Changes

Jump to: navigation, search

The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I

6,705 bytes added, 22:23, 20 May 2019
The LinkTitles extension automatically added links to existing pages (<a rel="nofollow" class="external free" href="https://github.com/bovender/LinkTitles">https://github.com/bovender/LinkTitles</a>).
By [[Jacques Lacan]]
{{Author}}
<BR>
==Introduction==
The conception of the [[mirror]]-[[phase]] which I introduced at our last congress, thirteen years ago, has since become more or less established in the [[practice]] of the [[French]] group; I [[think]] it nevertheless worthwhile to bring it again to your attention, especially today, for the light that it sheds on the [[formation]] of the I as we [[experience]] it in [[psychoanalysis]].<ref>''Translator's note'': '<i>I</i>' is used here and throughout to translate [[Lacan]]'s '<i>je</i>', in 'le <i>je</i>', 'la [[fonction]] du <i>je</i>', etc. '<i>Ego</i>' translates 'le <i>moi</i>' and is used in the normal [[sense]] of [[psychoanalytic]] [[literature]]. On '<i>je</i>', see Note 2 below.</ref> It is an experience which leads us to oppose any [[philosophy]] directly issuing from the ''[[Cogito]]''.
Some of you may perhaps [[remember]] our starting point in a feature of [[human]] [[behaviour]] illuminated by a fact of comparative [[psychology]]. The human offspring, at an age when he is for a [[time]], however short, outdone by the chimpanzee in instrumental intelligence, can nevertheless already recognize as such his own [[image]] in a mirror. This [[recognition]] manifests itself in the illuminatory [[mimicry]] of the ''AhaErlebnis'', which Köhler sees as the expression of situational apperception, an essential [[moment]] of the act of intelligence.
The conception of This act, far from exhausting itself, as with the chimpanzee, once the image has been mastered and found empty, in the mirror stage that I introduced [. . .[child]] has since become more or less established immediately rebounds in a series of gestures in which he playfully experiences the relations of the practice assumed movements of the French image to the reflected [[psychoanalyticenvironment]] group. However, I think it worthwhile to bring it again and of this [[virtual]] [[complex]] to your attention, especially today, for the light [[reality]] it sheds on reduplicates the formation of child's own [[body]], and the <i>I</i> as we experience it persons or even things in psychoanalysis. It is an experience that leads us to oppose any philosophy directly issuing from the <i>Cogito</i> [reference is to the tradition stemming from Descartes : I think, therefore I am etchis proximity.]
Some This [[event]] can take [[place]], as we have known since Baldwin, from the age of you may recall that this conception originated six months, and its [[repetition]] has often compelled us to ponder over the startling [[spectacle]] of the nurseling in a feature front of human behavior illuminated by a fact of comparative psychologythe mirror. The childUnable as yet to walk, at an age when or even to stand up, and narrowly confined as he is for within some support, human or artificial (what, in [[France]], we call a time''trotte-bébé''), however shorthe nevertheless surmounts, in a flutter of jubilant [[activity]], outdone by the chimpanzee obstructions of his support in instrumental intelligence[[order]] to fix his attitude in a more or less leaning-forward [[position]], can nevertheless already recognize as such his own and bring back an instantaneous aspect of the image to hold it in a mirror. his [[gaze]]. . .]
This actFor us, far from exhausting itself, as in this activity retains the [[meaning]] we have given it up to the case age of the monkeyeighteen months. This meaning discloses a [[libidinal]] dynamism, once the image which has been mastered and found emptyhitherto remained problematic, immediately rebounds in the case as well as an [[ontological]] [[structure]] of the child in a series of gestures in human [[world]] which he experiences in play the relation between the movements assumed in the image and the reflected environment, and between this virtual complex and the reality it reduplicates --the child's own body, and the persons and things around himaccords with our reflections on [[paranoiac]] [[knowledge]].
This event can take place We have only to [[. . .understand]] from the age of six monthsmirror-phase ''as an [[identification]]'', and its repetition has often made me reflect upon in the [[full]] sense which [[analysis]] gives to the startling spectacle of term: namely, the infant transformation which takes place in front of the mirror. Unable as yet [[subject]] when he assumes an image -whose [[predestination]] to walk, or even to stand up, and held tightly as he this phase-effect is sufficiently indicated by some supportthe use, human or artificial in analytical [. . .[theory]], he nevertheless overcomes, in a flutter of jubilant activity, the obstructions of his support and, fixing his attitude I a slightly leaning-forward position, in order to hold it in his gaze, brings back an instantaneous aspect of the imageold term ''[[imago]]''.
