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« Invention of the concept of « Real » by Lacan »

The « Real » of Lacan:

Lacan invents the final version of the concept of Real (which will become the Real of Lacan) in its seminar “the identification” where he speaks unceasingly about the reversal and the inversion and especially about a sentence extracted from Kant where the matter is : “Ein leerer Gegenstand ohne Begriff (the emptiest conceptual object with absolutely no possibility to seize it with the hand).

He put into practice that about which he is speaking, perhaps even without realizing it (why not!), he transforms the German adjective “leer” and he turns it over (as he did with the saussurian algorithm s/S of which he made S/s). He reverse it to make Réel (in French). The Real, concept that he will use definitively and all the time.

Leer: who means in German: vacuum, unoccupied, vacant (sometime : meaningless)

Leerer: who is a superlative and means: “the most vacuum

I am not sure that he realized what he was doing, even if always, Lacan applied to its speech what he was speaking about or what he was working on.


Leer  ->  Inversion or reversal  ->  Réel


Translation of the German words employed by Kant:

Der Begriff: The concept, idea, notion.

Begrifflich: adj. abstracted.


Der Gegenstand: The object (. : object, subject, matter).

Gegenstandlos: without object, superfluity.

Gegenständlich: adj. concrete, clearly, objective.


Die Leerheit: the vacuum, inanity.

Die Leerung: draining, evacuation, emptying, lifting (postal)

Leer: (adj.): vacuum, unoccupied, vacant (fig.: meaningless)

Leeren: (verb):  to empty, evacuate something.


The Real of Lacan is in total opposition and contradiction with the real of science.

1- The Real of Lacan – Field of the Trinity where the things can be at the same time, present and not present !

It is a symbolic system place where never a human has, did not have, nor will not have access. It is an empty place and bottomless where, under the sign of eternity, are represented in hollow the Unit and the Infinite, as with some invisible ink on a support of absence.

It is the place where the name of God is written.

It is a hole always already empty from immemorial time and from which the effectiveness of the discourse effects can rise for those who accepted to go through the Symbolic Death System (or Symbolic castration).

It is the place where are filed with abundance all the tools necessary to the exercise of art. It is the residence of the three big letters : “AOL”.

Art, Other and Love.

One can find there in an infinite number, all the letters necessary to the writing of a novel… The more you use them, the more there number grows !

It is the place where the Infinite can be seized from its negation, like an Infinite that is not.

But the fact of quoting it even in its negation realises it, just like when one says « the centaur ». Everybody knows that it has two arms and four legs and yet that does not exist!


2 – The real of science – Field of the binary one where the things are present or not present !

Is the same hole than the real of Lacan, but only seized on the imaginary mode in a madly pathological attempt to fill it, without holding account that this way to consider the hole leads to definitive addiction. The More you fill it, the more it grows bigger. The invention of a vaccine creates several new diseases.

The infinite is the place that science seeks to fill.

That is called the madness!


Index of the  lacanian formulas in the Seminar: “L’identification” (1961-1962)

The pagination below, returns to the specimen (in French) of “the Identification” extracts from “Pas Tout Lacan    >>> (to be downloaded on the web site of « L’école lacanienne de Psychanalyse » in the file: « Pas Tout Lacan”).


About the sentence of Kant: “Ein leerer Gegenstand ohne Begriff :

Pages: 150-156-157-211

About Reversal :

Pages: 107-128-147-187-194-216-229-270-299-307-311


About Inversion :

Pages: 57-80-97-107-11-114-188-204-216-228-231-237



About Reality :

Pages: 24-26-31-36-37-52-57-64-65-67-68-70-72-83-89