Badiou often quotes his father: “if you want a victory, you can have it at the end.” Here, the father convinces the son to accept a temporary peace treaty and to live the cold war. Why? So that after the death of the father the son may finally have something like an authentic sexual relationship.
The temptation is to retreat from this position of deferred enjoyment and to live the wonderful life of the person who transgresses, etc. The super-ego wants you to believe either that there really is an authentic sexual relationship at the end or that, because there isn’t, one should transgress the father’s imperative.
Badiou does something much more radical. He accepts the split of the injunction and constructs out of it a revolutionary theory of perseverance or fidelity. He even went on to once describe the father’s commandment to wait for the victory as an axiom. But it is more than an axiom – is is the structure of neurosis. To have the victory at the end is to relinquish a certain modicum of enjoyment.
Badiou gives up on the expectation of the sexual relationship and accepts the loss of enjoyment, the gap at the heart of his familial relationship. Yet, the victory nonetheless already exists for him in the very affirmation of the possibility that for him one must be willing – although it is not always required – to suffer for a new structural arrangement.
That suffering is what psychoanalysts refer to as ‘working-through.’ It is the long process of a change, against the temptation to give in to the situation as it currently exists, and the willingness to endure through the loss despite the absence of a sexual relationship.