what is corresponding to the appeal of the Thing can come to be. Lichtung, is it a metaphor? In principle no, since what is proper to the task of thinking will not allow for metaphor to enter the field of philosophy. Vicinity between poetry and thought is not mythology, nor a trope of rhetoric, nor a new way of using poetry to unveil the philosophical starting point unknown to philosophy itself. For Heidegger the vicinity of poetry and thinking is the "most difficult to think." Lichtung, and the void Lichtung has localized is not metaphor; The Basic Question expresses it enigmatically, "the metaphorical is found in metaphysics." Injunction to the topology of being should show how the limits of metaphor and metaphysics coincide, vicinity should thus be formulated beyond metaphor.
Thereupon how to construct a localizing saying, a topology not originally intervened by the metaphorical dimension?
a) To construct his saying, Heidegger brings about a series of writing procedures, yet unable to determine the separation between spoken and written. Emerging almost spontaneously from a "primogenital voice" which the thinker might have heard eventually, the procedures are based on the fact of playing with the letter and the equivocal instead of being recognized in their material agency of writing—to isolate grammatical particles, cross out certain terms, put in or eliminate questions marks, add periods, sonorize intervals, alter etymologies. Instead it remits to a correspondence with the "originary," to a kind of direct "Saying" of the Thing, finally to dye thought with mystical elements or even with a metalinguistic yearning ("Sacred Names are Lacking"). Despite the fact that Heidegger explicitly shows the impossibility of a metalanguage, his thinking, already a "listening," is such an "opening to mystery," that the Thing of thinking seems to address him and deliver its privileged words. The actual sliding could only be avoided through acknowledging this kind of writing as a Substitute—of what could no longer be said with words and concepts of the metaphysical tradition, of the "identity" which upheld Heidegger in the field of philosophy. To admit this value of "Substitution" leads to the question of whether these writings are merely the singular and unrepeatable experience of Heidegger or whether they possess the transmission value that might pierce the metaphysical meaning. A transmission which of course must occur in any language and obviously beyond the ontological "hierarchy" that Heidegger himself wished to ascribe to the German language.
b) By not admitting to the hiatus between the word and the written, "Saying" enters a correspondence with the originary appeal of the Thing such that it ends up configuring a fantasme of encounter with the Thing equivalent to what we would say is the attempt to cross out the impossibility of the sexual relation. Lacan's expression "there is no metalanguage" is logically articulated with the "impossibility of the sexual relation." That is to say that: there is no way to establish in writing what makes dissymmetry between the jouissance of one and the Other sex disappear. This point, the manner in which this impossibility is "written" in the unconscious, cannot be said in words.
Heidegger's metalinguistic drift would therefore be linked to the fact of having disconnected the "Thing of Being" from the problematic of jouissance, yet the issue of jouissance never ceases to be indirectly called on over and over again. In On the Way to Language (Heidegger's talk with the Japanese "inquisitor") there is the expression which alludes to modesty in different ways, and to all that vacillates in the conversation as it approaches the naming of the "essence of the spoken." Even the obstacle which ends up appearing opposite to the very engendered terms: Lichtung, the Being, is always arrived at either too early or too late; setbacks which evoke the analysand's recounts in the analytic treatment in concern with analysand's, failed encounters in the satisfaction of the drive. Heidegger's premonition of psychoanalysis, his commentary on an experience with the spoken, prowls around what he wants to denominate while going beyond the point of yearning for a different language.
c) To think the exception which is the non-metaphysical Task different from the philosophy of the All, recalls that there is no theory to be constituted in the logic of the All and the exception. As Lacan says, to think is to go-towards-the-totality of a system or towards the exception which makes for it; this ironclad rule of thinking he extracted from what Heidegger always sought to avoid: the logic of the Eteros—what splits the Being in the absolute difference of the sexes. This avoidance holds off Heidegger from capturing the extent of mystical elements in his thinking; his appeals to "serenity," to "loving and not loving" bring about a detour around the inapprehensible in feminine jouissance—in its infinity, in its irreducibility into discrete elements, jouissance establishes a different place from the logic of the All and its exception, and prepares conditions of a different way of thinking.
The task of non-metaphysical thinking and psychoanalysis thus come to a new crossroads. They both discuss the localization of the void and how to handle it, and with Lacan the way of writing it. This crossroads has a political scope: the key to totalitarianism becomes intelligible while revealing the way the Master tries to fill up the void with a law of history or of nature whose temporality is assured in progress. This is about giving substance to the void in such a way that everything which is not involved in this project is viewed as dregs to be eliminated. This might be why Lacan reminded left wing militants in the mid-'60s: "I sustain that psychoanalysis has no right to interpret revolutionary practice, rather revolutionary theory would do well to take responsibility for leaving empty the place of truth as cause."
Lacan destroys the sphere, a privileged manner of hiding the "void of Being" while setting up a topology of the speaking being aimed at a non-metaphoric writing, lest topology not convey the nostalgia forever attempting to restore a certain symbolic hierarchy, a specific last word on the real of jouissance and its empty place in the symbolic.
The emphasis of this article is not only on the fact that Heidegger unintentionally broached psychoanalysis before it was conceived. We have yet tried to exacerbate the experience of psychoanalysis, interrogating the fact that the speaking being may be "cured" in its core of the most subtle form of his fantasme—the metaphysics that always returns with the meaning that may hide its contingency.
Georg Willhelm Hegel, Phenomenology of the Spirit. London, 1909.
Martin Heidegger, Being and Time. Oxford: Blackwell, 1967.
ibid, The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking. In Basic Writings. New York: Harper and Row, 1977, P. 373-392.
ibid, The Origin of the Work of Art. In Basic Writings . New York: Harper and Row, 1977, P. 149- 187.
ibid, The Question of Being. London: Vision Press, 1959.
ibid, La proposicion del fundamento, Ediciones Cerval.
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