Quote of the Day: Jacques-Alain Miller, The partner-symptom


(About the X-Symptom)

“I propose to make a contrast between the symptom as truth and the symptom as jouissance. The symptom as truth is the formation of the unconscious. It is the symptom in as much as it is interpreted, being of the symbolic order, in that it indeed disturbs, and that it is opposed to the functioning of knowledge in the real. Whereas the symptom as jouissance, in the sense of Inhibition, symptom and anxiety, is a means of the drive, that translates the insatiable demand of the satisfaction of the drive, which Lacan called the will to jouissance. And far from opposing the real, the field of the real, it imposes itself, on the contrary, as a real […] by its repetition, by everything that distinguishes it from the formations of the unconscious, in particular its temporality of repetition, the et cetera that it contains, and thus in the formula ‘X dash symptom’, it clearly concerns the symptom as jouissance. And indeed its vocation is to substitute itself – as an attempt, a try – to the equivalence with the signifier to which Lacan subjected numerous terms of theory in order to start his teaching. The phallic-signifier, the object-signifier, the Other-signifier; and here, with this formula, if a good many others than I have attempted to try it, it is because it fixes the term X as a means, a mode of jouissance.”

Jacques-Alain Miller, « Le Partenaire-symptôme » (1997-1998), L’Orientation lacanienne ii, teaching pronounced within the Department of Psychoanalysis Paris 8, lesson No.1 of 19 November 1997, unpublished.

Proposed by Jean-Claude Encalado

Translated by Joanne Conway