The enjoyment throughout Lacan's teaching, extract, pp 13-29.

To introduce the enjoyment

Marcel Ritter


The notion of enjoyment is undoubtedly one of the most difficult issues of the psychoanalytic field. On the approach of the theory is far from easy, because of its extreme fragmentation both in time and in space. Any attempt to approach not only runs its dispersion in virtually all of Lacan's teaching, but also to its fragmentation within the same field it is.

Its development is mainly spotted in a period of Lacan's teaching from 1957 at 1976. During this period spanning almost twenty years, however, we can isolate a number of highlights, moments of precipitation, recovery also, and in any case to clarify the notion. And a seminar on The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (1959-1960) and text Writings entitled "Subversion of the subject and the dialectic of desire in the Freudian unconscious" (1960) which is contemporary. Then the seminar Yet (1972-1973). Finally, "the third" (1974[1]), Lacan's intervention at the Congress of the Freudian School of Paris to Rome, and seminar R.S.I. (1974-1975) which followed.

The contributions of Lacan during this period must be added, upstream the text on "The Mirror Stage" (1949[2]) where the term of use is not, well as that of jubilant assumption of mirror image evokes already. It is a moment of fascination marking and masking both fundamental alienation of the subject in an image made "as another", and ipso facto its enjoyment as it appears as "the enjoyment of the other"-as Lacan indicate a later about the reconstruction of the specular image within the analytic relationship[3]. Et an aval, "The Seminary of Caracas[4] »August 1980 where it is alluded to in a single sentence, which recalls the point where Lacan arrived a few years ago about this notion.

Another source of problems is related to the distinction between Lacan several varieties of enjoyment. The notion of enjoyment in effect covers a wide range, itself consists of several species of enjoyment, not without its commonalities but whose pivot points are not obvious at first.

A question should be raised about the difficulty of access to the notion of enjoyment. This difficulty is not it reflected in the theoretical field of inaccessibility of enjoyment in its essence, related to its status as real as impossible in the subject field, not covered by the term "prohibition" in the symbolic register. In this regard include one of the first canonical formulas for the enjoyment of Lacan : "The enjoyment is prohibited speaks as such", in the sense that it can not be said between the lines for anyone under the law[5]. This feature real as impossible the enjoyment inherent in the subjective economy would not be without effect at the time of his theoretical approach.


We have to introduce the notion enjoyment primarily as, then as field. These two terms are a reference to Lacan's discourse.

Lacan refers to the enjoyment initially as a "notion", and in his seminar on The formations of the unconscious during the meeting 5 March 1958[6]. He stands at the same time the notion of desire, under the constitution of desire in relation to the signifier. In the text prepared by Jacques-Alain Miller for the seminar published by Le Seuil, This session also bears the title "The desire and enjoyment". From this inaugural moment, time of his appointment, enjoyment is a concept to oppose the desire, while there is involved - indicating its relation to the signifier, So the language via This reference to the desire. That she is involved in the notion of desire means it is much background the horizon, behind the scenes is the scene where the game is played desire, its permanent reference, while being radically separated.

If Lacan speaks about starting notion of enjoyment, He will also say later that it is "a signifier introduced into the real[7] » [of psychoanalytic experience] or "a new term[8] ».

As for the expression "field of use", Lacan uses especially in his seminar The Other Side of Psychoanalysis : « […] if there is something that remains to be done, in the analysis, it is the institution of that other energy field that require structures other than the physical, which is the field of enjoyment ". Then : "For what is the scope of enjoyment, alas, never be called, because I will probably not have time even to outline the basics, Lacanian field, but I want- there any comments[9]. "In the text prepared by Jacques-Alain Miller for the seminar published by Le Seuil, This session focuses precisely the title "The Lacanian field".

It is therefore maintained that Lacan has not only outlined the basics of this field, but he has also directed or as unified data structure, which in the field of psychoanalysis can not be that the structure of language, the unconscious is structured like a language. Not to mention the fact that we have further provided means for articulating what field of enjoyment with some key concepts of our practice. The term "field Lacanian" we obviously refers to the "field Freudian". Is it the same thing ? Definitely, since both refer to the same object, the unconscious, result of a single experiment, defined as the practice of psychoanalysis. Nevertheless, the appointment of these two fields corresponds to two points of view, to two different poles, best two opposite poles of experience.

