Lecture on Lacan – The Life of David Gale

Film:  The Life of David Gale
Year:  2003
Screenplay: Charles Randolph
Role:  David Gale
Actor:  Kevin Spacey
Length: approx. 2 minutes minimum

C’mon, think! I want you to reach back into those minds and tell me, tell us all. What is it that you fantasise about. World peace? Thought so! Do you fantasise about international fame? Do you fantasise about winning a Pulitzer prize? Or a Nobel peace prize? An MTV music award? Do you fantasise about meeting some genius hunk, ostensibly bad but secretly simmering with noble passion and willing to sleep on the wet spot?

I’ll take two!

Kimberly will take two. You get Lacam’s point. Fantasies have to be unrealistic because the moment, the second that you get what you get what you seek, you don’t you can’t want it anymore. In order to continue to exist, desire must have its objects perpetually absent. It’s not the ‘it’ that you want, it’s the fantasy of ‘it’. So, desire supports crazy fantasies.


This is what Pascal means when he says we are only truly happy when daydreaming  about future happiness. Or why we say the hunt is sweeter than the kill or be careful what you wish for, not because you’ll get it… because you’re doomed not to want it once you do. So the lesson of Lacan is: living by your wants will never make you happy. What it means to be fully human is to strive to live by ideas and ideals.. and not to measure your life not by what you’ve attained in terms of your desires but those small moments of integrity, compassion.. rationality, even self sacrifice. Because in the end the only way that we can measure the significance of our own lives is by valuing the lives of others. Alright, I’ll see you all on Monday!