Christian Fierens – Reading L’etourdit – First Turn – Chapter 4 – The Phallic Function And The Formulae Of Sexuation

THE LETTER 53 Summer 2013, pages 1-39.

Let us take phallic functioning up again starting from the Oedipus complex summarised in the first two formulae of the phallic function. What oblig-es us to go beyond the Freudian Oedipus complex formulated in that way?

Free association and the equally floating listening open up the path of ab-sense and of an saying freed from the search for a relationship between meanings. The experience of analysis demonstrates the ab-sense of sexual relationship: there is no relationship between the existences (‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’: nia and nya) and there is no relationship between the two universals (mascu-line and feminine). The masculine Oedipus complex cannot define ‘feminin-ity’.

Psychoanalytic discourse gives the means to go beyond the Oedipus complex: it produces the phallic signifier which will mean something quite differ-ent than the phallus. The phallus is reputed to be the sexual copula between the man and a woman; further, its meaning is supposed to condense every meaning among speaking beings. In opposition and as a contrast to this con-ception proper to the phallus, the phallic signifierwill not be a sexual copula, nor will it be the condensation of every meaning. But what will the phallic signifiermean positively? Starting from the ab-sense of the sexual relation-ship, the phallic function opens up a sexual bond between speakers which is based neither on an anatomical relationship, nor on a chromosomatic relationship, nor on a cultural relationship: the phallic function supplies for the ab-sense of the sexual relationship by its own functioning, which is unfolded in the four phallic formulae.

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