If in accordance with the wishes of Lacan Lacanian field we call the field of enjoyment, what amounts to the enjoyment of the object of psychoanalysis in the Lacanian sense, then describe how the Freudian field ? Based on the foundations of the unconscious as Freud has stated from the outset about the dream, we can qualify without too much difficulty the Freudian field as the field of unconscious desire, although the Freudian formula "the dream is a wish-fulfillment" evokes the notion of satisfaction, implicitly that enjoyment.

But there is no question of opposing Freud and Lacan through this bipolarity desire-pleasure. Simply stated, the Freudian field is rather on the side of desire, unconscious wishes or unconscious desire is, and the field-side rather Lacanian enjoyment, the unconscious has or is unconscious enjoyment. Do not forget that if the second part of Lacan's teaching actually favors the notion of enjoyment, Throughout the first part is focused on the notion of desire. Otherwise, if the seminar The ethics of psychoanalysis (1959-1960), following the introduction of some 1958 the notion of enjoyment in opposition to the desire , gives pride of place to the concept of enjoyment, it does not end unless the formula "not budge on his desire". This formula summarizing the ethics of psychoanalysis is to be understood therefore as not to give the pole of desire because it is a defense against the pole of enjoyment.


Enjoyment as defined and unified field covers different kinds of pleasures isolated by Lacan, and designated by specific names. All these varieties are supported by a number of statements that fundamental value axioms. These statements are fundamental to the enjoyment of the report with other key concepts of psychoanalytic theory.

The report of the enjoyment with the body

Of all the statements concerning the enjoyment Lacan, the body of the report is the largest and most consistent. It is the central axiom around which the whole development of the concept of enjoyment.

Statements in this direction are multiplied from 1966, such as "it belongs to a body to enjoy[10] "Or" a body is something that is done to enjoy, enjoy yourself[11] ». It is the enjoyment in that the body experiences, enjoys himself, which will lead to the "one body that is enjoyed[12] ». Enjoyment proves to be of the order of the voltage increase, forcing, of expenditure, even exploit, for confining at the time of onset of pain[13].

Otherwise, the body is to be understood not as the natural body, biological organism, but as the body marked by language, the meaning, the unary trait, hence the notion of speaking body[14]. Lacan and it may state that "a body enjoys the corporiser in a meaningful way[15] ». A general definitions that give enjoyment is that "enjoyment is the ratio of the speaking body[16] ». Enjoyment is therefore located at the junction of the body and language or lalangue or speech.

Should therefore take into account the effects of language or meaning of the body. These two types of effects that. The body becomes equivalent to the locus of the Other : "The place of the Other's body because it is there that fits the brand as a signifier[17] » ; and there is therefore output at the body of the object as a loss, be meeting with the instinctual. This double movement is to articulate with the constitution of the subject as barred by the signifier and drop the object as is, as Lacan has developed particularly in the seminar on The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. It follows that the subject is based on the mark made in the body, while the object becomes the medium of enjoyment. There has therefore separation between the body, as the place of the Other or marked by the signifier, and enjoyment specifically supported by the object as part of the body where it reserved polarizes[18].We are witnessing a sort of sliding, moving the enjoyment of the body itself towards a portion thereof, more separated from the body. From that Lacan will later state that any enjoyment is organized around the object instead of the more designated surplus jouissance, this object, which constitutes the core élaborable, and that is "under the condition of no enjoyment[19] »

The report of the enjoyment with the satisfaction of the drive

The report of the enjoyment with the subject led to a second-order statements regarding the articulation of enjoyment with the satisfaction of the drive.

