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Méconnaissance

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The name Lacan gives to this process of identity construction is méconnaissance: "self-knowledge (me-connaissance) is synonymous with misunderstanding (méconnaissance), because the process by which the ego is formed in the mirror stage is at the same time the institution of alienation" (Evans 109). In a typically Lacanian play on words, Evans points to the fundamental constitutive feature of the imaginary order and of all imaginary processes. The logic which lends this pun more weight that simply that of a clever word-play is that of an implicit grammar behind the imaginary identification of ego with specular image. In contrast to the ego-ideal ("I want to be that"), the ego is a version of "I am that."11 The symbolisation of this identification in this way allows us to see clearly into the irrationality governing the imaginary. The predicate "that" in the ego characterisation "I am that" deprives the subject ("I") of its content; the descriptive verb "am" effectively becomes a transitive that reveals the hollowness of the ego in its attempt to attain wholeness through the identification with and assimilation of an endless variety of "thats." The illusions of identification produced in the imaginary, "those of wholeness, synthesis, autonomy, duality and, above all, similarity" (Evans 82) thus turn out to be "surface appearances which are deceptive, observable phenomena which hide underlying structure" (Evans 82).12
This The name [[Lacan]] gives to this [[process ]] of [[identity]] construction is [[méconnaissance, originally conceived of by Lacan as merely a stopping point on the path of psychic development ]]: "self-knowledge (in his work from 1936''me-1949connaissance'') is synonymous with misunderstanding (''méconnaissance''), becomes a constitutive feature of because the mental life of process by which the individual as [[ego]] is formed in the [[mirror stage loses its temporal focus and takes on ]] is at the same time the institution of [[alienation]]."<ref>Evans 109</ref> In a spatial reference (from 1950 typically Lacanian play on) (words, Evans 115)points to the fundamental constitutive feature of the imaginary order and of all imaginary processes. The logic which lends this pun more weight that simply that of a clever word-play is that of an implicit grammar behind the imaginary [[identification]] of ego with [[specular image]]. In contrast to the [[ego-ideal]] ("stadeI want to be that" ), the ego is a version of the original French formulation "stade du miroirI am that." expands its meaning 11 The [[symbolisation]] of this identification in this way allows us to include not only see clearly into the irrationality governing the temporal [[imaginary]]. The predicate "stagethat" of routine translation, but also in the spatial ego characterisation "stageI am that" or deprives the subject ("arenaI" ) of its secondary meaning (Evans 115). In this expanded conceptualization of content; the descriptive verb "am" effectively becomes a transitive that reveals the lasting effects hollowness of the mirror stage as ego in its attempt to attain wholeness through the inaugurating moment identification with and assimilation of an endless variety of "thats." The [[illusion]]s of identification produced in the imaginary order, the original méconnaissance that engenders the ego is compulsively repeated in a series "those of identifications with (wholeness, synthesis, autonomy, duality and potentially disabling fixations on) objects in their imaginary capacities (i, above all, similarity"<ref>Evans 82</ref> thus turn out to be "surface appearances which are deceptive, observable phenomena which hide underlying structure.e. imaginary objects):"<ref>Evans 82 12</ref>
This process of méconnaissance, originally conceived of by Lacan as merely a stopping point on the path of psychic [[development]] (in his work from 1936-1949), becomes a constitutive feature of the mental life of the individual as the mirror stage is loses its temporal focus and takes on a drama whose internal thrust is precipitated spatial reference (from insufficiency 1950 on)<ref>Evans 115.</ref>The "stade" of the original French formulation "stade du miroir" expands its meaning to anticipation – and which manufactures for include not only the subjecttemporal "stage" of routine translation, caught up in but also the lure spatial "stage" or "arena" of its secondary meaning.<ref>Evans 115</ref> In this expanded conceptualization of spatial identification, the succession lasting effects of phantasies that extends from a fragmented body-image to a form the mirror stage as the inaugurating moment of its totality that I shall call orthopaedic – andthe imaginary order, lastly, to the assumption of original méconnaissance that engenders the armour ego is compulsively repeated in a series of an alienating identity, which will mark identifications with its rigid structure the subject’s entire mental development(and potentially disabling fixations on) objects in their imaginary capacities (i.e. (Ecrits 4imaginary objects):
The erstwhile transformative mirror stage of ego development thus becomes an enduring psychic structure is a drama whose internal thrust is precipitated from insufficiency to anticipation – and which constitutes manufactures for the subject, caught up in the unsymbolised interiority lure of "identity." Coeval with spatial identification, the egosuccession of phantasies that extends from a fragmented body-image to a form of its totality that I shall call orthopaedic – and, the imaginary thus persists as the ground on which it thriveslastly, holding its own against to the violent encroachments assumption of the real and the divisive incursions armour of an alienating identity, which will mark with its rigid structure the symbolicsubject’s entire mental development.<ref>Ecrits 4</ref>
