The Route of a Signifier
Jacques-Alain Miller

The final line of this text mentioned « Strasbourg, 1975 ». This aroused my curiosity and I asked the author to clarify this text’s origin.  Thus, it appeared it stemmed from a presentation made, without any project of publication, at Professor René Ebtinger’s monthly seminar, before being drafted at the request of  our  late colleague Christian Dumoulin, who published it in  Les feuillets psychiatriques de Liège, a small, quite private journal he ran.

«  I spent the last days in the dust of documents to be stored – Zaloszyc writes to me- and I came across this old laïus. A contingent discovery indeed, and even doubly and trebly so – with my text for the Uforca day at Montpellier, and with the one for the October Study days of the Ecole de la Cause Freudienne, which both deal with a question of a quite current interest  – the relationship between an equivocal and what it touches of the real, as excluded from meaning. Furthermore, there is the funny link between this question and the idea of a lie in Freud, very much in the style of the Black book of psychoanalysis. That is the reason why, following your unexpected request, I answered that I just came across this old paper. But it is you who then took it as suitable, and so there are also your reasons. »

They are simple: this paper seems to have been written today; its style is limpid; it lightly tackles current and deep questions, in good French and using an amusing way. I am more than fed up to have, in the analytical field, to go through «gibberish» as we used to say when I was a student at the rue d’Ulm[1]. I kept silent in front of the wave of hackneyed phrases, if I may say so, but we do have to change.

While us qualified people lock ourselves up in a rigmarole, idiots keep the media busy, run bookstores, talk rubbish, and again about Lacan, without the slightest ounce of shame.

I always kept out of the media, not by contempt (as soon as I was able to read, I didn’t want to become a fireman, or a physician but an everyday journalist and that’s why I am unbeatable in this practice), but because I imagined I had a different job to do, discreto : with my patients, with my course, with Lacan’s Seminars.

However, as easygoing one may be, when you make out that others just want to bury you alive, like in Kill Bill, to persuade the world that you don’t exist, they surround you with an invisible hoop-net, confining you in your room, like Cinderella, in order to celebrate without you a person you loved and admired, and a work to which you have dedicated your life, while these people didn’t stop blackening the man and distorting the work, well, it would be hazardous to shrug one’s shoulders in front of such impudence and nonsense, and stay deep in your books, busy working like a Benedictine. And also, quite simply, around you, those who love you can’t stand it anymore. Among them, Judith, my wife, his daughter.

Therefore, I am changing track. I called on Janus. I like this moment, and I have known many such in my life, when, dazed, dissipated in the air, I gather myself, and jump on a stage where people weren’t expecting me – for I didn’t expect myself to be there. You have repressed me, my good friends. That’s perfect. You will have to experience the return of the repressed. And I will take more than one shape. The blank at the bottom of Zaloszyc’s paper is filled up.

Translated by Franck Rollier

[1] Ecole Normale Supérieure


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