In his seminar on The ethics of psychoanalysis Lacan argues that pleasure is "the satisfaction of an impulse", and not merely the satisfaction of a need[20]. This is the case of the death instinct characterized by repeated. But Lacan statement applies to any drive, not only because any drive according to Freud refers to the death drive by repetitive, but also because every drive is related to Lacan repetition in the request object. In fact the drive, in the sense of the partial drive this time, toured this object without ever reaching. The object is the object that " come " satisfy the enjoyment[21] -if it was possible. Or the satisfaction of the drive is dissatisfaction. So if pleasure is the satisfaction of an impulse, and that satisfaction is dissatisfaction, enjoyment is necessarily unattainable, hence the notion of loss or loss, or the effect of entropy which characterizes. Certain statements in evidence, such as "There is a status that enjoyment is dissatisfaction[22] "Or" […] it is only in this entropy, this loss, takes the enjoyment status, it indicates[23] ».

The same applies to what Lacan means of the "most-of-jouissance" : it "is what meets, not the enjoyment, but the loss of enjoyment[24] ». We can conclude that the most surplus jouissance is only positivation lack of enjoyment or more surplus jouissance to recover[25], and enjoyment is assumed that any sum due to the repetition. Where a third order of statements, on the report of enjoyment with repetition.

The report of the enjoyment with repetition

This is from the introduction by Freud's death instinct in "Beyond the Pleasure Principle" that Lacan support the report of the enjoyment with repetition or the A in the direction of the unary trait. Enjoyment of the body is built originally with registration at the body of a trademark Lacan says that it is "mark for death[26] ». Repetition operates at this level where precise meaning and body meet. Significant repetition leads to the question of knowledge and its relation to the enjoyment.

The report of the enjoyment with the knowledge

The report of the enjoyment with knowledge gives rise to a fourth-order statements. It is not knowledge "natural" or knowledge but knowledge related to the connection of signifiers, that is to say the unconscious knowledge.

This issue is addressed in particular the seminar on The Other Side of Psychoanalysis, where enjoyment is linked with the notion of discourse. L'est main énoncé : "There is a primitive relation of knowledge to use", therefore a primitive relation of the signifier to the enjoyment[27] ». It illuminates the formula, led the development of the report and the enjoyment and knowledge during the previous seminar From Other to the other ; "Knowledge is the jouissance of the Other. "This is the Other as the locus of meaning or" the Other-as long as there is no Other- gives rise to the field as the intervention of the signifier[28] ». Repetition in the know, in the sense of unconscious knowledge, can therefore be defined as the means of enjoyment[29].

We still have two kinds of statements that concern the relationship of enjoyment to the desire on the one hand, the pleasure of the other, is what helps to limit the enjoyment.

The report of the enjoyment with the desire

The opposition between desire and pleasure marks the introduction of the concept of enjoyment 1958. This contrast results in a number of statements which radicals can be outlined in formula : or enjoyment, or desire. So, « […] Desire is a defense, defense also pass a limit in the enjoyment[30] or " […] enjoyment for us [is not] promised to desire. Desire is that going to meet[31]... "In other words, desire gives rise to the enjoyment as inaccessible and lost.

In fact there is ambiguity, duplicity of desire in relation to the enjoyment. Desire is movement towards the enjoyment, and at the same time a defense to the enjoyment[32]. Lacan nva further evoking the masochistic position on the basis of the desire : as he enjoys his perverse desire[33] -which is a strict equivalence between pleasure and desire, desire is to enjoy the torment.

The report of the enjoyment with pleasure

Finally, enjoyment is defined by opposition to the pleasure as her beyond. If pleasure, the pleasure principle described by Freud, is the reduction of the voltage, reducing the voltage to a level below, enjoyment is the maximum excitation voltage to the limit of the unbearable. The pleasure principle is a principle of regulation and enjoyment, whose purpose is to avoid a too high excitation quantum, therefore harmful.

Pleasure is limited and remoteness of enjoyment[34], which allows us to say that the subject back to the enjoyment[35]. The pleasure is defined as much enjoyment from the reverse : it is that we stop at a point away, away very respectful enjoyment[36].


Lacan named in his teaching seven types of enjoyment. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say seven aspects of enjoyment, because he never stopped talking about the "enjoyment". They constitute what is defined as the field of enjoyment.

