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Optical model

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[[optical model]] <ref>[[French]]: ''[[modèle optique]]''</ref>
==Sigmund Freud==
[[Freud]] compares the psyche with an optical apparatus such as a microscope or a camera in [[The Interpretation of Dreams]].<ref>Freud. 1900a: SE V. p.536</ref>
==Jacques Lacan==
[[Lacan]] also uses optical apparatuses at several points in his work.
For example, he uses the [[camera]] to provide a "materialist definition of the phenomenon of consciousness."<ref>{{S2}} Chapter 4</ref>
[[Lacan]] argues that [[optics]] is a useful way of approaching the [[structure]] of the [[psyche]] because [[images]] play an important role in [[psychic]] [[structure]] <ref>{{Sl}} p.76</ref>.
However, like [[Freud]], [[Lacan]] warns that such an approach can never provide more than rather crude analogies, since [[optical]] [[image]]s are not the same as the kind of [[image]]s which are the [[object]] of [[psychoanalytic]] [[research]].
For this reason, [[Lacan]] soon replaces [[optical]] [[image]]s with [[topological]] [[figures]] which are intended to prevent [[imaginary]] [[capture]].
Nevertheless, as [[Freud]] said of his own [[optical model]]s, "we need the assistance of provisional ideas."<ref>Freud, 1900: 536</ref>.
==The Optical Model==
The [[optical model]] first appears in 1954 <ref>{{Sl}} p.124</ref>, and is reproduced in the [[seminar]], [[Le transfert]], on [[transference]] (1960-1), and elsewhere.
It is basically an optical experiment which is constructed by means
of a plane [[mirror]] and a concave [[mirror]].
The concave [[mirror]] produces a real [[image]] of an inverted flower-pot, hidden from view by a box, which is then reflected in the plane [[mirror]] to produce a [[virtual]] [[image]].
This [[virtual]] [[image]] is only [[visible]] to a [[subject]] who places himself within a particular area of [[vision]].
[[Lacan]] uses the [[opticall model]] to illustrate various points.
Two of the most important points are the [[structuring]] role of the [[symbolic]] [[order]] and the function of the [[ego-ideal]].
===Symbolic Structure===
1.The [[optical model]] illustrates the way that the position of the [[subject]] in the symbolic order (represented by the angle of the plane mirror) determines the way in which the [[imaginary]] is articulated with the [[real]].
"My position in the imaginary is only conceivable insofar as one finds a guide beyond the imaginary, on the level of the symbolic plane."<ref>{{Sl}} p.141</ref>
The [[optical model]] thus illustrates the primary importance of the [[symbolic]] [[order]] in [[structuring]] the [[imaginary]].
The action of [[psychoanalytic]] [[treatment]] can be compared to the
rotation of the plane [[mirror]], which alters the position of the [[subject]] in the [[symbolic]].
===Ego Ideal===
2.The [[optical model]] also illustrates the function of the [[ideal ego]], which is represented in the diagram as the [[real]] [[image]], in opposition to the [[ego-ideal]], which is the [[symbolic]] guide governing the angle of the [[mirror]] and hence the position of the [[subject]].<ref>{{Sl}} p.141</ref>.
Figure 12 The optical model
Source: Jacques Lacan, The Seminar. Book I. Freud's Papers on Technique, trans. with notes by John Forrester, New York: Norton: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
==See Also==
* [[Optics]]
* [[Vision]]
* [[Gaze]]
* [[Image]]
* [[Imaginary]]
* [[Symbolic
* [[Ego ideal]]
* [[Ideal ego]]
* [[Materialism]]
[[Category:Psychoanalytic theory]]
[[Category:Jacques Lacan]]

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