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Lacan

Lacan

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Published by Jelena Rosic

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Published by: Jelena Rosic on Jul 02, 2012
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02/06/2015

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TheMirrorStageasFormativeofthe
IF
unction
93
asRevealedinPsychoanalyticExperience
DeliveredonJuly
17,1949,
inZurichattheSixteenthInternationalCongressofPsychoanalysis
TheconceptionofthemirrorstageIintroducedatourlastcongressthirteenyearsago,havingsincebeenmoreorlessadoptedbytheFrenchgroup,seemsworthbringingtoyourattentiononceagain-especiallytoday,giventhelightitshedsonthe
1
unctionintheexperiencepsychoanalysisprovidesusofit.Itshouldbenotedthatthisexperiencesetsusatoddswithanyphilosophydirectlystemmingfromthe
cogito.
SomeofyoumayrecallthebehavioralcharacteristicIbeginwiththatisexplainedbyafactofcomparativepsychology:thehumanchild,atanagewhenheisforashortwhile,butforawhilenevertheless,outdonebythechim-panzeeininstrumentalintelligence,canalreadyrecognizehisownimageassuchinamirror.Thisrecognitionisindicatedbytheilluminativemimicryofthe
Aha-ErIe/mis,
whichKohlerconsiderstoexpresssituationalapperception,anessentialmomentintheactofintelligence.Indeed,thisact,farfromexhaustingitself,asinthecaseofamonkey,ineventuallyacquiredcontrolovertheuselessnessoftheimage,immediatelygivesriseinachildtoaseriesofgesturesinwhichheplayfullyexperiencestherelationshipbetweenthemovementsmadeintheimageandthereflectedenvironment,andbetweenthisvirtualcomplexandtherealityitduplicates-namely,thechild'sownbody,andthepersonsandeventhingsaroundhim.Thiseventcantakeplace,asweknowfromBaldwin'swork,fromtheageofsixmonthson;itsrepetitionhasoftengivenmepausetoreflectuponthestrikingspectacleofanurslinginfrontofamirrorwhohasnotyetmastered94
 
76
Ecritswalking,orevenstanding,butwho-thoughheldtightlybysomeprop,humanorartificial(what,inFrance,wecalla
trotie-bebe
[asortofwalker])-over-comes,inaflutterofjubilantactivity,theconstraintsofhispropinordertoadoptaslightlyleaning-forwardpositionandtakeinaninstantaneousviewoftheimageinordertofixitinhismind.Inmyview,thisactivityhasaspecificmeaninguptotheageofeighteenmonths,andrevealsbothalibidinaldynamismthathashithertoremainedprob-lematicandanontologicalstructureofthehumanworldthatfitsinwithmyreflectionsonparanoiacknowledge.Itsufficestounderstandthemirrorstageinthiscontext
asanidentification,
inthefullsenseanalysisgives
to
theterm:namely,thetransformationthattakesplaceinthesubjectwhenheassumes
[assume]
animage-animagethatisseeminglypredestinedtohaveaneffectatthisphase,aswitnessedbytheuseinanalytictheoryofantiquity'sterm,"imago."Thejubilantassumption
[assomption]
ofhisspecularimagebythekindofbeing-stilltrappedinhismotorimpotenceandnurslingdependence-thelittlemanisatthe
infans
stagethusseemstometomanifestinanexemplarysituationthesymbolicmatrixinwhichthelisprecipitatedinaprimordialform,priortobeingobjectifiedinthedialecticofidentificationwiththeother,andbeforelanguagerestorestoit,intheuniversal,itsfunctionassubject.Thisformwould,moreover,havetobecalledthe"ideal-I"l-ifwewantedtotranslateitintoafamiliarregister-inthesensethatitwillalsobetheroot-stockofsecondaryidentifications,thislattertermsubsumingthelibidinalnor-malizationfunctions.Buttheimportantpointisthatthisformsituatestheagencyknownastheego,priortoitssocialdetermination,inafictionaldirec-tionthatwillforeverremainirreducibleforanysingleindividualor,rather,thatwillonlyasymptoticallyapproachthesubject'sbecoming,nomatterhowsuccessfulthedialecticalsynthesesbywhichhemustresolve,as1,hisdiscor-dancewithhisownreality.Forthetotalformofhisbody,bywhichthesubjectanticipatesthematu-95rationofhispowerinamirage,isgiventohimonlyasagestalt,thatis,inanexteriorityinwhich,tobesure,thisformismoreconstitutivethanconstituted,butinwhich,aboveall,itappearstohimasthecontourofhisstaturethatfreezesitandinasymmetrythatreversesit,inoppositiontotheturbulentmovementswithwhichthesubjectfeelsheanimatesit.Throughthesetwoaspectsofitsappearance,thisgestalt-whosepower
[pregnance]
shouldbeconsideredlinkedtothespecies,thoughitsmotorstyleisasyetunrecogniz-able-symbolizesthe1'smentalpermanence,atthesametimeasitprefiguresitsalienatingdestination.Thisgestaltisalsorepletewiththecorrespondencesthatunitethe1withthestatueontowhichmanprojectshimself,thephantoms
 
