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Optical model

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{{Top}}modèle optique{{Bottom}}
==Sigmund Freud==
[[Freud]] compares the [[psyche]] with an [[optical model|optical apparatus]] such as a microscope or a camera in ''[[The Interpretation of Dreams]]''.<ref>{{F}} ''[[The Interpretation of Dreams]]'', 1900. [[SE]] IV-V: 536</ref>
==Jacques Lacan==
[[Image:Lacan-opticalmodel.jpg|thumb|right|[[The optical model]]]]
[[Lacan]] also uses [[optical model|optical apparatuses]] at several points in his [[Work of Sigmund Freud|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>{{S1}} 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>{{F}} ''[[The Interpretation of Dreams]]'', 1900. [[SE]] IV-V: 536</ref>
==The Optical Model==
The [[optical model]] first appears in 1954 <ref>{{S1}} p. 124</ref>, and is reproduced in the [[seminar]] on the [[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 [[optical model]] to illustrate various points.
Two of the most important points are the [[structure|structuring]] role of the [[symbolic]] [[order]] and the function of the [[ego-ideal]].
===Symbolic Structure===
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]].
<blockquote>"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>{{S1}} p.141</ref></blockquote>
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]].
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>{{S1}} p.141</ref>.
==See Also==
* [[Ego-ideal]]
* [[Ideal-ego]]
* [[Image]]
* [[Gaze]]
* [[Materialism]]
* [[Subject]]

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