For meThis jubilant assumption of his mirror-image by the little man, this activity retains at the ''[[infans]]'' [[stage]], still sunk in his motor incapacity and nurseling dependency, would seem to exhibit in an exemplary [[situation]] the [[symbolic]] [[matrix]] in which the meaning I have given is precipitated in a primordial [[form]], before it up to is objectified in the age [[dialectic]] of eighteen months. This meaning discloses a libidinal dynamismidentification with the [[other]], and before [[language]] restores to it, which has hitherto remained problematicin the [[universal]], its function as well as an ontological structure of the human world that accords with my reflections on paranoiac knowledgesubject.
We This form would have only to understand be called the mirror stage ''[[Ideal]]-I''<ref>Throughout this article we leave in its peculiarity the [[translation]] we have adopted for [[Freud]]'s <i>as an identificationIdeal-Ich</i> (i.e. '<i>je-idéal</i>'), without further comment, save that we have not maintained it since.</ref>, if we wanted to restore it to a familiar scheme, in the full sense that analysis gives to it will also be the term: namelyroot-stock for secondary identifications, among which we place the transformation functions of libidinal normalization. But the important point is that takes place in this form situates the subject when he assumes an image - whose predestination to this phase-effect is sufficiently indicated by [[instance]] of the use''ego'', before its [[social]] determination, in analytic theorya fictional direction, which will always remain irreducible for the [[individual]] alone, or rather, which will rejoin the [[development]] of the subject only asymptotically, whatever the success of the ancient term <i>imago</i> [this is also a term from Jungian psychology[dialectical]]syntheses by which he must resolve as ''I'' his discordance with his own reality.
This jubilant assumption of his specular image by the child at the <i>infans</i>stage, still sunk in his motor incapacity and nursling dependence, would seem to exhibit in an exemplary situation the symbolic matrix in which the <i>I</i> is precipitated in a primordial form, before it is objectified in the dialectic of identification with the other, and before language restores to it, in the universal, its function ==The Body as subject. Gestalt==
This The fact is that the [[total]] form would have to be called of the body by which the subject anticipates in a mirage the Ideal-I [. . .[maturation]] of his [[power]]. But the important point is given to him only as ''[[Gestalt]]'', that is to say in an exteriority in which this form situates is certainly more constituent than constituted, but in which it appears to him above all in a contrasting size that fixes it and a symmetry that inverts it which are in [[conflict]] with the agency turbulence of the ego, before its social determination, in a fictional direction, motions which will always remain irreducible for the individual alonesubject feels animating him. Thus, or ratherthis ''Gestalt'' -- whose pregnancy should be regarded as linked to the [[species]], which will only rejoin the comingthough its motor style remains unrecognizable -into-being by these twin aspects of its [[appearance]], symbolizes the subject asymptotically[[mental]] permanence of the ''I'', whatever at the success of same time as it prefigures its [[alienating]] destination; it is pregnant with the dialectical syntheses by correspondences which he must resolve as <i> unite the ''I</i> his discordance '' with the statue in which man projects himself, with the phantoms which dominate him, or finally, with the [[automaton]] in which, in an ambiguous relation, the world of his own realityfabrication tends to find completion.
The fact Indeed, where ''imagos'' are concerned -- whose veiled faces it is that the total form of the body by which the subject anticipates our privilege to see in [[outline]] in a mirage our daily experience and the maturation penumbra of his power is given to him only as symbolic efficacity<i>Gestalt</iref> Cf. Claude Lévi-[[an image of a wholeStrauss]], that is to say''[[Structural]] [[Anthropology]]'', in an exteriority in which this form is certainly more constituent than constituted, but in which it appears to him above all in a contrasting size that fixes it and in a symmetry that inverts it[[London]] [[1968]], in contrast with the turbulent movements that the subject feels are animating himChapter X. Thus, this <i>Gestalt</iref> -- whose pregnancy should the mirror-image would seem to be regarded as bound up with the speciesthreshold of the [[visible]] world, though its motor style remains scarcely recognizable - if we go by these two aspects the mirror disposition which the ''imago of our own body'' presents in [[hallucinations]] or [[dreams]], whether it concerns its appearanceindividual features, symbolizes the mental permanence of the <i>I</i>or even its infirmities, at the same time as it prefigures or its alienating destination[[object]]-projections; it is still pregnant with or if we notice the correspondences that unite [[role]] of the <i>I</i> with mirror [[apparatus]] in the statue in which man projects himself, with appearances of the phantoms that dominate him''[[double]]'', or with the automation in which[[psychic]] realities, in an ambiguous relationhowever heterogeneous, the world of his own making tends to find completion[[manifest]] themselves.
