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Reading L’Étourdit. First Turn. Chapter 2. Freud’s Saying

The Letter, Issue 51, Autumn 2012, Pages 23 - 44


Christian Fierens

(51) The signifier (S1) represents the subject ($) for another signifier (S2). In the master discourse the signifier, taken as a semblance (S1), can be used for something quite other, quite Other (S2). The master discourse is stabilized in the relationship between S1 and S2. It develops the meaning-relationship. As a practice of free association, a practice of the signifier, should analysis be polarised towards the meaning-relationship? Does analysis consist in separating out such a relationship from the remarks of the analysand? In this way free association would always culminate in a significant relationship: ‘Whatever you might say, it will always end up by cross-checking with itself’.

To be sure, the signifier of the master discourse is at stake in analysis. Nevertheless the meaning-relationship remains incapable of treating the manifestations of the unconscious, which never cease to surprise and to astonish. How overcome this incapacity proper to the master discourse, if not by reversing this discourse, in other words by pushing it towards its own powerlessness? It would therefore be a matter of accentuating, not the meaning-relationship, but the impossibility between S1 and S2: S2 is radically Other than S1. The relationship between S1 and S2 leads to sense, as it has been separated out in the preceding chapter. The difference, the impossibility between S1 and S2 deviates from sense: it is ab-sense.

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