LX:63 | Introduction to the Thing

Honey is what I am trying to bring you, the honey of my reflections on something that, my goodness, I have been doing for a number of years and which is beginning to add up, but which, as time goes by, ends up not being that much out of proportion with the time you devote to it yourselves.

If the communication effect here sometimes presents difficulties, reflect on the experience of honey. Honey is either very hard or very fluid. If it’s hard, it is difficult to cut, since there are no natural breaks. If it’s very liquid, it is suddenly all over the place – I assume that you are all familiar with the experience of eating honey in bed at breakfast time.

Hence the problem of pots. The honey pot is reminiscent of the mustard pot that I have already dealt with. The two have exactly the same meaning now that we no longer imagine that the hexagons in which we tend to store our harvest have a natural relationship to the structure of the world. Consequently, the question we are raising is in the end always the same, i.e., what is the significance of the word?

This year we are more specifically concerned with realizing how the ethical question of our practice is intimately related to one that we have been in a position to glimpse for some time, namely, that the deep dissatisfaction we find in every psychology – including the one we have founded thanks to psychoanalysis – derives from the fact that it is nothing more than a mask, and sometimes even an alibi, of the effort to focus on the problem of our own action – something that is the essence and very foundation of all ethical reflection. In other words, we need to know if we have managed to do anything more than take a small step outside ethics and if, like the other psychologies, our own is simply another development of ethical reflection, of the search for a guide or a way, that in the last analysis may be formulated as follows: “Given our condition as men, what must we do in order to act in the right way?”

This reminder seems to me difficult to disagree with, when every day of our lives our action suggest to us that we are not far removed from that. Of course, things present themselves differently to us. Our way of introducing this action, of presenting and justifying it, is different. Its beginning is characterized by features of demand, appeal and urgency, whose specialized meaning places us closer to earth as far as the idea of the articulation of an ethics is concerned. But that does not change the fact that we may in the end, or at any point whatsoever, discover such an articulation once again in its completeness – the kind of articulation that has always given both meaning and arguments to those who have reflected on morals and have tried to elaborate their different ethics.


Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-1960.  Trans. Dennis Porter.  Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller.  W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1992. 19-20.


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