That a ''Gestalt'' should be capable of formative effects in the organism is attested by a piece of [[biological]] experimentation which is itself so [[alien]] to the [[. . . Tidea]] of psychic [[causality]]he mirror-image would seem that it cannot bring itself to be formulate its results in these [[terms]]. It nevertheless recognizes that it is a necessary condition for the maturation of the threshold gonad of the visible world[[female]] pigeon that it should see [[another]] member of its species, if we go of either sex; so sufficient in itself is this condition that the desired effect may be obtained merely by placing the mirror disposition that individual within reach of the <i>imago field of one's own body</i> presents in hallucinations or dreams [. . .[reflection]] or if we observe the role of the a mirror apparatus . Similarly, in the appearances [[case]] of the <i>double</i>migratory locust, in which the psychical realitiestransition within a generation from the solitary to the gregarious form can be obtained by the exposure of the individual, however heterogeneousat a certain stage, to the exclusively [[visual]] [[action]] of a similar image, provided it is animated by movements of a style sufficiently close to that characteristic of the species. Such facts are manifestedinscribed in an order of homeomorphic identification which would itself fall within the larger question of the meaning of beauty as formative and [[erotogenic]].
That a <i>Gestalt</i> should be capable But facts of mimicry are no less instructive when conceived as cases of formative effects in heteromorphic identification, inasmuch as they raise the organism is attested by a piece problem of biological experimentation that is itself so alien to the idea [[significance]] of psychical causality that it cannot bring itself to formulate its results in these terms. It nevertheless recognizes that it is a necessary condition [[space]] for the maturation of [[living]] organism; [[psychological]] [[concepts]] hardly seem less appropriate for shedding light on these matters than ridiculous attempts to reduce [[them]] to the gonad supposedly supreme law of the female pigeon that it should see another member of its species, of either sex: so sufficient in itself is this condition that the desired effect may be obtained merely by placing the individual [pigeon[adaptation]] within reach of the field of reflection of a mirror. SimilarlyLet us only [[recall]] how Roger [[Caillois]] (who was then very young, in and still fresh from his breach with the case sociological [[school]] of his [[training]]) illuminated the migratory locust, the transition within a generation from the solitary to the gregarious form can be obtained subject by exposing using the individual, at a certain stage, term '<i>legendary psychasthenia</i>' to the exclusively visual action of a similar image, provided it is animated by movements of a style sufficiently close to that characteristic of the species. Such facts are inscribed classify morphological mimicry as an [[obsession]] with space in an order of homeomorphic identification that would itself fall within the larger question of the meaning of beauty as both formative and erogenicits derealizing effect.
But We have ourselves shown in the fact social dialectic which [[structures]] human knowledge as paranoiac<ref>See Jacques Lacan, ''Écrits, [[Paris]] 1966'', pp. 111, 180.</ref> why human knowledge has greater [[autonomy]] than [[animal]] knowledge in relation to the field of mimicry are no less instructive when conceived as cases force of heteromorphic identification[[desire]], but also why it is determined in as much as they raise the problem direction of that '[[lack]] of reality' which [[surrealist]] [[dissatisfaction]] denounces in it. These reflections lead us to recognize in the spatial ensnarement exhibited in the mirror-phase, even before the social dialectic, the signification effect in man of space for the living organism an [[organic]] insufficiency in his [[natural]] reality -- psychological concepts hardly seem less appropriate for shedding light on these matters than ridiculous attempts to reduce them in so far, that is, as we attach any meaning to the supposedly supreme law of adaptation. [[word]] '[[nature]]'. . .]