TheMirrorStageasFormativeoftheIFunction
JJ
thatdominatehim,andtheautomatonwithwhichtheworldofhisownmak-ingtendstoachievefruitioninanambiguousrelation.Indeed,forimagos-whoseveiledfacesweanalystsseeemergeinourdailyexperienceandinthepenumbraofsymbolic
etfectivenessc-s-the
specularimageseemstobethethresholdofthevisibleworld,ifwetakeintoaccountthemir-roreddispositionofthe
imagoofone'sownbody
inhallucinationsanddreams,whetheritinvolvesone'sindividualfeatures,orevenone'sinfirmitiesorobjectprojections;orifwetakenoteoftheroleofthemirrorapparatusintheappear-anceof
doubles,
inwhichpsychicalrealitiesmanifestthemselvesthatare,more-over,heterogeneous.Thefactthatagestaltmayhaveformativeeffectsonanorganismisattestedtobyabiologicalexperimentthatissofarremovedfromtheideaofpsychi-calcausalitythatitcannotbringitselftoformulateitselfinsuchterms.Theexperimentneverthelessacknowledgesthatitisanecessaryconditionforthematurationofthefemalepigeon'sgonadthatthepigeonseeanothermemberofitsspecies,regardlessofitssex;thisconditionissoutterlysufficientthatthesameeffectmaybeobtainedbymerelyplacingamirror'sreflectivefieldneartheindividual.Similarly,inthecaseofthemigratorylocust,theshiftwithinafamilylinefromthesolitarytothegregariousformcanbebroughtaboutbyexposinganindividual,atacertainstageofitsdevelopment,totheexclu-sivelyvisualactionofanimageakintoitsown,providedthemovementsofthisimagesufficientlyresemblethosecharacteristicofitsspecies.Suchfactsfallwithinarealmofhomeomorphicidentificationthatisitselfsubsumed96withinthequestionofthemeaningofbeautyasformativeanderogenous.Butmimeticfacts,understoodasheteromorphicidentification,areofjustasmuchinteresttousinsofarastheyraisethequestionofthesignificationofspaceforlivingorganisms-psychologicalconceptshardlyseeminglessappropriateforsheddinglightherethantheridiculousattemptsmadetoreducethesefactstothesupposedlysupremelawofadaptation.WeneedbutrecallhowRogerCaillois(stillyoungandfreshfromhisbreakwiththesociologi-calschoolatwhichhetrained)illuminatedthesubjectwhen,withtheterm"legendarypsychasthenia,"hesubsumedmorphologicalmimicrywithinthederealizingeffectofanobsessionwithspace.AsImyselfhaveshown,humanknowledgeismoreindependentthanani-malknowledgefromtheforcefieldofdesirebecauseofthesocialdialecticthatstructureshumanknowledgeasparanoiac;'butwhatlimitsitisthe"scantreality"surrealisticunsatisfactiondenouncestherein.Thesereflectionsleadmetorecognizeinthespatialcapturemanifestedbythemirrorstage,theeffectinman,evenpriortothissocialdialectic,ofanorganicinadequacyofhisnat-uralreality-assumingwecangivesomemeaningtotheword"nature."

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