Seminar 1 : Wednesday 14 November 1962
I am going to speak to you this year about anxiety. Someone who is not at all distant from me in our circle, nevertheless let me see the other day his surprise at the fact that I chose this subject which did not seem to him to be something that had all that much to offer. I must say that I will have no trouble in proving the contrary to him. In the mass of questions that are proposed to us on this subject, I will have to make very severe choices. That is why I will try from today to throw you into the work. But already this question seemed to me to preserve the trace of some naivety or other which has never been checked because it seemed to indicate a belief that it is by choice that each year I pick on a subject, like that, which appears interesting to me to continue on some sort of idle chatter. No.
As you will see, I think, anxiety is very precisely the meeting point where you will find waiting everything that was involved in my previous discourse and where, together, there await a certain number of terms which may appear not to have been sufficiently connected up for you up to the present. You will see on this terrain of anxiety how, by being more closely knotted together, each one will take its place still better. I am saying still better, because recently it became clear to me, in connection with what was said about phantasy at one of these so-called provincial meetings of our Society, that something concerning this very essential structure called phantasy, had effectively (2) taken its place in your minds. You will see that that of anxiety is not far from it, because it is well and truly the same. I have put on the blackboard for you - even though, after all, a blackboard is not very big - a few little signifiers to guide you or to help your memory: perhaps not all the ones that I would have wanted, but after all it is just as well not to overdo the schemas.
You will see this becoming clearer in a little while. They form two groups, this one and that one - this one which I will complete. On the right, this graph which I apologise for pestering you with for so long, but which it is all the same necessary - because its value as a reference point will I think appear ever more efficacious for you - for me to recall the structure that it ought to evoke to your eyes.
Moreover its choke-pear shape which perhaps has never struck you is not perhaps evoked here by chance; on the other hand, even though last year in connection with the little topological