I am We are therefore led, therefore, to [[regard ]] the function of the mirror-stage phase as a [[particular ]] case of the function of the <i>''imago</i>'', which is to establish a relation between of the organism and to its reality -- or, as they say, between of the <i>''Innenwelt</i> '' to the ''[interior world[Umwelt] and the <i>Umwelt</i> [exterior world]''.
In man, however, this relation to nature is altered impaired by a certain kind of dehiscence at the heart of the organismin the womb, a primordial Discord betrayed by the [[signs ]] of uneasiness discomfort and motor uncoordination inco-ordination of the neo-natal neonatal months. The [[objective ]] [[notion ]] of the [[anatomical ]] [[incompleteness ]] of the pyramidal [of humans[ system]] and likewise the [[presence ]] of certain humoral residues of the [[maternal ]] organism confirm the view I we have formulated as the fact of a [[real <i>]] ''specific [[prematurity ]] of [[birth</i> ]]'' in man.
It is worth notingLet us note, incidentally, that this is in a fact fully recognized as such by embryologists, by the term <i>''foetalization</i> '', which determines the prevalence of the so-called superior apparatus of the neurax, and especially of the cortex, which [[psycho]]-surgical operations lead us to regard as the intra-organic mirror. . . . ]
This development is experienced lived as a [[temporal ]] dialectic that which decisively projects the formation of the individual into [[history. The <i>]]; the ''mirror stage</i> -phase'' is a drama whose [[internal thrust is precipitated ]] impulse rushes from insufficiency to [[anticipation - ]] and which manufactures for the subject, caught up in captive to the [[lure ]] of spatial identification, the succession of phantasies that extends from a [[fragmented body]]-image to a form of its [[totality that I ]] which we shall call orthopaedic - and, lastly, to the assumption , finally, of the armour of an alienating [[identity]], which will mark stamp with the rigidity of its rigid structure the [[whole]] of the subject's entire mental development. Thus, to break out of the circle of the <i>''Innenwelt</i> '' into the <i>''Umwelt</i> '' generates the inexhaustible endless quadrature of the inventorying of the ego's verifications.
This fragmented body - which terms I have also introduced into our system of theoretical references - usually manifests itself in dreams when the movement of the analysis encounters a certain level of aggressive disintegration in the individual. It then appears in the form of disjointed limbs, or of those organs represented in exoscopy, growing wings and taking up arms for intestinal persecutions - the very same that the visionary Hieronymus Bosch has fixed, for all time, in painting, in their ascent (p. 5) from the fifteenth century to the imaginary zenith of modern man. But this form is even tangibly revealed at the organic level, in the lines of 'fragilization' that define the anatomy of phantasy, as exhibited in the schizoid and spasmodic symptoms of hysteria.==The Fragmented Body==
CorrelativelyThis fragmented body, the formation term for which I have introduced into our [[theoretical]] [[frame]] of the <i>I</i> is symbolized reference, regularly manifests itself in dreams by when the movement of the analysis encounters a fortress, or a stadium - its inner arena and enclosure, surrounded by marshes and rubbish-tips, dividing it into two opposed fields certain level of contest where [[aggressive]] disintegration in the subject flounders individual. It then appears in quest the form of the leftydisjointed limbs, remote inner castle whose form (sometimes juxtaposed or of those organs figured in exoscopy, growing wings and taking up arms for intestinal persecutions -- the very same scenario) symbolizes that the id visionary Hieronymus Bosch has fixed, for all time, in a quite startling way. Similarly painting, as they climbed, on in the mental planefifteenth century, we find realized to the structures [[imaginary]] zenith of fortified worksmodern man, but this form is even tangibly revealed at the organic level, in the metaphor lines of 'fragilization' which arises spontaneouslydefine the anatomy of [[phantasy]], as if issuing from exhibited in the schizoid and spasmodic [[symptoms themselves, to designate the mechanisms ]] of obsessional neurosis - inversion, isolation, reduplication, cancellation and displacement[[hysteria]].
