LX:105 | Something of a Misunderstanding

I’m not surprised that something of a misunderstanding remains to be dispelled, even in people who think they’re following me. Don’t think I’m expressing any disappointment here. That would be to be in disagreement with myself, since I teach you that misunderstanding is the very basis of interhuman discourse. 

But that is not the only reason that I’m not surprised that my discourse may have created a certain margin of misunderstanding. This is because in addition, if one is to be consistent in practice with one’s own ideas, if all valid discourse has to be judged precisely according to its own principles, I would say that it is with a deliberate, if not entirely deliberated, intention that I pursue this discourse in such a way as to offer you the opportunity to not quite understand. This margin enables you yourselves to say that you think you follow me, that is, that you remain in a problematic position, which always leaves the door open to a progressive rectification. 

In other words, if I were to try to make myself very easily understood, so that you were completely certain that you followed, then according to my premises concerning interhuman discourse the misunderstanding would be irremediable. On the contrary, given the way I think that I have to approach problems, you always have the possibility of what is said being open to revision, in a way that is made all the easier by the fact that it will fall back upon me entirely if you haven’t been following sooner – you can hold me responsible.


Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book III: The Psychoses 1955-1956.  Trans. Russell Grigg.  Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller.  W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1993. 163-4. 

Leave a Reply

Close Menu