Speech and Love

Love is what makes up for the lack.

This, at least, is one modality of love outlined by Jacques Lacan.

In this mode, love is feigned strength, it exists when one turns ones back on truth. Love is therefore something about which the psychoanalyst must be forever suspicious.

We could claim that this mode of love exists in at least two versions: (1) within the rambling of the speaker within speech – we understand this as the lovers endless attempt to reinvent the relationship, to add another signifier, another adventure, another memory for the photoblog, etc; or (2) within the rambling of the non-saying – the lover has stitched her mouth shut and refuses to say anything, and, in so doing, says only one thing over and over again: nothing.

Psychoanalysis has it as a basic foundational rule that the patient must say anything that pops into her head without censoring any of it. She must speak, and must speak without there being any guarantees. In other words, the speaker must speak, and she must speak endlessly and without any regard for sense-making. This is the foundation for the love-transference.

When the lover remains silent she thinks that she is breaking this rule.

She refuses the demand to speak, and, in doing so, speaks with even more veracity. The first lover gives always another signifier to her lover. The second lover gives the same signifier endlessly to her lover with the hope that the Other will provide her with the words which she believes herself to be lacking.

These are the words of love. When the words stop, there is no love. And so it must be found.

To speak nothing is not the same as to consume nothing – we can not presume too easily that this is the same activity as the anorexic who ‘eats the nothing’. She who speaks nothing within the clinic often does so because she wants more than ever the loved one to prove his love for her – she wants somebody else to speak for her, somebody else to be.

It is only natural that the truth of the lover’s desire is missed when the analyst or loved one accepts the patient’s demand.

It is by responding to the demand to love that the loved one only further pushes the lover, the patient, away from truth, away from knowing her desire.

It is when the analyst refuses the demand to love that the lover is confronted with the reality of her demand. This is when she is tested. And when she is tested, when her spoken silence does not receive the love she had wished, that she realizes the truth of her desire.

What is the truth of the lover’s desire?

The demands of love are tested often from the speaking of silence. The test of love is the moment of subjective destitution, the moment of subjective transformation – it is the moment when the analyst refuses to respond to the silence, refuses to respond to the demand for words to fill in the lack.

If the analyst refuses then the analysand’s psychical knot might come undone and it might possibly be retied again. But that is the moment of a small pass, it is a small decision, a small bit of freedom that only the patient can take.

The analyst’s responsibility is only to offer it. He can do no more.

But the knot can only be retied through speech.

If one analyst does not speak, the analyst will be satisfied if only the next patient does.


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