But if we were to build on these subjective givens alone - however little we free them from Correlatively, the condition of experience that makes us see them as partaking formation of the nature of ''I'' is [[symbolized]] in dreams by a fortress, or a linguistic technique stadium -- its inner arena and enclosure, surrounded by marshes and rubbish- our theoretical attempts would remain exposed to tips, dividing it into two opposed fields of contest where the charge subject flounders in quest of projecting themselves into the unthinkable of an absolute subject. This is why I have sought haughty and remote inner castle, which, in its shape (sometimes juxtaposed in the present hypothesissame scenario), grounded symbolizes the ''id'' in a conjunction startling fashion. Similarly, on the mental plane, we find realized the structures of fortified works, the [[metaphor]] of objective datawhich arises spontaneously, and as if issuing from the guiding grid for a method symptoms themselves, to describe the mechanisms of symbolic reduction[[obsessional]] [[neurosis]] -- [[inversion]], [[isolation]], reduplication, cancellation and [[displacement]].
It establishes in the defenses of the ego a genetic order But were we to build on this merely [[. . . subjective]] and situates (as against a frequently expressed prejudice) hysterical repression and its returns at a more archaic stage than obsessional inversion and its isolating processesdata, and should this be detached from the latter in turn as preliminary to paranoiac alienation, experiential condition which dates would make us derive it from a language [[technique]], our theoretical enterprise would remain exposed to the deflection charge of projecting itself into the specular I into unthinkable of an absolute subject. That is why we have to find in the [[present]] hypothesis, grounded in a conjunction of objective data, the social Iguiding grid for a ''method of symbolic reduction''.
This moment It establishes in which the mirror stage comes to an end inaugurates by ''defences of the identification ego'' a genetic order, in accordance with the imago [[wish]] formulated by Miss [[Anna Freud]], in the first part of the counterpart her great [[work]], and the drama of primordial jealousy situates (so well brought out by as against a frequently expressed prejudice) [[hysterical]] [[repression]] and its returns at a more archaic stage than obsessional inversion and its isolating [[processes]], and the school of Charlotte Bühler latter in turn as preliminary to paranoiac [[alienation]], which dates from the phenomenon deflection of infantile transitivism), the dialectic that will henceforth link mirror ''I'' into the social ''I to socially elaborated situations''.
It is this This moment that decisively tips in which the whole of human knowledge into mediatization through the desire of the othermirror-phase comes to an end inaugurates, constitutes its objects in an abstract equivalence by the co-operation identification with the ''imago'' of others, the fellow and turns the I into that apparatus for which every instinctual thrust constitutes a danger, even though it should correspond to a natural maturation drama of primordial [[jealousy]] (so well high- lighted by the very normalization school of this maturation being henceforth dependent, in man, on a cultural mediation as exemplified, Charlotte Bühler in the case phenomenon of [[infantile]] ''[[transitivism]]''), the sexual object, by dialectic which will henceforth link the Oedipus complexI to socially elaborated situations.
[. . .] We can thus understand It is this moment that decisively shakes the inertia characteristic whole of human knowledge in the mediatization by the formations desire of the Iother, and find there the most extensive definition constitutes its [[objects]] in an abstract equivalence by virtue of neurosis - just as the captation competition of the subject by other, and makes the situation gives us the most general formula ''I'' into that system for madnesswhich every [[instinctual]] thrust constitutes a [[danger]], not only even though it should correspond to a natural maturation -- the madness that lies behind very normalization of this maturation [[being]] henceforth dependent, in man, on a [[cultural]] go-between, as exemplified, in the walls case of asylumsthe [[sexual]] object, but also by the madness that deafens the world with its sound and fury[[Oedipus]] complex.
The sufferings In the light of neurosis and psychosis are for us a schooling this conception, the term primary [[narcissism]], by which analytical [[doctrine]] denotes the libidinal investment characteristic of that moment, reveals in those who invented it the passions most profound [[awareness]] of semantic latencies. But it also illuminates the soul[[dynamic]] opposition of that [[libido]] to sexual libido, just as which they tried to define when they invoked destructive and, indeed, [[death]] [[instincts]], in order to explain the beam evident connection between [[narcissistic]] libido and the alienating function of the psychoanalytic scales''I'', when we calculate the tilt of its threat [[aggressiveness]] which it releases in any relation to entire communitiesthe other, provides us with an indication of the deadening albeit that of the passions in societymost Samaritan aid.
