Perhaps one of the biggest problems I have when thinking about Lacanian semiotics has to do with the way metaphor and metonymy are supposedly on different axes. It is as if they have an independent and autonomous logic. However, it seems to me that we give not enough attention to the possibility that metaphor and metonymy are linked in a way not unlike the pleasure and reality principles.
Metonymy is a negation of metaphor, which is to say that metonymy is a negation of negation. Why hasn’t anybody made this claim yet? Or perhaps they have and I simply missed it. In any case, this claims seems to hold up because metaphor is already an introduction of a negation through the prohibitive “no” of the father. Thus, the installation of the name of the father, of the signifier, is a negation of negation which results in the name. This name inaugurates the system of signifiers.
Signifiers are strange beings, no? They are beings which are not beings at all. And yet they are never without being. Signifiers are never without being – this is an axiom I want to hold onto because it makes more sense than to claim that the subject is split from being. The subject is much rather never without being. Because of this, signifiers are, in a strange way, beings which negated themselves.
Who would have thought that the masochism of being is what gives us the beautiful poetry we so often read for comfort. Signifiers are suffering beings par excellence. They are beings who have found in language a unique solution to suffering – a solution that we call a symptom. And this symptom is what we refer to as a semblant, a semblant is the image of there being nothing at all to say. It is a sound, like the thundering roar of a God which, as we all know, does not exist except as the pure signifierness of Allah, the naming function.
A nom-de-pere is a desire to be rid of the symptom of there being a semblant.