“There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it” 

This is the clearest account I’ve ever read of Lacan’s concept of objet petit a, as well as superb blog on psychoanalytical theory. I’ve been circling round this concept while trying to make sense of the curiously self-destructive combination of hyperactivity and inaction which has tended to characterise my adult decision making. There’s nothing really new in this post but it brings together my fragmented understanding of the concept in a newly coherent way:

Another way to put all this is to say that objet petit a is the “object” (void with specific determinations added to it) around which your history of desire turns. It is the secret cause at the empty center of your personal narrative. It is that which organizes the plot of your life story without your knowing so. As far as phenomenological consciousness goes, it couldn’t care less about objet a. However, all of our conscious activity is set in motion by this inconspicuous bait, this evasive motivator, that remains tucked away in the background of desire’s story.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.