“…the neuroses is a question that being poses for the subject, ‘from where it was before the subject came into the world’ (Freud’s phrase, which he used in explaining the Oedipal complex in little Hans).
….it [neuroses] poses it [a question] in place of the subject, that is to say, in that place it poses the question with the subject, as one poses a problem with a pen, or as Aristotle’s man thought with his soul.”—Jacques Lacan, “Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious” in Écrits: A Selection (168)
Take out all the psychoanalytic jargon, what is it that this quote is getting at? Simply put, Lacan’s psychoanalysis posits that there are elements of our being which lie beyond our direct control, which we access only indirectly through the ways those elements shape our life. Lacan isn’t being particularly magical here. He is describing those desires which constitute a personality as a locus of self-awareness.