Lost Objects

I'm reading Bruce Fink's The Lacanian Subject: Between Language & Jouissance, and in chapter 7: Object (a): Casuse of Desire, I found this amazing paragraph.

Freud does not claim here that the object is, of its very nature, lost in any absolute sense. An object is encountered at the outset, not actively sought out by the child, because the child is not able to seek out an object until after such an encounter. Afterwards, the memory of the experience of satisfaction is recalled to mind (reactivated, so to speak, or recathected), and satisfaction may be either hallucinated (primary process) or sought out in the "external" world (secondary process). Thus there is no initial Objektfindung but only a _Wiederzufindung_, no deliberate finding of an object, only a refinding of an object in the "outside" world that corresponds to one's memory of an experience of satisfaction once happened upon (τμχη). Animals, by contrast, are led to find what instinct (as a sort of imprinted, pre-inscribed, encrypted knowledge) instructs them to look for." Humans, lacking such innate knowledge of what will provide satisfaction, must first encounter it through the good graces of fortune, and only then can initiate action to repeat the satisfying experience. (pp. 93-94)

There is so much good stuff in this paragraph. We have:

  • A very interesting reference to primary & secondary processes.
  • A great illustration of the difference between instinct as knowledge that speaking beings ($) lack.

We see how the primary process is linked to dreaming or hallucinating. It is an unstructured "thought". The secondary process is where the signifier comes in, where things and experiences become represented by signifiers that stand in for what has been experienced or encountered.

We can see how the primary process is more linked to jouissance, and the secondary process is connected with the signifier and language.

Subscribe to [S][J][P]

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.