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Issue 45: Editorial

The Letter, Issue 45, Autumn 2010, Pages v - vii


We continue with Cormac Gallagher's translation of Lacan's L'Étourdit. The First Turn: the signifier and the absence of sexual relationship, was published in The Letter, Issue 41, Summer 2009.

The Second Turn, first part was included in The Letter, Issue 43, Spring 2010.

The Second Turn, second part: the discourse of the analyst, now in this Issue, focuses on different types of impossibility – the impossibility of the psychoanalytic group, of the sexual relationship, of the four disourses, of the formulae of sexuation, of the real and of the layers of the o-object. He challenges the said of the universal of “man is mortal”, by recognising its contestability, and pointing to the saying which is represented in the objects of topology which are incapable of being pinned down either by metaphor and metonymy, hence it's importance in the clinic of psychoanalysis. The role of the cut is emphasised in that it modifies structure both in topology and psychoanalysis. Given the fact of human subjectivity, there cannot be any standardisation in treatment, such as is typified by the process of certification. The saying opens the gap which reveals the unconscious, which comes into being provided the o object is in the place of semblance. Analysts mistake the transference for pure repetition of love, whereas it has to do with a supposed knowledge. Love is to be found elsewhere than in the psychoanalytic discourse. The real, as absence of sexual relationship, is also found in mathematics and the impasses of logic. The apparent stupidity of the witticism, by recalling another absurdity demonstrates the movement from meaning to sense.

Christian Fierens Reading L'Étourdit has been chosen to enable the reader of Lacan's original to come to grips with the many obscurities which keep us awake at night. Fierens work is a masterly exposition into the diversity of topics and references made by Lacan and they provide a way to think more deeply into the matters raised. He sheds light on Lacan's impossilibity of the psychoananalytic group. This real provides the rationale for the cartels and it is important not confuse them with the analytic discourse. The formulae of sexuation do not depend on metaphor but by being subject to the phallic function the speaking being is always labile, as is exemplified by the reversals in the four formulae of sexuation and the four discourses. He links spherical topology to the said and aspherical toplogy to the saying. Spherical topology refers to the closed aspect of the cross-cap which is representable in three dimensions, whereas its aspherical aspect it's the move to the abstract of four dimensions, which is nevertheless always operative in psychoanalytic discourse. The layers of the o-object are in the real - the part that is missing and around which all discourses revolve. Daphne as o-object which causes desire is transformed into a laurel which is the nothing and therefore unattainable. The labyrinthine process of Lacan's L'etouordit result in a movement from meaning to sense.

Le Gaufey's Towards a Crticial Reading of the Formulae of Sexuation, translated by Cormac Gallagher was published in The Letter, Issue 39, Autumn, 2008. This text is preceded by the Prologue and The Logic of the Sexual Fault-line, in the French text, Le Pastout de Lacan: Consistance Logique, Conséquenes Cliniques published by EPEL, and are also translated by Cormac Gallagher. The Prologue gives an outline of the topics, which Le Gaufey covers in the original French text. The central focus of the text is Lacan‟s starting point of classical Aristotelian logic of the universal andparticular, and his development and alteration to this logic to articulate his concept that‟ there is no sexual relationship.‟The Logic of the Sexual Fault- line takes Genesis as it‟s starting point, proceeds through Boethius and the "famous quarrel of the Universals‟, traverses Freud from Three Essays in 1903 to his 1923 texts that "establish the very subtle business of the “phallic phase.” The concluding section of this paper deals with Lacan's fifteen year struggle with the question of Man/Woman, one or two, which are foundational in attempting to understand the formulae of sexuation. LeGaufey's work is truly remarkable and essential for all of us engaged in the attempt to achieve a formation which will build on essays of this quality.

My own contribution gives a theoretical perspective of groups and cartels. Starting with Freud's vertical hierarchy it shows how Lacan modified this schema to introduce the notion of the beyond of identification by introducing the notion of the o-object in place of the leader whilst simultaneously stressing the necessity for ensuring that there is also a requirement of a beyond of identification with the o-object. This is formulated by the need to keep a distance between both either the leader and the o-object. Hence his idea for the cartel as a circular organisation. There is circumstantial evidence to suggest that the various members of the original cartels were unable to make them work effectively because of their inability to move beyond the tie to the leader. This is what leads to my speculative suggestion that Lacan might have been better advised to think of his new school as a toric organisation following the logic of the torus in topology.

Tony Hughes

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