The enjoyment of the Thing

The first type is the enjoyment of the thing. Enjoyment defined as the ratio Thing is developed in the seminar on The ethics of psychoanalysis, recovery and in part the following year in the seminar on Identification. It appears with a first version of the identifiable jouissance of the Other, with of in the sense of objective genitive, without however it is called in this specific context. The enjoyment of the Other, immediately connoted the impossible, can be discussed under four aspects. First the enjoyment of the thing as the thing is referred to as the absolute Other of the subject[37] or Other as the thing[38]. Added to the fact that the real thing is about extime, externality intimate, or what is the outermost and at the same time the nearest[39]. Then, enjoyment of the thing as the place of the Thing is occupied by the mother as prohibited[40], the Other is embodied. Finally, enjoyment of the thing as the Other, as a place of meaning this time, is recognized as the place of the Thing cleared, elided by the signifier or thing reduced to its place-hence the emphasis on the discrepancy between the Other and the enjoyment to be suspended or even impossible because of the dimension of the Other[41].

Otherwise, Lacan also defines the place of the Thing as a place of evil, aggression toward the next[42], of destruction, So the death instinct. Enjoyment of the thing is transmuted into possession therefore called deadly.

The enjoyment of being

In the same movement appears to be the enjoyment, the second type. En effet, Lacan refers to the scope of the Thing as "where is blamed everything instead of being[43] ». The enjoyment of being is especially recognizable in "Subversion of the subject and the dialectic of desire in the Freudian unconscious[44] », where it is not named as such, but easily deducible from text. It is later named, especially in the seminar on Anguish[45] and the seminar Yet[46]. It is articulated with language, So with the Other as the locus of meaning, and with the phallus. It also refers to cogito Cartesian, therefore thought, but taking into account the subversion of the notion of being introduced by Lacan : being is the being of significance[47], it is a fact of said[48]. The definition proposed by Pierre-Christophe Cathelineau[49] this notion to be of significance to us here valuable : the materiality of signifiers in their mutual relationship, as their physical materiality has the consistency of a being. The formula that best summarize the enjoyment of being is "I think therefore has[50] ».

The enjoyment of the Other

The enjoyment of the Other is a concept that crosses and underpins all development Lacan. This name appears for the first time in "Subversion of the subject and the dialectic of desire in the Freudian unconscious[51] », with of in the sense of subjective genitive, that is to say that it is the Other who would enjoy. Lacan evokes a pervert by about, and the other against which the neurotic defends. It is mentioned a little earlier in the same text[52] as an enjoyment which is the lack Other inconsistent or strikethrough, and whose place is marked on the graph by the symbol S(A/), which also marks the place of the phallus. It is here in connection with the Other as the locus of meaning and immediately characterized by its inability, its prohibition. In this case it is the of in the sense of objective genitive, where the subject would enjoy or the Convert.

In fact, the meaning of the jouissance of the Other changes in Lacan's teaching with different designations Another term in his report to the enjoyment : First Thing ; then the Other as the locus of meaning ;then the body itself as the place of the Other, through the registration of the mark ; own body follows the body of the Other or Other sexual, or sexual partner, where the enjoyment of the Other becomes his character to be outside language ; Finally the enjoyment of the Other name refers to the additional enjoyment of women and the enjoyment of mystical, where own body is back, and must be understood as the enjoyment Other. In the seminar Yet Lacan speaks of "other enjoyment" and "other than phallic jouissance" but also "enjoyment radically Other", about female orgasm[53]. We opted for "enjoyment Other" in order to emphasize his links with the jouissance of the Other and its reference to the body.

Enjoyment of body image

Advanced from the text "The Mirror Stage", enjoyment of the body image is discussed during the seminar Le sinthome[54] as the enjoyment of the mirror image or double. It is mentioned in "The Third[55] » : the body is introduced to the economics of enjoyment body image. Erik Porge[56] is the side of the jouissance of the Other, as jealousy, in the sense of being jealous enjoyment in the Other, "The jalouissance[57] ».

Phallic jouissance

Phallic jouissance refers to the phallic function or castration. The phallic function is put into play in the language in the form of phallic signification. Phallic jouissance has a priori nothing to do with the body of the same name. Lacan designates as enjoyment as semiotic[58] because of its link to language, that makes sense. It is, as such, body called off.

