From Psychology: The Briefer Course, ch. 17
“Will you or won’t you have it so?” is the most probing question we are ever asked; we are asked it every hour of the day, and about the largest as well as the smallest, the most theoretical as well as the most practical, things. We answer by consents or non-consents and not by words. What wonder that these dumb responses should seem our deepest organs of communication with the nature of things! What wonder if the effort demanded by them be the measure of our worth as men! What wonder if the amount which we accord of it were the one strictly underived and original contribution which we make to the world!
This notion that all we can “spontaneously” do (if anything) is give our yes or no seems very similar to Lacan’s deployment of cybernetics toward the end of Seminar 2, particularly the lecture that makes up the penultimate chapter. For Lacan, though, this sequence of “yes or no,” 1 or 0, seems to be conceived as a kind of unconscious code operating on us in a machine-like way, which it is the task of psychoanalysis somehow to bring to the surface or force the subject to confront or assume.