There is only one resistance, the resistance of the analyst. The analyst resists when he doesn’t understand what he is dealing with. He doesn’t understand what he is dealing with when he thinks that interpreting is showing the subject that what he desires is this particular sexual object. He’s mistaken. What he here takes to be the objective is just a pure and simple abstraction. he’s the one who’s in a state of inertia and of resistance.
In contrast, what’s important is to teach the subject to name, to articulate, to bring this desire into existence, this desire which, quite literally, is on this side of existence, which is why it insists. If desire doesn’t dare to speak its name, it’s because the subject hasn’t yet caused this name to come forth.
That the subject should come to recognise and to name his desire, that is the efficacious action of analysis. But it isn’t a question of recognising something which would be entirely given, ready to be coapted. In naming it, the subject creates, brings forth, a new presence in the world. He introduces presence as such, and by the same token, hollows out absence as such. It is only at this level that one can conceive of the action of interpretation. (228-9)
Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book II: Ego in Freud's Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis, 1954-1955. Trans. Sylvana Tomaselli. Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1991.
In the text of Lacan's Seminar XI (The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis) its translator, Alan Sheridan, provides some useful context for understanding the concept:
The human individual sets out with a particular organism, with certain biological needs, which are satisfied by certain objects. What effect does the acquisition of language have on these needs? All speech is demand; it presupposes the Other to whom it is addressed, whose very signifiers it takes over in its formulation. By the same token, that which comes from the Other is treated not so much as a particular satisfaction of a need, but rather as a response to an appeal, a gift, a token of love. There is no adequation between the need and the demand that conveys it; indeed, it is the gap between them that constitutes desire, at once particular like the first and absolute like the second. Desire (fundamentally in the singular) is a perpetual effect of symbolic articulation. It is not an appetite: it is essentially excentric and insatiable. That is why Lacan co-ordinates it not with the object that would seem to satisfy it, but with the object that causes it (one is reminded of fetishism). (278-9)
Tags: Jacques Lacan