Jacques Lacan, Jansenist?

If I imagine a Venn diagram consisting of one circle representing those interested in Jacques Lacan (a modest circle), and another representing those who read this blog (a rather tiny circle), then the overlapping area probably includes one person … if I count myself.  Nonetheless, I’ll post this anyway.

In conversation with a friend I was made aware of an article that contains this intriguing anecdote (if you’re in that overlapping area in the Venn diagram):

Jan Miel was, he says, the first to propose translating a text of Lacan’s into English and as a result had been invited to lunch in his country house in Guirrancourt, not far from Paris.  After the meal during a stroll in the garden Lacan turned to him and said:  ‘You are neither an analyst nor an analysand, so why are you interested in my teaching?’.  Miel found it difficult to answer because, he admits, he really did not know what he found so fascinating in Lacan’s work, so he eventually stammered:  ‘Well, my main interest is in Pascal.’  To which Lacan replied, ‘Ah, I understand’ and led him back to his library where he showed him a quite substantial collection of Jansenist books.  So if reading Lacan leads to Pascal, it appears that reading Pascal may also lead to Lacan.

“Ah, I understand” — loved that, and wondered how many times those same words were uttered in a Lacan seminar!

The article goes on to explore the use Lacan makes of Pascal’s Wager and presents some helpful background material on the Wager.  Be warned though, some math is involved.

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