Urgency and Satisfaction

Urgency and Satisfaction
Esthela Solano-Suarez

A psychoanalysis is an experience that is accomplished in the course of a rather extended temporal period. Many testimonies attest to this. It takes time. It is also in this respect that one can make an objection, at a time that is characterised by the urgency that governs the search for satisfaction.

All throughout his teaching, Lacan did not stop questioning the temporal dimension that is in play in analysis. One knows well the price he had to pay for substituting the canonical time of the chronological session with the logical time founded by reason on the basis of a signifying logic. The scansion of the session, the cut of the signifying chain as well as the analytic act respond to the aim of operating from the symbolic on the jouissance of the symptom. The dimension of logical haste is put in the foreground, as an eminent function in the production of a precipitation of the effects of truth.

We owe it to Jacques-Alain Miller[1] to have identified the crucial importance of the value of the term urgency that we find in the last text written by Lacan.[2] In this text, urgency is paired with the term satisfaction.

Satisfaction is that which “marks the end of an analysis”[3] – satisfaction not of the order of truth, that proves to be false, but satisfaction that concerns the register of jouissance. “[…] giving this satisfaction is the urgency over which analysis presides,[4] Lacan writes, indicating that analysis is only accomplished by thwarting the routine of the signified and the intention of meaning – in short the dream of eternity – in order to touch “the echo in the body of a fact of saying”.[5]

It remains to know “how someone can devote himself to satisfying these urgent cases”[6] not out of love for the neighbor, because the one who is in “the request with an urgency” is not a neighbor, nor does the analyst offer himself as a good Samaritan, but as one whose offer precedes the urgency, an urgency that he must weigh, because he is not sure of satisfying it in every case.     

The ethic of the formation of analysts is thus measured by the yardstick of the satisfaction of an urgency. The pass is the device that permits the analysand to testify to the satisfaction that marks the end of analysis, presided over by urgency. The School appoints as Analyst of the School “ill-assorted oddments”[7] who testify “at best one can to the lying truth”[8], whose term ended in a satisfaction, supposing that they are able to satisfy urgent cases.

Translated by Joanne Conway


1 Cf, Miller J.-A., “The Real Unconscious”, and “The Speaking Being and the Pass,” tr. R. Grigg, The Lacanian Review 6, NLS, Paris, 2018.

2 Cf, Lacan J., “Preface to the English Edition of Seminar XI,” tr. R. Grigg, ibid.

3 Ibid., p. 25.

4 Ibid.

5 Lacan, J., The Sinthome, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book XXIII, tr. A.R. Price, Polity, Cambridge, 2016, p. 9.

6 Lacan J., “Preface to the English Edition of Seminar XI,” The Lacanian Review 6, op. cit.

7 Ibid.

8 Ibid.