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Psychoanalysis is the Knowledge of the Rules of the Game of Love

The Letter, Issue 36, Spring 2006, Pages 35 - 51


PSYCHOANALYSIS IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE RULES OF THE GAME OF LOVE

A COMMENTARY ON THE LOGICAL AND TOPOLOGICAL

STRUCTURE OF UNCONSCIOUS KNOWLEDGE

Patricia McCarthy


Introduction

Good, so then I am entering into the core of the subject[1]. This is how Lacan opens the Ninth session of Seminar XXI - Les non-dupes errent. Going on to introduce three differently shaped Borromean knots to his audience - an African one, a plaited one, and one with a complicated symmetrical core - he then announces that he is 'in the process of questioning love'[2]. Because 'we imagine that love is two' and also 'the Imaginary is not what is to be most recommended for finding the rule of the game of love'[3] he exhorts us to do better than to simply rely on the Imaginary to find out about love, now that the analytic discourse is a fact of our lives for over a hundred years.

So then let us question ourselves about what might happen if one made serious ground from the angle that...love is thrilling but that this implies that one follows the rule of the game (of love) in it. Naturally for that, it must be known. That is perhaps what is lacking: it is that people have always been here in the most profound ignorance, namely that they play a game whose rules they do not know.....it is perhaps for that that analytic discourse may be of use.[4]

For Lacan at this time, the Borromean knot will be part of the means by which the knowledge of the rules of the game of love can be invented.

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