LX:52 | Symbolic Order

Before I leave you, and since one must punctuate, put in a final full stop, to serve you as an orientation table, I will tun once again to the four poles which I have more than once written on the board.

I begin with A, which is the radical Other, that of the eighth or ninth hypothesis of Parmenides, which is equally the real pole of the subjective relation and is what Freud ties the relation to the death instinct to.

Then, here you have m, the ego, and a, the other which isn’t an other at all, since it is essentially coupled with the ego, in a relation which is always reflexive, interchangeable – the ego is always an alter-ego.

Here you have S, which is simultaneously the subject, the symbol, and also the Es. The symbolic realisation of the subject, which is always a symbolic creation, is the relation between Aand S. It is subjacent, unconscious, essential every subjective situation.

This schematisation doesn’t start off with an isolated and absolute subject. Everything is tied to the symbolic order, since there are men in the world and they speak. And what is transmitted and tends to get constituted is an immense message into which the entire real is little by little retransplanted, recreated, remade. The symbolisation of the real tends to be equivalent to the universe, and the subjects are only relays, supports in it. What we get up to in all this is to make a break on the level of one of these couplings. (321-2)


Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book II: Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis, 1954-1955.  Trans. Sylvana Tomaselli.  Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller.  W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1991. 

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