A few moments ago, a box was delivered to my doorstep. I brought it up to my office, opened it, and found a copy of the newly published English translation of Seminar XVI: From an Other (Amazon, Cormac Gallagher translation).
I've been really interested in this seminar because Seminar XVII: The Other Side of Psychoanalysis (Amazon, Cormac Gallagher translation) is one of my favorite seminars. The way Lacan presents his teaching after the events of May 1968 is a style I find appealing. I think part of the reason for this is that I believe what Lacan said to people who fancied themselves "revolutionaries" then is something that people who consider themselves "boundary breakers" today might do well to heed.
One of the messages I've often read (or read into?) this seminar is the danger of over-identifying as a member of a group (i.e., class, profession, ethnic group, political party, etc.)
Right away, in the first session, speaking very directly about the propensity of psychoanalysts to over-identify with a group, Lacan says:
Having been a member of three psychoanalytic societies over the course of the past 30 years, in stints of 15, 10, and 5 years, I personally knowa fair amount abou wha it means to cohabitate with trash. (p. 3 of the Polity edition).
I think there is so much happening in this little bit of text.
It seems to be a dig at the different psychoanalytic societies that produce analysts who are more identified with an imaginary position as an analyst within the society than with the cause of psychoanalysis --the cause of the unconscious.
But I think it is more than just that... I read this, and I find what looks like an implication. Lacan implies that when analysis is brought to its time to conclude, the analyst is a waste object. An object that is not exceptional that is not necessary at all.