In the Report on Seminar XIX, entitled, precisely, …or worse, Lacan considers not s’oupirer (to suspire for worse) a matter of honor, not personal, but of psychoanalysis as such : I am not of those who s’…oupirent. For him, s’oupirent those who get dragged into the One, whereas he reiterates that saying “y adl’Un” is something different. The drift of the whole, of the absolute, is the turn that can take today the scientific discourse. For example, with regard to the Name-of-the-Father and filiation. Lacan, therefore, in 1972, refuses to s’…oupirer, he wants to keep the alternative to the worst, or rather, the alternatives (there may be many) as suggested by the three antecedent suspension dots. But, beware: to discard the worst is not to sigh at/suspire for the father, to be able to do without it reluctantly. I evoke here Lacan’s own wordplay in this Report, between ou pire and s’oupire, which makes assonance with to suspire. The honor is not nostalgic, in this sense it does not s’oupire, so much so that it is not an alternative ou pire to père, but to the saying. The three dots refer to what does not concern a word but a literal substitution: if we substitute the p of pire (worse, in French) we obtain dire (saying), identical in French and in Italian. We see the valorization of the letter as a radical decomposition of the utterance, as well as of signification.
Saying is the enunciative dimension, empty place of enunciation, a dimension that honors psychoanalysis, and puts the brakes on the contemporary push to flatten the saying on the said, or, worse, to flatten the empty place, which Lacan considers, instead, inalienable for the analytic discourse and for the subject, flattening, Unifying it in the real.
If, therefore, in 1972, nothing hindered the Name-of-the-Father, in the plural, and in the midst of other possible answers, from preventing a drift, a straight-line slide, anti borromean, towards the One in its worst version, a year later, in Television, Lacan says it differently: “Between that which perdures through pure dross and the hand that draws only from Dad to worse” .
Everything changes, the worst becomes a conveyed propagated and no longer averted bet by the father. Before Lacan held firm the importance, indispensable for psychoanalysis, of the empty place, which, indeed, honors it and, with it, honors the subject of the unconscious. The signifier “honor”/ the “honor” signifier has a fairly immediate reference to the father, and Lacan makes a double-edged use of it, as always, of course: there is honor and, simultaneously, its valence as semblant. Let us not forget it.
The new filiations abolish the version of a father, as a constituent part of the symptom, subordinating it, as Hélène Bonnaud makes clear in her presentation for the Pipol 10 Blog , to the primarity of the father-sperm, a sort of a new Name-of-the-Father. The version, per-version of paternal jouissance that has shaped the becoming of the child’s Oedipal historicization, comes later, it is not essential. What happened?
I propose the hypothesis that the One of science has provided the possibility of doing without a father tout court by making use of his letter, of the decomposition of Name to letter. A letter, yes, but a letter of genetics, a letter of DNA. Can we do without by using the letter of biology.
Filiation is charged with another value, once reduced to the essential false: it no longer takes a desire to have a child, but a will. It is enough to want it. Having abolished the empty place of desire for the absolutization of the will, it is enough to ask for what is already available, in the sperm bank. But “the pure loss” of Television “persists”, it is not abolishable, it situates in a worse which it bears the bet of a father who resists his own beyond, the limitlessness of the persistence of loss. The father, by resisting to open up to his own beyond, opts only, says Lacan, for a bet on the worst. He makes the worst undergo a torsion, the worst is no longer an alternative to saying, but is introduced by a Name of the father that is increasingly reduced until it is reduced contracted to a germinal cell. What has never ceased to be written down, the real at stake in the non-relationship between the sexes, is now written down by biology as the tested real of paternity, the DNA that certifies it.
Two years later Seminar XIX is a Name-of-the-father that bets “only” on the worst. Why? I believe that Lacan with this concluding phrase of Television underlines the persistence, however, of loss, an another way of the empty place, which the One of science would like to abolish.
Multiple versions of the new families, of the new fathers, of the new mothers, swarm, gush and in their own way, which is not one of the worst, restore honor to psychoanalysis which, of the worst of science, succeeds in doing the best worst that can be done.
A combined marriage, that of science and psychoanalysis today, but we must invent a way to keep up with it anyway. To do with what in modern discourse proposes the tyranny of the One and of modern solitudes as an eroticization of doing without, using the partitive of “y adl’Un”. The One of biology is thus decompleted by reintroducing the singularity of the versions, of the multiple inventions of family histories, in which the desire can reappear, après coup, retroactively, after having wanted it. A new form of desire for a child, objective/subjective genitive, new because it is reconstructed from the real and no longer from the symbolic.
Thus, I seem to understand the worst as a form of will of jouissance in the place, thus filled, of desiring a child. Here we have the chance that the persistence of loss will encourage subjects to deal with the worst of pure genetic transmission.
Translation: Rachele Giuntoli
Proof: Giuseppe Covelli
Photography: ©Pascale Simonet – https://www.pascale-simonet.be/
 Lacan J., “Report on Seminar XIX”, …or worse (1971-1972), ed. J.-A. Miller, transl. A.R. Price, Cambridge, Polity, 2018.
 “De ce qui perdure de perte pure à ce qui ne parie du père au pire” in Lacan J., Television (1976), transl. by D. Hollioer, R. Krause & A/ Michelson, 1990, Norton, New York, 1990.
 H. Bonnaud, Name-of-the-Father? in Blog Pipol 10, available here.