Perhaps the best example of the concrete instance The erstwhile transformative stage of the imaginary identification between the ego and imaginary objects is provided by the way in development thus becomes an enduring psychic structure which advertising works to create irrational but compelling associations with objects, even in constitutes the face unsymbolised interiority of the obvious incommensurability between the objects and that which is associated "identity." Coeval with them. Thus most commonly clothing or automobile commercials will use only slim, attractive spokespeople in clean, hygienic, and affluent surroundings as a way of creating matrices of imaginary associations around the objects for which they wish to create a desire. When the individual sees these associations madeego, he or she "recognises" some aspect of himself or herself in the imaginary field created around thus persists as the object, identifies with ground on which itthrives, and seeks to possess it as a concrete way of declaring his or her identity. The force holding its own against the violent encroachments of these imaginary identifications is manifest in the fact that even though they collapse into insipid manipulations with real and the least attempt at symbolisation (that is, representation in language, rather than merely by associations divisive incursions of images), they nonetheless persist as powerful determinants of individual ego-formations and behaviour patternsthe symbolic.13 In more theoretical terms,
Perhaps the best example of the concrete instance of the imaginary identification between the ego and imaginary objects is provided by the way in which advertising works to create irrational but compelling associations with objects, even in the face of the obvious incommensurability between the objects and that which is associated with them. Thus most commonly clothing or automobile commercials will use only slim, attractive spokespeople in clean, hygienic, and affluent surroundings as a way of creating matrices of imaginary associations around the objects for which they wish to create a desire. When the individual sees these associations made, he or she "recognises" some aspect of himself or herself in the imaginary field created around the object, identifies with it, and seeks to possess it as a concrete way of declaring his or her identity. The force of these imaginary identifications is manifest in the fact that even though they collapse into insipid manipulations with the least attempt at symbolisation (that is, representation in language, rather than merely by associations of images), they nonetheless persist as powerful determinants of individual ego-formations and behaviour patterns.13 In more theoretical terms, the original identificatory procedures which brought the ego into being [i.e. the mirror stage] are repeated and reinforced by the individual in his relationship with the external world of people and things. The imaginary is the scene of a desperate delusional attempt to be and to remain ‘what one is’ by gathering to oneself ever more instances of sameness, resemblance and self-replication; it is the birthplace of the narcissistic ‘ideal ego.’ (<ref>Bowie 92)</ref>
The circularity and self-referentiality of this process is abundantly clear in Bowie’s articulation, as the ego both constructs an ideal version of itself on the basis of various imaginary features with which it would like to be identified, and then acts as though it unpremeditatedly "recognises" itself in objects that bear an imaginary correspondence to that ideal. Basically, the imaginary is the scene in which the ego undertakes the perpetual and paradoxical practice of seeking "wholeness, synthesis, autonomy, duality and, above all, similarity" through identification with external objects. Each such identification is necessarily illusory, however, as it is but a pale imitation of the originary wholeness that was sacrificed in the primal identification of the ego with its specular image in the mirror stage.
There is, then, no room in Lacanian psychoanalysis for a conception of the self as some essential feature of one’s identity to which one must be true, which one must "find," and above all which one must know.14 The "self" as traditionally conceived is but a monumentalisation of the illusory ego; indeed, Lacan goes so far as to state that this notion of a coherent "self" or ego is in fact a sign of pathology: "The ego is structured exactly like a symptom. At the heart of the subject, it is only a privileged symptom, the human symptom par excellence, the mental illness of man." (<ref>Lacan S1 62, qtd. in Evans 51). </ref> Part of Lacan’s reaction against the line of philosophical thought that descends directly from Descartes, the abandonment of the self or ego as the primary category of individual being is one with his insistence on the illusory nature of the imaginary order and his allegiance to the supremacy of the symbolic order: "Lacan sets out to inhabit the linguistic dimension that the Cartesian cogito failed to acknowledge. The subject is irremediably split in and by language, but ‘modern man’ still has not learned this lesson." (<ref>Bowie 77). </ref> Picking up where Freud left off, Lacan proposes to make this lesson inescapable. ==See Also== ==References==<references/>  [[Category:Terms]][[Category:Concepts]][[Category:Imaginary]][[Category:Psychoanalysis]]
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