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By Jacques Lacan

Our first rule is never to seek the origins of language, if only because they are

demonstrated well enough through their effects.

The further back we push their effects, the more these origins emerge. The effects of

language are retroactive, precisely in that it is as language develops that it manifests

what it is qua want-to-be.

Moreover, I will indicatein passing, for today we have to move onthat we can

write it like this, and that we can bring into play here, in its strictest form, something

that right from the origins of a rigorous use of the symbolic appeared in the Greek

tradition, namely at the level of mathematics.

Euclid is the fundamental reference here, and the definition he gives us of proportion

is primary, it had never been given before him, I mean before what remains as having

been written in his nameof course, who knows from where he might have borrowed

this strict definition? The one that gives the only true foundation of geometrical

demonstration can be found, if I remember correctly, in book five.

elements that are here in the figure, he makes it possible for you to miss the fact that,

very formally, the requirement in Euclid is one of symbolic demonstration, of an order

that is grouped into equalities and inequalities, which alone enable proportion to be

assured in a way that is not an approximation but is properly demonstrable, in this

term logos, in the sense of proportion.

It is curious and indicative that we had to wait for the Fibonacci series to see what is

given in the apprehension of this proportion which is called the proportion mean. I

will write it out hereyou will be aware that I made use of it when I discussed From

an Other to the other.

A romanticism still continues to call this the golden number and goes astray in finding

it on the surface of everything that has been possible to paint or draw over the ages, as

if it were not certain that this is only about being able to visualize it. One only has to

open a work of aesthetics that makes a case for this reference in order to realize that,

while it may be possible to superimpose it, it is certainly not because the painter had

drawn the diagonals in advance, but because there is in effect a kind of intuitive

2

harmony, which means that it is always this that sings most sweetly.

Except that there is also something else, which it will not be easy for you to grasp. By

taking catch of these terms and starting to calculate from the bottom up, you will

quickly see that you are dealing first with 1/2, then with 2/3, next with 3/5. You will

thus find the numbers the sequence of which constitutes the Fibonacci series,

1,2,3,5,8,, each being the sum of the two preceding numbers, as I pointed out to you

at the time. This relation of two terms we can write for instance as u (n-1)+un-. The

result of the division u n+1/ un will be equal , if the series is continued long enough,

to the effectively ideal proportion that is called the proportional mean, or again, the

golden number.

If we now take this proportion as an image of what affect is, insofar as there is

repetition of this I am one on the next line, this retroactively results in what causes

itthe affect.

We can momentarily write this affect as equal to a, and we can see that we

rediscover the same a at the level of the effect.

This a, the effect of repeating the 1, is at the level of what is designated here by a bar.

The bar is precisely only this, that there is something to get past in order for the 1 to

affect. In sort, it is his bar that is equal to a. And theres nothing astonishing in the fact

that we can legitimately write the affect below the bar, as that which is the effect that

is here thought, overturned, when the cause is made to emerge. It is in the initial effect

that the cause, as thought cause, emerges.

3

This is what is motivating me to find a more certain articulation of what the effect of

discourse is in this initial tentative use of mathematics. Its at the level of the cause,

insofar as it emerges as thought, the reflection of the effect, that we attain the initial

order of what the want-to-be is. Initially Being only affirms itself with the mark of the

1, and everything that follows is a dreamnotably, the mark of the 1 insofar as it

supposedly encompasses, could supposedly combine, anything at all. It can emobine

nothing at all, unless it is,, precisely, the confrontation, the addition of the thought of

the cause with the initial repetition of the 1.

This repetition already costs and institutes, at the level of the a, the debt of language.

Something has to be paid to the one who introduces its sign. This year I have

designated this something, using a nomenclature that tries to give it its historical

weightstrictly speaking it was not this year, but lets say that for you it was this year

withy the term Mehrlust.

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