"Objet a is not an empirical or existing object, but a sort of remainder, excess, or irreducible fractional quantity marking that which cannot be integrated into the symbolic" (6.1).
And this from chapter 4:
"Lacan's concept of causality is deeply related to his understanding of objet a, the object-cause of desire.... The objet a is rather that gap that generates desire....the gap by which objet a functions as the object-cause of desire can be fruitfully thought in terms of the role played by the unmarked side of a distinction....while the unmarked side of a distinction is not indicated by a system employing a particular distinction, this unmarked side nonetheless has effects on how the psychic system functions" (4.4).
An initial impression is that objet a is similar to Derrida's khora or differance. I mentioned Bryant's recent Speculations paper above, "The other face of God". A relevant excerpt relating objet a to Derrida:
"Derrida is here extremely close to Lacan. The upshot of the differential nature of the signifier is that any attempt to totalize the system of signifiers necessarily fails, leaving behind a remainder, that cannot be integrated in the system" (80).
I finally made it through "The other face of God" and this time it made sense. Somehow I got over my aversion for Lacan's graphs and it came together, in large part due to my wonderings above. I see the male side of the graph as a clear example of regressive US politics and the female side the progressive. Which of course relates to the One and the Many, and how the many is not an opposite to the one but more like the transcendental condition of opposition itself. It is the One that requires an Other outside itself to make an enemy of the One, that requires binarity. Whereas multitude accepts the remainder left over from such totalization, allows for the objet a in its heart rather than projecting it outward, which leads to acceptance and celebration of diversity. Fucken' (objet) a, man. Viva la differ(a)nce!