Jacques-Alain Miller, “Le Neveau de Lacan”


Democracy as empty place means for us: the subject of democracy is a barred subject. Our small algebra enables us to grasp immediately that this leaves out the small (a). That is to say: all that hinges on the particularity of enjoyments. The empty barred subject of democracy finds it difficult to link itself to all that goes on,forms itself, trembles, in all that we designate with this comfortable small letter, the small (a). / We are told: once there is the empty place, everybody, if he respects the laws, can bring in his traditions and his values. /…/ However, what we know is that, effectively, the more democracy is empty, the more it is a desert of enjoyment, and, correlatively, the more enjoyment condenses itself in certain elements. /…/ the more the signifier is ‘disaffected,’ as others put it, the more the signifier is purified, the more it imposes itself in the pure form of law, of egalitarian democracy, of the globalization of the market, /…/ the more passion augments itself, the more hatred intensifies, integrisms multiply, destruction extends itself, massacres without precedents are accomplished, and unheard-of catastrophes occur.

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