VIII Congress of the World Association of Psychoanalysis WAP
World Association of Psychoanalysis

23rd to 27th April 2012
Hilton Hotel

Macacha Güemes 351, Puerto Madero
Buenos Aires City, Argentina

Resonances of "A Fantasy"
The invention of Lacanian practice
by Leonardo Gorostiza

Leonardo GorostizaIn his intervention at the 4th AMP Congress on "Lacanian Practice: Without standards but not without principles", which took place in Comandatuba in Brazil, and which is reproduced here, Jacques-Alain Miller situated three positions in psychoanalysis that lead to practices of suggestion. All of them are linked to the slogan of an "it works", that is to say, to the slogan of the master's discourse, even if this master is now "post-modern".

Before these three options, the Lacanian practice of psychoanalysis presupposes, on the contrary, being founded on an "it fails". That is to say that it presupposes being founded on the symptom, as the testimony of a contingent relation with the impossible. This is what makes the symptom that which takes root in an always traumatic encounter with the absence of sexual relation (proportion) which is then repeated.

It is this context that Miller highlighted the following, which to my understanding constitutes the central axis of our work towards the next Congress in Buenos Aires 2012:

"Then -he indicates- there is the Lacanian practice, or more precisely, there will be, since it is a question of inventing it. Of course that does not mean inventing it ex nihilo. It must be invented in the way that was opened up, in particular, by the late Lacan."[1]

What is at stake, therefore, is to invent a "practice without value"[2], that is, a practice that excludes the notion of success, and to gauge its consequences on a symbolic order that falters qua "order".

This is the practice announced by Lacan in his ultimate teaching when, while longing for the invention of a new signifier which - like the real - would not have any kind of meaning whatsoever, he said about interpretation:

"The first thing would be to extinguish the notion of the beautiful. We have nothing to say about the beautiful. It is a different resonance that is at stake, to be founded on the joke. A joke is not beautiful. It is only sustained by an equivocation, or, as Freud says, by an economy. Nothing more ambiguous than this notion of economy. But it can be said that economy founds value. Well! A practice without value, here's what it would be at stake for us to institute."[3]

Thus, "A Fantasy", from beginning to end, is animated by this enigmatic challenge of Lacan. How, in an era where everything is "measured" in terms of success achieved or to be achieved, is it possible to institute and sustain a practice which makes of "failing" its foundation? Moreover, how to institute and sustain a practice which cannot make of the "it fails" the law of the real, but which can only prove, by contingency, the real... as impossible, namely, a real without law?

And with whom or what does the Lacanian practice of psychoanalysis play its game? Miller indicates that it is not so much with the standards of the other psychoanalysis - the one that wishes to resuscitate the declining name of the father and tradition, or that which believes in the eternity of the Freudian concepts - but rather with the one that seeks an alignment with the real of science under the form of a pseudo-science: the neuro-cognitivist translation of psychoanalysis. But, above all, the Lacanian practice yet to be invented plays its game with the "new reals to which the discourse of hyper-modern civilization bears witness".

This is the central point to be interrogated at our next Congress.

And if "A Fantasy" constitutes something like a work programme, a programme founded on the enigmas that Lacan left us in his ultimate teaching, it does not, for all that, cease to pose us, in its turn, other enigmas. I shall enumerate only some of them.

How to conceive a practice in which what is at stake is nothing but different modes of failing? How to conceive an analytic practice in which the semblants with which psychoanalysis was produced (the father, the Oedipus, castration...) have begun to wobble?

How to conceive a practice which proposes a renewal of the meaning of the symptom, precisely on the basis of that which no longer has any meaning and which only implies the repetition of the jouissance of the contingent and traumatic encounter with lalangue? That is, how to conceive it on the basis of a symptom which implies the repetition of the One of jouissance always returning to the same place, with no meaning whatsoever, and which Lacan called sinthome?

How to conceive a practice which fundamentally makes of symptoms the signs of the sexual non-relation and not a meaning to be deciphered?

How to conceive a practice where interpretation does not aim at deciphering an always hypothetical knowledge, like the unconscious semblant, but at reaching the potency of the symptom as symptom-jouissance?

How to conceive a practice where the discourse of the hyper-modern master is no longer the other side of the analytic discourse, which puts in question and obliges us to re-situate its function of dis-identification?

How to conceive a practice in a era where the unconscious qua knowledge does not exist primarily, and in which love is thus necessary to suppose it as knowledge, that is, as a condition for the chaining S1 and S2?

Finally, how to conceive the end of analysis and the pass when what is at stake is not the liberation of the fantasm or of the symptom but a knowing-how to deal with (savoir y faire), each time with a symptomatic remainder?

The list of enigmas and questions could be continued. As noted in the Editorial presenting the Papers, which will mark out our work towards Buenos Aires 2012 (see on this site), the consequences of this conference by Jacques-Alain Miller continue to be innumerable and fruitful for thinking about the consequences for the treatment in the the new symbolic order.

Addressing them, pursuing them and situating them in our current context, will be a way of attempting, once again, to make explicit the foundations of Lacanian psychoanalysis so that now, in the 21st Century, it continues to be a "cure" that is not like the others.


Translated from the Spanish by Florencia Fernandez Coria Shanahan.


  1. My emphasis.
  2. "Una practica sin valor": also a 'worthless' practice. [TN]
  3. Lacan, Jacques, The Seminar, Book 24, 19 April 1977, in Ornicar?17-18, Text established by Jacques-Alain Miller. (My emphasis and translation into Spanish).