Helen Sheehan – The Jouissance of the Mystic

THE LETTER 01 (Summer 1994) pages 111-116

If, as Lacan says in his Seminar of 1972, Encore, to understand any discourse whatsoever we have to begin with the enunciation that there is no sexual rapport and that from this all other discourses will follow, then this enunciation has profound implications for the jouissance of the mystic. In fact the mystic completely subverts the notion of a discourse because the mystic introduces us into a new kind of knowledge of the Truth about the Reality of Being and so, in a certain way there is no more to be said -but me -myself -not being a mystic I will continue to speak!

The mystic is on the side of being-and he knows that where there is Being there is a desire for Infinity. The mystic knows that in Truth there is a price to be paid for Being. St. Teresa of Avila knew this. She knew that she had to be saved and that it was only God who could do this “I do not think that you left anything undone to make me Yours, entirely even from my youth”.

The mystic knows that there is no sexual rapport because he knows that the jouissance in so far as it is sexual is phallic, -is in fact the jouissance of the idiot, as Lacan calls it, from the Greek Idios -meaning inward looking or narcissistic in more Freudian terms, whereas the mystic, is implicated in another form of jouissance which seeks Infinity. Teresa is very clear on this “I do not love the world or the things of the world and nothing seems to give me pleasure unless it comes from You; everything else is to me like a heavy cross”. Phallic jouissance on the other hand is…


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