Prelude 13, Manel Rebollo

What does speech desire?

What does desire signify? What does this word want to mean?

Put like this, with these words the question itself implies a desire of saying, a “wish to say” which assures that it is there, in the interstices of language where desire lives.

Even the name that Freud assigns it in German, Wunsch, does not arrest it in a signification; with Begehren, he finds another term, which, for all that does not exhaust its meaning. So here we have the secret of its indestructibility. One has to locate something to destroy it; and desire’s delocalization is obvious, taking up its residence, its Dasein, its presence, in the space between two signifiers. There is no place for desire in consciousness, only in the failure [insuccès] of the attempt through which it reveals itself as a not-knowing that knows [insu qui sait][1].

Lacan tried to locate it in various ways:

Through writing: at the level of the fantasy, between the line of enunciation and that of the statement, in his graph of desire; and again, between the “all” on the masculine side and the “not all” on the feminine side in the formulas of sexuation.

Through nomination: in a route, which passes rea-son-ably [rai-son-ablement] through das Ding, design, disbeing [desêtre]; he then tracks through new terms such as object a, surplus jouissance [plus-de-jouir], and the metonymic one, etc., through which he strolls about like a lizard in the hedgerows of the saying, losing his tail in each substantial modality of jouissance.

The product of language and the cause of discourse, every parlêtre tries to make do with it in his symptom. Thus, articulated in speech – but not articulable – in its playful wanderings among what is said it allows itself to be loved by subjects.

How then to catch it? Solely by the detour of interpretation, this saying of the analyst without meaning [sin-sontido][2] that will allow the desire of the subject to “reasonate” [“raisoner”] within a fleeting moment of knowledge in the locus of truth. So that this knowledge stops being the truth. There we have its destiny.

Translated by Esther Faye


[1] The punning of “insu qui sait” in French cannot be reproduced successfully in English.

[2] The neologism “sin-sontido” plays with the equivocation in Spanish between sense – “sentido” – and sound – “sontido”.