The Pass & The Act

Commentators often prematurely punctuate the first sentence of the foundational act, forgetting about the second part: “I found – as alone as I have always been in my relation to the psychoanalytic cause – L’Ecole Française de Psychanalyse, of which, for the four coming years in which nothing in the present forbids me to answer for, I will personally assure the direction.” Here we can see the birth of an authentic and novel psychoanalytic act, or what Alain Badiou defined as “militant conviction” (akin, in some sense, to the founding act of Saint Paul). It was the moment of “fidelity” to a cause which would have been the solitary delusion of Lacan had the act not been carried through with fervent tenacity; in other words, the act was in fidelity with the psychoanalytic cause, which is, in the final analysis, I would say, the cause of the real. Lacan’s cause was grounded within the delusion of his subjectivity, it was an act for which he would continue to live out the consequences so as to bring forth the celebrity name of Lacan onto the public scene. It was not unlike that delusion remarked upon by Miller, regarding the founding act of Islam:

“Ask yourself if what orders our world is not for a large part a delusion. […] The Freudian field is a delusion, it doesn’t have a clear-cut existence. It’s a thing for a few thousand people in the world who speak of the Freudian field […] When you read about Mohammed – God forbid that I say anything against Mohammed – he went away alone, he had some divine message, he wrote it down, and this discourse ordered one million people in the world. It was a divine delusion” (Miller).

We should not be relieved of the burden of thinking through the consequences of this argument that the founding act is also a delusion, however divine. The pass reveals today that it is altogether more easy to achieve it, though altogether less common. We are obligated to ask ourselves the question concerning the ease with which the pass might today be accomplished – if, in fact, we could think of it as an accomplishment – and the subsequent infrequency of militant conviction among emerging generations. There is no pass without militant conviction, and, thus, there are few passes among these generations, though, certainly, there are acts. Plenty of them.


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