I’m finding coffee to be a good anti-depressant. I don’t know what to do at night yet. But, during the day I get really down, go get some coffee, and suddenly I can think clearly and start working on something.
The ‘a’ in question stands for ‘autre’ (other), the concept having been developed out of the Freudian ‘object’ and Lacan’s own exploitation of ‘otherness’. The ‘petit a’ (small ‘a’) differentiates the object from (while relating it to) the ‘Autre’ or ‘grand Autre’ (the capitalized ‘Other’). However, Lacan refuses to comment on either term here, leaving the reader to develop an appreciation of the concepts in the course of their use. Furthermore, Lacan insists that ‘objet petit a’ should remain untranslated, this acquiring, as it were, the status of an algebraic sign.The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, Translators Note (Alan Sheridan)