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General Introduction & Examples of Mirror Stage

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1 General Introduction & Examples of Mirror Stage
Jacques Lacan General Introduction & Examples of Mirror Stage

2 Outline Summary: Key Ideas General Questions
Three Stages of Psychic Development; Mirror Stage ,Questions and ★ Examples Oedipal Stage Gender Difference & Language: Questions Gender Difference Insatiable Desire * Questions: about Lacan’s views of love

3 Summary of Key Ideas Chap 3: pp. 61-; chap (The Unconscious as language and Sexual development) The unconscious is structured like a language. a constantly moving chain of signifiers (sliding of signifying chain. The three-part personality (order): The Real, the Imaginary and the Symbolic, in which we have needs, make demands, and “Desire.” Development and splitting of self –mirror stage, self-Other and subject position, fragmented body. Gendering process (chap 4) and phallus and love: The Name of the Father,

4 General Questions Your questions? Your Examples?
Do you agree that the Father’s authority is associated with language and interdiction(禁止)? Do you agree that our learning of language is a process of castration and fragmentation (splitting)? And that our desire is drifting from one object to the next, and that ultimately we desire a kind of pre-Oedipal unity? Why are there only ‘signifiers’(意符 [roz]) but not signified (意旨[the concept of rose]) in the unconscious?

5 The orders of human existence: the Imaginary, the Symbolic & the Real
(chap 3: 62-63; chap 4: ) The Real – pre-linguistic ‘pure plenitude’ (no subject-object distinction); beyond the Symbolic order (cannot be talked about). The imaginary (centering around the Mother) –from bits and pieces to a sense of unity; (mis)recongnition of one’s self through an external image; illusory unity with the mother  split from her; fragmentary sense of self The Symbolic (intervention of the Name of the Father) – entry into language (a world of difference)  a loss of wholeness, a split in the speaking “I” and spoken “I”

6 The orders of human existence: the Imaginary, the Symbolic & the Real
The Real – oneness and jouissance (undifferentiated unity of the mother, objects of love, or objet a). The imaginary (the mirror stage) – two together and then separate (Baby and the Mother) The Symbolic – three: the Father, the (M)other, and Self

7 The Mirror Stage (chap 4: 165)
The baby (with its fragmentary sense of self) identifies with an external image (of the body in the mirror or through the mother or primary caregiver)  have a sense of self (ideal ego). Split: 1) In the self: experiences fragmentation but sees wholeness; 2) From the self: sees loss in the mirror image

8 Split Identity in Language
Against Cartesianism (rational consciousness) and humanism (free will). “Unconscious is the language of the Other.” Language speaks us. I think where I am not . . .(Ego alienated, not the center of one’s identity. Ideal ego (mirror image) ego ideal (role model)

9 Review Questions Do you agree that our identity is fragmentary and why?  Which of the following do you agree with?  "I think, therefore, I am," "Where I think, there I am," or "I think where I am not, therefore I am where I do not think."  What are the three phases of psychic development according to Lacan? What is mirror stage? Why is it an important stage in child development?

10 Mirror & Identity: Some examples
Vanity: In classical paintings & fairy tales (actually it implies patriarchy’s repression of female subjectivity) e.g. Venus at her Mirror by VELÁZQUEZ, Diego Rodriguez de Silva y (b. 1599, Sevilla, d. 1660, Madrid)

11 Uses of Mirror: Some examples
The return/assertion of the repressed: Alter ego (or double) Mirror image as deeper levels of self, or ideal ego. e.g th century women in Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea (textbook chap ) – alter ego e.g. 2. chap 4 (176-77)The Awakening; “The Yellow Wallpaper” Mother and Daugher in The Piano

12 Uses of Mirror: Some examples
3. Looking at the mirror: changing one’s ideal ego or discovering one’s selves. (Piano/French Lieutenant’s Woman)

13 Mirror Image & Double: extensions
We—esp. women-- are always conscious of our mirror images, or looking for screen images for self-identification. What’s projected on the mirror: The Other, either ideal ego or the repressed. e.g. Jane/Antoinette; movie stars as the phallic symbol The magical and the “uncanny”? “Mirror, Mirror on the wall”  psychological roots: the strangest // the most familiar (homely, unhomely)

