Consciousness

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consciousness (conscience) In the so-called 'topographical model',

    Freud isolates consciousness as one of the parts of the psyche, along with the
    UNCONSCIOUs and the preconscious. Lacan finds Freud's remarks on conscious-
    ness far weaker than his formulations on the unconscious; 'while he [Freud]
    can give a coherent, balanced account of the majority of other parts of the
    psychic apparatus, when it's a question of consciousness, he always encounters
    mutually contradictory conditions' (S2, l 17). According to Lacan, Freud's
    problems with discussing consciousness return again and again to haunt his
    theory: 'The difficulties which this system of consciousness raises reappear at
    each level of Freud's theorising' (S2, 117). In particular, Lacan rejects the
     apparent attempts in Freud's work to link the consciousness-perception system
    to the EGo, unless this link is carefully theorised. If there is a link between the
    ego and consciousness, it is in terms of a lure; the illusion of a fully self-
    transparent consciousness is subverted by the whole psychoanalytic experience
    (see cociro). 'Consciousness in man is by essence a polar tension between an
    ego alienated from the subject and a perception which fundamentally escapes
    it, a pure percipi' (S2, 177).
        In 1954 Lacan gives 'a materialist definition of the phenomenon of con-
    sciousness' (S2, 40-52). However, matter is not to be confused with nature;
    Lacan argues that consciousness does not evolve from the natural order; it is
    radically discontinuous, and its origin is            more akin to creation than        to
    evolution (S7, 213-14; 223).
        In the 1960s Lacan rethinks the illusion of a self-consciousness (Selbstbe-
    wufltsein) fully present to itself in terms of his concept of the SUBJECT SUPPOSED
    TO KNOW.