From the Transferential Unconscious to the Real Unconscious, by Epaminondas Theodoridis


The transference takes its departure from the subject supposed to know, as Jacques-Alain Miller highlights: “It’s the name of the unconscious qua transferential. It is not firstly the unconscious and then the transference. The very position of the unconscious, its operatory position, is due to the transference as transference of knowledge”1 The subject supposed to know is the symbolic dimension of the transference. The analysand transfers knowledge to the analyst, he supposes that the Other knows and will be able to answer him by an S2 which would give meaning to his enigmatic S1. It is the work of deciphering formations of the unconscious which takes place in the cure. But this deciphering, this quest for meaning could go on ad infinitum.

In his Introduction to the German Edition of Écrits Lacan proposes another perspective, “that there’s only communication in an analysis by a path that transcends meaning, […] the one which proceeds from the supposition of a subject to unconscious knowledge, and to ciphering. Which I have articulated: of subject supposed to know”.2 It is no longer unconscious knowledge which is supposed but that to this unconscious knowledge the analysand supposes a subject. He does not know what he’s saying because in his saying, something is ciphered. The work of ciphering of the unconscious, “the unconscious ininterprets” proposed by J.-A. Miller, thus supposes a subject. This subject is not purely an effect of the signifier since “in the ciphering is jouissance”3

And Lacan continues: “This is why the transference is from love, a sentiment which there takes such a new form that it introduces a subversion, not that it is less illusory, but that it gives itself a partner which has a chance of responding, which is not the case in other forms.”4 Lacan is saying transference love is a love which is addressed to knowledge. What kind of love is this? It is not the love of the Other that knows and might respond via an S2. This is not the love addressed to S2, with the connection S1-S2. It is a new form of love whereof the partner, the analyst, is no longer the Other which responds but the one who has the chance to respond. The analyst by his presence, by his body, incarnates that which is beyond articulated knowledge. By his contingent response he does not feed the love of deciphering, but transcends meaning and targets jouissance, the mark of S1 all alone disconnected from S2. Thus, he can open up the analysand’s path towards the real unconscious, towards “what one knows, oneself, all alone”5.

Translated by Raphael Montague

1Miller J.-A., Notre sujet supposé savoir, Lettre Mensuelle, No. 254, January 2007, p. 5. Unpublished in EN.

Lacan J., (1973). Introduction à l’édition allemande d’un premier volume des Écrits, Autres écrits, Paris, Seuil, 2001, p. 557. Unpublished in EN.

Ibid. p. 556.

Ibid. p. 557-558.

Miller J.-A., L’inconscient réel, Quarto, No 88-89, December 2006, p. 8. Unpublished in EN.