Sexual enjoyment

The term "sexual pleasure" as "the backbone of any enjoyment[59] ». It refers to the enjoyment of being as sexual. His background is the lack of sex. It concerns the being in its relation to the phallus. It is therefore, and structure, in deadlock[60]. She has also unrelated to orgasm[61].

The enjoyment of life

Lacan uses the term enjoyment of life about the enjoyment of the body[62], and in reference to Aristotle that there are individuals that really counts. Lacan concludes Aristotle to suppose the enjoyment, d'où knows conclusion : involves enjoying life[63]. In the seminar R.S.I. it evokes the enjoyment of the Other as jouissance of the body as enjoyment of life, as opposed to the phallic jouissance as jouissance of death[64] because of its link to the signifying repetition. Previously he had already spoken of "enjoyment of life" by opposing the "eternal enjoyment[65] », and "enjoyment of life" as death puts an end to[66].

All these pleasures have in common is organized around the most enjoy-de-, is the central point of the Borromean knot that bears the inscription on the diagram in "Third[67] ».

It should be noted now that this whole range of enjoyment will eventually be closed from the seminar Yet and "The Third" on two types of enjoyment : phallic jouissance and the jouissance of the Other, the first in a substitution function with respect to the second.

This range actually covers the debate between enjoyment and meaning, which Jacques-Alain Miller recounts all the events in "The six paradigms of enjoyment[68] », which marks the whole path Lacan against the notion of enjoyment but also all the issues that remain outstanding.

The notion of enjoyment is thus at the center of three debates : between desire and enjoyment, between signifier and jouissance, between body and enjoyment in their relation to the signifier.

[1] J. Lacan, "The third", in Letters of the Freudian School, # 16, 1975, p. 177-203.

[2] J. Lacan, "The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I", in Writings, Paris, Threshold, 1966, p. 93-100.

[3] J. Lacan, 1953, "Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis", in Writings, op.cit., 1966, p.249-250.

[4] J. Lacan, 1980, "The Seminary of Caracas", in The Donkey, 1, 1981, p. 30-31.

[5] J. Lacan, "Subversion of the subject and the dialectic of desire in the Freudian unconscious", in Writings, on. cit., 1966, p. 821.

[6] J. Lacan, 1957-1958, The formations of the unconscious, Seminar, Book V, Paris, Threshold, 1998, p. 251-252.

[7] J. Lacan, 1966-1967, The logic of fantasy, unpublished seminar, 30 may 1967.

[8] Ibid., 14 June 1967.

[9] J. Lacan, 1969-1970, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis, Seminar, Book XVII, Paris, Threshold, 1991, p. 93.

[10] J. Lacan, 196591966, The object of psychoanalysis, unpublished seminar, 27 April 1966.

[11] J. Lacan, 1966, "Psychoanalysis and medicine", in Letters of the Freudian School, # 1, 1967, p. 42.

[12] J. Lacan, 1972-1973, Yet, Seminar, Book XX, Paris, Threshold, 1975, p. 26.

[13] J. Lacan, "Psychoanalysis and medicine", on. cit. 1967, p. 46.

[14] Particularly in Encore op.cit., 1975, p.114 and 118.

[15] Ibid, p.26.

[16] J. Lacan, 1971-1972, The knowledge of the psychoanalyst, Interviews in Sainte-Anne, novel, 2 December 1971.

[17] J. Lacan, 1966-1967, The logic of fantasy, unpublished seminar, 30 may 1967.

[18] Ibid., 30 may 1967, 7 June 1967, 21 June 1967.

[19] J. Lacan, "The third",on. cit., 1975, p. 189.

[20] J. Lacan, 1959-1960, The ethics of psychoanalysis, Seminar, Book VII, Paris, Threshold, 1986, p. 244-248.

[21] J. Lacan, Yet, on. cit.., 1975, p. 114.

[22] J. Lacan, 1967-1968, The psychoanalytic act, unpublished seminar, 6 December 1967.

[23] J. Lacan, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis, on. CCIT., 1991, p. 56.