At this junction of nature and culture, so persistently examined by modern anthropology, psychoanalysis alone recognizes this knot of imaginary servitude that love must always undo again, or sever. ==Existentialism==
For such a task, we place no trust in altruistic feeling, we who lay bare the aggressivity They were encountering that underlies existential negativity whose reality is so warmly advocated by the activity contemporary philosophy of the philanthropist, the idealist, the pedagogue, being and even the reformernothingness.
But unfortunately that philosophy grasps negativity only within the confines of a [[self]]-sufficiency of [[consciousness]], which, as one of its premisses, [[links]] to the constitutive mis-recognitions of the ego, the [[illusion]] of autonomy to which it entrusts itself. This flight of fancy, for all that it draws, to an unusual extent, on borrowings from psychoanalytic experience, culminates in the pretension to provide an [[existential psychoanalysis]]. At the climax of the historical attempt of a [[society]] to refuse to recognize that it has any function other than the utilitarian one, and in the anguish of the individual confronting the concentrational form of the social bond which seems to arise to crown this attempt, [[existentialism]] must be judged by the account it gives of the subjective dilemmas which it has indeed given rise to: the [[freedom]] which never claims more authenticity than when it is within the walls of a prison; the [[demand]] for commitment, expressing the [[impotence]] of a pure consciousness to [[master]] any situation; the voyeuristic-[[sadistic]] [[idealization]] of the sexual [[relationship]]; the [[personality]] which realizes itself only in [[suicide]]; the awareness of the other which can be [[satisfied]] only by [[Hegelian]] [[murder]]. These propositions are denied by all our experience, inasmuch as it teaches us not to regard the ego as centred on the ''[[perception]]-consciousness system'', or as organized by the 'reality [[principle]]' -- a principle which is the expression of a scientistic prejudice most hostile to the dialectic of knowledge. Our experience shows that we should start instead from the ''function of [[misrecognition]]'' which characterizes the ego in all its structures, so markedly articulated by Miss Anna Freud. For, if the ''[[Verneinung]]'' represents the patent form of that function, its effects will, for the most part, remain [[latent]], so long as they are not illuminated by a light reflected in the plane of fatality, where the ''id'' is revealed.  We can thus understand the inertia characteristic of the [[formations]] of the ''I'', and find there the most extensive definition of neurosis -- even as the ensnarement of the subject by the situation which gives us the most general [[formula]] for [[madness]], not only the madness which lies behind the walls of asylums, but also the madness which deafens the world with its sound and fury. The sufferings of neurosis and [[psychosis]] are for us the school of the passions of the soul, just as the scourge of the psychoanalytic scales, when we compute the tilt of their [[threat]] to entire communities, gives us the [[index]] of the deadening of the passions of the city. At this junction of nature and [[culture]] which is so persistently scanned by modern anthropology, psychoanalysis alone recognizes this [[knot]] of imaginary servitude which [[love]] must always undo again, or sever. For such a task we place no reliance on altruistic [[feeling]], we who lay bare the aggressiveness that underlies the activity of the philanthropist, the idealist, the pedagogue, and even the reformer. In the recourse of subject to subject that which we preserverpreserve, psychoanalysis may can accompany the [[patient ]] to the ecstatic [[limit ]] of the "Thous 'Thou art that" in which ', wherein is revealed to him the cipher of his mortal destiny, but it is not in our mere power as practitioners to bring him to that point where the real journey beingsbegins. ( 1949 -- ''translated'' by Jean Roussel)  ==Notes==<references/>* [http://www.ny-liability-insurance.com/ Liability Insurance NY] ==See Also==* [[Le stade du miroir comme formateur de la fonction du Je]]* [[Mirror stage]] __NOEDITSECTION__
[[Category:Works by Jacques Lacan]]
[[Category:Essays by Jacques Lacan]]
[[CategroyCategory:Works]]
[[Category:Jacques Lacan]]
[[Category:Psychoanalysis]]
 
 
* "[[Le stade du miroir comme formateur de la fonction du je, telle qu’elle nous est révélée, dans l’expérience psychanalytique]]." ''[[Écrits]]''. Paris: Seuil, 1966: 93-100 ["[[The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I as revealed in psychoanalytic experience]]." Trans. [[Alan Sheridan]]. ''[[Écrits: A Selection]]''. London: Tavistock, 1977; New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1977: 1-7].
Anonymous user

Navigation menu