Talk at the end of the 6th Congress of the NLS in Ghent, March 15 & 16, 2008 on ‘The Body and its Objects in the Psychoanalytic Clinic’ Published in Bulletin of the NLS, Issue 4 2008, The Body & its objects Lacanian Interpretation


– La Cause freudienne, Autumn 2008

– translated by Thelma Sowley, in Bulletin of the NLS, The Body and its Objects, Lacanian Interpretation, v4, 2008 , p7-16, see /laurent (March 2008)


P8 Metamorphosis, Ovid : We were able to perceive here an echo of this movement, but there was no fighting in the amphitheatre, perhaps because what we attended yesterday conserved nevertheless a veil, the veil of the correct form. Certainly Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which supported the argument of the play Milk, have already lost their Greek serenity. The bodies Ovid speaks of are constantly transformed in order to continue to account for the youth of the world, particutarly in the first book of the Metamorphoses, which has been compared to Genesis.

Related texts : In 1938 Salvador Dalí met Sigmund Freud in London, bringing with him his painting Metamorphosis of Narcissus. See the picture slider on


Salvador Dali : Metamorphosis of Narcissus. Includes Mario Beira : Introductory note to help contextualise Dali’s poem : 31st August 2021 & Rosa Maria Maurell : Dalí and the Myth of Narcissus : 25th December 2005, Download, bilingual, translated by Haim Finkelstein, at /Lacan #85

Salvador Dali : 1937 : La Metamorphose de Narcisse/Metamorphosis of Narcissus, Poem by Salvador Dalí (1937), with an introduction by André Breton. Published bilingual, translated by by Haim Finkelstein in 1998, see /Lacan (98. DALI: Metamorphose de Narcisse)


P13 Further Remarks on the Neuro-Psychoses of Defense” : 1894, SE III p58-59, Part of this paper are identical to Draft K – see letter of January 1st 1896 : Sigmund Freud, /3 Sigmund Freud

Quote : The child, in this case, enters into no circuit of exchange. The quasi hallucinatory intensity of the demand for a child in the subject she talks about, reminds us of Meynert and Griesinger’s cases of Amentia, of hallucinatory psychosis, which Freud talks of in 1894.


P13 Seminar IV 26th June 1957 : The child is found in the field Lacan calls the zone of malaise in Seminar IV

Check this site /4 Jacques Lacan (19561121) and if not transferred see /lacan (November 1956)

p594 of Staferla : Nous avons vu se dégager comme une place originale des éléments qui sont bel et bien des objets, et qui sont même à un stade tout à fait original et fondateur, et même formateur des objets, mais qui sont tout de même quelque chose de tout à fait différent de ce qu’on peut appeler des objets au sens achevé, en tous cas de fort différents objets réels puisque c’est de l’utilisation d’objets qui peuvent être pris et extraits du malaise, mais qui sont des objets mis en fonction de signifiant.

Via an internet translator : We have seen the emergence of elements which are indeed objects, and which are even at an original stage, and which are even at a quite original and founding stage and founding, and even formative of objects, but which are all the same something quite different from what one can call objects in the completed sense, in any case very different real objects since it is the use of objects that can be taken and extracted from the malaise, but which are objects put in function of signifier.


P14 On a question preliminary to any possible treatment of psychosis : December 1955-January 1956 [1958] : two most important parts of Seminar III : Jacques Lacan, Check this site /4 Jacques Lacan (19551201) and if not transferred see /lacan (December 1955), Quote p14, The functioning of the signifier does not engender an ideal machine, without a remainder, it always implies a hold on the body that contains the entire speech-being. “It is not man’s rags, but his very being that takes up its position among the scraps in which his first frolics found their cortege, inasmuch as the law of symbolization, in which his desire must become engaged, catches him in its net by the position of part-object in which he offers himself on coming into the world…” p488, note 35 of Fink’s translation,

p224 note 39 of Alan Sheridan’s translation : I think I can borrow this euphemism from the register of the Grundsprache itself – a euphemism that the voices and Schreber himself, unusually, dispense with here.

I think I can better fulfil my duties to scientific rigour by pointing out the hypocrisy which, in this detour as in others, reduces to the benign, not to say to the inane, what the Freudian experience demonstrates. I mean the indefinable use to which references like the following are put: at this stage in his analysis, the patient regressed to the anal phase. It would be good to see the analyst’s face if the patient suddenly defecated, or even slobbered, on his couch.

All this is no more than a concealed return to the sublimation that finds shelter in the inter urinas et faeces nascimur, with its implication that this sordid origin is of concern only to our bodies.

What analysis uncovers is something quite other. It is not his rags, but the very being of man that takes up its position among the waste matter in which his first frolics occur, much as the law of symbilization in which his desire must operate catches him in its net by the position of the part-object in which he offers himself on arrival in the world, in a world in which the desire of the Other lays down the law.

This relation, of course, is clearly articulated by Schreber in what he ascribes, to leave no possible ambiguity, to the act of shitting – namely, the fact of feeling the elements of his being, the dispersion of which into the infinity of his delusion constitutes his suffering, gathered together.