[24] J ; Lacan, 1968-1969, From Other to the other, Seminar, Book XVI, Paris, Threshold, 2006, p. 116.

[25] J. Lacan, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis, on. cit., 1991, p. 56.

[26] Ibid., p. 206.

[27] Ibid. p. 18.

[28] Ibid, p.12 and 14.

[29] Ibid., p. 54.

[30] J. Lacan, "Subversion of the subject and the dialectic of desire in the Freudian unconscious", Writings, on. cit.,1966, p. 825.

[31] J. Lacan, 1962-1963, Anguish, Seminar, Book X, Paris, Threshold, 2004, p. 383.

[32]J. Lacan, 1965-1966, The object of psychoanalysis, unpublished seminar, 27 April 1966.

[33] J. Lacan, The formation of the unconscious, on. cit., 1998, p.313.

[34] J. Lacan, "Subversion of the subject and the dialectic of desire in the Freudian unconscious", Writings, on. cit., 1966, p.821 ; The ethics of psychoanalysis, op.cit., 1986, p. 218.

[35] J. Lacan, The ethics of psychoanalysis, on. cit., 1986, p. 228-230.

[36] J. Lacan, "Psychoanalysis and medicine", on. cit., 1967, p. 46.

[37] J. Lacan, The ethics of psychoanalysis, op.cit., 1986, p.65.

[38] Ibid., p. 69

[39] Ibid., p. 167.

[40] Ibid., p.82.

[41] J. Lacan, 1961-1962, Identification, unpublished seminar, 21 March 4 April 1962.

[42] J. Lacan, The ethics of psychoanalysis, on. cit., 1986, p. 219.

[43] Ibid. ; p.243.

[44] J. Lacan, Writings, on. cit., 1966,p. 819-820.

[45] J. Lacan, Anguish, on. cit., 2004, p 210.

[46] J. Lacan, Yet, op.cit., 1975, p. 66.

[47] Ibid, p 67

[48] Ibid, p 107

[49] P.-C. Cathelineau, Lacan, Aristotle reader, Paris, Editions de l'Association Internationale Freudian, 2001, p. 161 and 169.

[50] J. Lacan, "The third", on. cit., 1966, p. 823-826.

[51] J. Lacan, on. cit., 1966, p. 823-826.

[52] Ibid., p. 819-820.

[53] J. Lacan, Yet, on. cit.,1975, p. 53-54,56,69,77.

[54] J. Lacan, 1975-1976, Le sinthome, Paris, Threshold,, 2005, p. 56.

[55] J ; Lacan, "The third", op cit., The seminar, Book XVIII, 1975, p. 191.[error]

[56] It. Hands, 2000, Jacques Lacan, un psychanalyste, Toulouse, érès, coll. "Point Offline", p. 243.

[57] J. Lacan, Yet, on. cit., 1975, p. 91.

[58] J. Lacan, 1973-1974, Non-dupes roam, unpublished seminar, 11 June 1974.

[59] J. Lacan, 1971-1972, Or worse ..., unpublished seminar, 12 January 1972.

[60] J. Lacan, "Television", in Other writings, Paris, Threshold, 2001, p. 532 .

[61] J. Lacan, Anguish, on. cit., 2004, p. 303 ; The object of psychoanalysis, unpublished seminar, 27 April 1966.

[62] J. Lacan, "The third",on. cit. 1975, p.190.

[63] J. Lacan, 1973-1974, Non-dupes roam, unpublished seminar, 11 June 1974.

[64] J. Lacan, 1974-1975, R.S.I., unpublished seminar, 10 December 1974.

[65] J. Lacan, 1966-1967, The logic of fantasy, unpublished seminar, 30 may 1967.

[66] J. Lacan, 1971, In a discourse that would not be semblance. Seminar, Book XVIII, Paris, Threshold, 2006 (The edition is dated October 2006 while it was available in bookstores in November 2007), p. 21.

[67] J. Lacan, "The third", on. cit., 1975, p. 190. Cf infra p. 461, figure 18.

[68] JAM_1999_Les six paradigmes de la jouissance_La cause freudienne_Revue de psychanalyse, 43, p.7-29.

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