“L’amur is what appears in the form of bizarre signs on the body” {Lacan

“Love, of course, makes signs and is always mutual.
I put forward that idea a long time ago, very gently, by saying that feelings are always mutual. I did so in order to be asked, ‘Then what, then what, of love, of love—is it always mutual? But of course, but of course!’ That is why the unconscious was invented—so that we would realize that man’s desire is the Other’s desire, and that love, while it is a passion that involves ignorance of desire, nevertheless leaves desire its whole import. When we look a bit more closely, we see the ravages wreaked by this.

Jouissancejouissance of the Other’s body—remains a question, because the answer it may constitute is not necessary. We can take this further still: it is not a sufficient answer either, because love demands love. It never ceases demanding it. It demands it. . . encore. Encore is the proper name of the gap in the Other from which the demand for love stems.
Where then does what is able, in a way that is neither necessary nor sufficient, to answer with jouissance of the Other’s body stem from?

It’s not love. It is what last year, inspired in a sense by the chapel at Sainte-Anne Hospital that got on my nerves, I let myself go so far as to call l’amur.

L’amur is what appears in the form of bizarre signs on the body. They are the sexual characteristics that come from beyond, from that place we believed we could eye under the microscope in the form of the germ cell—regarding which I would point out that we can’t say that it’s life since it also bears death, the death of the body, by repeating it. That is where the encorps comes from. It is thus false to say that there is a separation of the soma from the germ because, since it harbors this germ, the body bears its traces. There are traces on l’amur.

But they are only traces. The body’s being is of course sexed, but it is secondary, as they say. And as experience shows, the body’s jouissance, insofar as that body symbolizes the Other, does not depend on those traces.

That can be gathered from the simplest consideration of things. Then what is involved in love? Is love—as psychoanalysis claims with an audacity that is all the more incredible as all of its experience runs counter to that very notion, and as it demonstrates the contrary—is love about making One? Is Eros a tension toward the One?

People have been talking about nothing but the One for a long time. There’s such a thing as One. I based my discourse last year on that statement, certainly not in order to contribute to this earliest of confusions, for desire merely leads us to aim at the gap where it can be demonstrated that the One is based only on the essence of the signifier. I investigated Frege at the beginning, of last year’s seminar, in the attempt to demonstrate the gap there is between this One and something that is related to being and, behind being, to jouissance. I can tell you a little tale, that of a parakeet that was in love with Picasso. How could one tell? From the way the parakeet nibbled the collar of his shirt and the flaps of his jacket. Indeed, the parakeet was in love with what is essential to man, namely, his attire. The parakeet was like Descartes, to whom men were merely clothes . . . walking around. Clothes promise debauchery when one takes them off. But this is only a myth, a myth that converges with the bed I mentioned earlier. To enjoy a body when there are no more clothes leaves intact the question of what makes the One, that is, the question of identification. The parakeet identified with Picasso clothed.

The same goes for everything involving love. The habit loves the monk, as they are but one thereby. In other words, what lies under the habit, what we call the body, is perhaps but the remainder I call objet a.

What holds the image together is a remainder. Analysis demonstrates that love, in its essence, is narcissistic, and reveals that the substance of what is supposedly object-like—what a bunch of bull—is in fact that which constitutes a remainder in desire, namely, its cause, and sustains desire through its non-satisfaction, and even its impossibility. Love is impotent, though mutual, because it is not aware that it is but the desire to be One, which leads us to the impossibility of establishing the relationship between ‘them-two.’ The relationship between them-two what?—them-two sexes.”

Jacques Lacan {Encore – November 21 , 1972.

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