Nancy Gillespie

Nancy Gillespie, “The Lying Truth and Science Fiction of Jacques Lacan”

In two interviews near the end of his life and work Lacan discusses science fiction. In one he states that “the only true, serious science worth keeping up to date with is science fiction.”[1] For Lacan, science fiction can contain, and even highlight, the hole in knowledge that science seeks to fill or veil through its process of “question begging.” This hole is something he is also trying to highlight. As he explains in the other interview, “[n]o one in the world can […] speak about science fiction, saying anything sensible and intelligent about it. Except, perhaps, to capture it with my rings of string that enclose only a hole.”[2] For Lacan highlighting or illuminating the hole in knowledge concerns the paradox of reaching the real—on the one hand impossible, but on the other hand necessary in the process of analysis. In a short text written around the same time, Lacan approaches this paradox with his concept of the “lying truth.”[3] He returns to his earlier invention of ‘the pass’—the testimony of the analyst of his or her own process of analysis in which the approach to the real is discussed. Lacan realizes that this testimony can only be a lying truth because once we give meaning to the real, it is part of the imaginary and the symbolic; it is a lying truth, but perhaps a necessary form of “bullshit.” My presentation will discuss how this concept of the lying truth, and fabulations of science fiction, may create a different discourse or a new use of the signifier that can both bring new insights and highlight the hole in knowledge.

Nancy Gillespie is a Lacanian analyst in private practice. She is a member of the Lacanian Compass, the New Lacanian School and the World Association of Psychoanalysis, and is an Editor for The Lacanian Review: Hurly Burly. She has a PhD in Literature and Psychoanalysis from the University of Sussex in the UK, and did her formation as an analyst in Paris, France. Her most recent publications are entitled “Resonance and the Difference Between Polysemy and the Equivoque,” “Love and Ordinary Psychosis: A Portrait of an Athlete as a Young Man,” and “Posthuman Desire: The One-all-alone in Her, Ex-Machina, and Lars and the Real Girl.” Her ongoing research on poetics and Lacanian analysis is featured in her publication Negotiating the Social Bond of Poetics, a special issue of Open Letter. Current research follows two paths: the missed encounter between feminism and the later work of Lacan, and political economy and jouissance.