Lectures on Lacan
Lectures on Lacan Podcast
Often Overlooked Essays in Écrits: "The Situation of Psychoanalysis and the Training of Psychoanalysts in 1956"

Often Overlooked Essays in Écrits: "The Situation of Psychoanalysis and the Training of Psychoanalysts in 1956"

This episode begins with Lacan’s account of “the cut brought about by the heteronomy of the symbolic” and ends by explaining his frequent claim that “the true father — that is, the symbolic father — is the dead father.” If you’ve ever wondered what, exactly, Lacan means by “the symbolic,” this episode’s for you.

First up in the episode: imaginary triangles comprised of the child (read: fragmented body), the primary caregiver (read: maternal function), and the imaginary object (read: phallus). Our central theme: having versus being the phallus. And our primary stake throughout: a clear, coherent, tripartite definition of desire, in which desire is always (1) the desire for another body mediated through (2) the desire of another body resulting in (3) the experience of desire as another’s body. For, of, as — these are the operative terms in Lacan’s theory of desire.

Next up in this episode: symbolic squares made of imaginary triangles by the name-of-the father (read: paternal function). Our central theme: the cut, gap, opening, minus-phi-turned-objet-a introduced by Mommy, Daddy, Baby Jesus, Santa Claus, Colonel Sanders, the Queen of England (R.I.P.), Aliens . . . indeed, any invokable external authority will due. And our primary stake throughout: how the nom-of-the-father begins as a non-of-the-father that effectively prohibits the maternal figure from having the phallus and the child from being it for them — but also, more fundamentally, that prohibits the child from any continuation of life without prohibition. From “no” to “no-things” to “nothing” — you know where we’re going with this: If there’s an ontology of Lacanian psychoanalysis, it’s in fact a mēontology.

Along the way, this episode also considers the importance of keeping it 300 (nay, 400) when desire and law are involved, the way that the paternal metaphor staves off anxiety, the irreducible sadism of the superego, the reason wild west heroes always ride off into the sunset, why edenic states of nature aren’t blissful but utterly terrifying (Happy Halloween, y’all), and, last but not least, the difference between two keywords in Lacan’s theory of the symbolic: lost vs. loss.