P14 Seminar X, p254, 8th May 1963, Quote p14, Lacan takes this point up again in the Seminar X and specifies: “We always find in the body because of this engagement in the dialectic of the signifiers, something separated, something sacrificed, something inert, which is the pound of flesh.” See this site /4 Jacques Lacan (19630508)

pXVII 152 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation, That is not the order of events involved here in this reminder of the function of the body. The engagement of the man who speaks in the chain of the signifier with all its consequences, with this henceforth fundamental springing forth, this elective point that I earlier called that of an ultra-subjective radiation, this foundation of desire in a word, it is in so far as, it is not that the body in its functioning would allow us to reduce everything, to explain everything in a reduction to the dualism of the Umwelt and the Innenwelt, it is because there is always in the body, and by the very fact of this engagement in the signifying dialectic, something separated, something statuefied, something inert from then on: that there is a pound of flesh.


P15 Entretien avec François Dagognet, un philosophe du médicament p24. (Interview with François Dagognet, a philosopher of medicine), Mental no 19, Mai 2007, Revue Internationale de Santé Mentale et Psychanalyse Appliquée,

There is no copy to be found on the internet – if anyone has access please let Julia Evans know.

Quote p15 : In this sense, the medicine is presented as an object par excellence, that is to say an object that has the structure of an instrument of jouissance, which is that of the object a. “There is a knowledge of psychoanalysis. It really did discover something, something mythic which is the formula…of means of production…of a satisfaction…of mountains…an instrument functioning, an transferred outside and that we then use to help a disturbed inside.”


P15 Seminar XVI From an Other to the other (1968-1969) : from 13th November 1968 : Jacques Lacan, quote p15 : “The functioning of medicine mimes the organic… some organs of the body, in fact diversely ambiguous and difficult to grasp, since it is too clear that some are only scraps, find themselves placed in a function of instrumental support.”

The Problem

The phrase ‘The functioning of medicine memes the organic’ does not appear in the Staferla version (’UN%20AUTRE…%20.pdf or search on Séminaire 16, Jacques Lacan) or in Cormac Gallagher’s translation from tapes ( ).

Further I do not have access to p206 of Seuil 2006.

Also, the second part of the quote has no equivalence in Staferla or Cormac Gallagher. Cormac Gallagher gives

And it is indeed because of this that some organs of the body that are moreover ambiguous in different ways, hard to grasp, because it is too obvious that some are only waste products, are found to be placed in this function of instrumental support.

I state no equivalence, as the two versions give different meanings. I suggest that the basis for the difference is that Seuil 2006 is edited, whereas Staferla & Gallgher work from tapes or transcripts. Julia Evans

Seminar XVI 5th March 1969 p101 of Staferla

Bien sûr, le domaine n’est plus limitrophe et c’est bien de ce fait que quelques organes, d’ailleurs diversement ambigus, malaisés à saisir, du corps – puisqu’il est trop évident que certains n’en sont que les déchets – se trouvent placés en cette fonction de support instrumental. Alors une question s’ouvre : comment pouvons-nous définir cette satisfaction ?

Internet translation : Of course, the domain is no longer borderline and it is indeed because of this fact that some organs, moreover diversely ambiguous, difficult to grasp, of the body – since it is too obvious that some of them are only the waste – find themselves placed in this function of instrumental support. Then a question opens: how can we define this satisfaction?

Seminar XVI 5th March 1969 pXIII 4-5 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : All of this is not a reason for psychoanalysis to be used in any way to contest – because this is what is at stake – the well-foundedness of the transmission of any knowledge whatsoever, not even its own. Because after all it discovered something, however mythical its formulation, it discovered what in other registers is called the means of production, of what? of a satisfaction. It discovered that there was something articulatable and articulated, something that I pinpointed, that I exposed as montages, and literally not being able to conceive of itself otherwise, that it calls drives. And this only has meaning-which means that it does not present them as such-in as far as on occasion it is satisfying, and that, when one sees them functioning, that implies that it brings satisfaction with it. When, from the angle of a theoretical articulation, it exposes in behaviour the functioning of oral drives, anal drives, and of others again, scotophilic or sado-masochistic drives, it [pXIII 5]is indeed to say that something is being satisfied and it is self-evident that it cannot be designated otherwise than as what is underneath, a subject, and upokeimenon, whatever division must necessarily result for (164) it, because here it is on the subject of a functioning instrument, an organon. The term is used here less with an anatomical accent, a prolongation, the more or less animated natural appendix of a body, than properly in its original sense, where Aristotle, uses it in logic as an apparatus, as an instrument. Naturally, the domain is no longer limitrophe. And it is indeed because of this that some organs of the body that are moreover ambiguous in different ways, hard to grasp, because it is too obvious that some are only waste products, are found to be placed in this function of instrumental support. So then a question is opened up. How can we define this satisfaction? We have to believe that there must here be something, all the same, that is not working because what we spend our time on, with regard to these montages, is dismantling them. Does that mean that the pure and simple dismantling implies in itself, as such, in the foreground, that it is curative? If that was how things were, things might have gone a little quicker, and we would perhaps have covered the whole area a long time ago! If we put forward the function of fixation as essential, it is indeed because the affair is not as easy as that. And that what we have to retain in the psychoanalytic field is perhaps in effect that there is something that is inscribed as its horizon, and that this is the sexual. And that it is in function of this horizon, maintained as such, that the drives are inserted into their function as system.