14 Feminist Revisions: Madonna
Vogue (voguing and gender performance/cross-dressing, fetishistic female image) -- 1990 MTV awards Super Bowl Medley 2012 (HD) Open your Heart (voyeurism)

15 Other Examples The Piano: Examples of Voyeurism
Mirror & Animal

16 The Oedipal Stage and the Symbolic Order
Second-stage split desire for the mother sublimated into desire for the unattainable “Other” Recognize the Name of the Father. (textbook chap 3: 63; chap 4: 164) Language as a system of difference (with no essential or unchanged meanings) (chap 4: p ; e.g. “woman” =femininity, fertility, lady, …etc.—all signifiers) the signified get repressed beyond recognition S-ier ------ S-ied

17 The self, the other, the Other (Lacan’s Schema L –revision of F’s triangle)
Id (man in the realm of ‘the Real’) the other (e.g. mother,mirror image) Ego the Other (Father) 2. Interactions of different forces in the psyche 1. From The Mirror Stage to Oedipal stage and after Imaginary relation The unconscious

18 the Other The Other is embodied in the figure of the symbolic father. Its major signifier: the phallus . . . stands for language and the conventions of social life organized under the category of the law. (source) (different from “the [feminine] Other”—which is the feminine space on the margin or outside of the Symbolic– Cf. chap. 4.)

19 II. Questions Why is gender definition slippery?
What is phallus to Lacan? Why is it “transcendental signifier”? Do you agree our desire centers around “being” or “having” phallus? Why is the unconscious structured like language?

20 Causes of Gender Fluidity and Unstable Self: Slippery Chain of Signification
Meaning of a sign is not in it; rather, it resides in its difference from the other signs. (textbook chap 3: 62; chap 4: 169) Sign = signifier (form) + signified (concept; usu. more than one) To determine its meaning(黃﹚, we need to look at its context (its differences from and relation to the signs around it 黃帝、黃禍、黃狗). Transcendental signifier: absolute sign whose meaning(s) does not change in its context; who fixes the chain of signification. (chap 4: 173)

21 Gender Difference Lacan’s analogy of the restroom signs: (chap 4: ) Arbitrary meaning structure determine gender difference Slippery chain 3. It speaks man

22 Phallus vs. Woman as Other
(chap 4: ) In the Symbolic Order, phallus = wholeness and power; wholeness  hole, in fact, nobody owns the phallus/power. Women as Lack, or ‘Other’ which can move outside of language and be in “jouissance” (transgressive pleasure)

23 the unconscious-- structured like language
supported by F’s view of repression (ideas repressed as codes) evidence from Freud’s language of Dream (condensation, displacement, symbolization); S/s : / = the barrier between the conscious and the unconscious, which resists being represented; / = the phallus. We are conditioned by the Symbolic order.  movement of our desire –like metonymy. (Cf. chap : 172)

24 Insatiable Desire: Need, Demand, and Desire (1)
(chap 3: 62) A child develops from need to demand and desire.// its movement from the Real, to the Imaginary and Symbolic. Need – requirements for brutal survival. (e.g. biological need for milk)  absence of the mother  the baby’s social, imaginary and linguistic functions evolve. the Real the Imaginary The Symbolic need demand desire

25 Effects of the three orders: Need, Demand, and Desire (2)
Demand: need formulated in language (with meanings; e.g. need for breast as good or bad). -- Demand has two objects: one spoken, the other unspoken. -- verbalization of imaginary subject-object, self-other relations (Grosz pp ) Desire: primally repressed wishes [for unity with the Mother or for self-confirmation] reappear in and as unconscious desire. -- insatiable; characterized by lack. (Grosz pp )

26 Desire: expressed as Demand of Different Objects (e.g. pacifier, receiving blanket, the mother’s handkerchief, etc.) The conflict or gap between one’s demand and need. The connection of the desired object and the demanded: metonymic connection = whole and parts, or continguity (鄰近).

27 Questions III Lacan thinks that both our desire and demand (for love) are insatiable, because there is always an otherness to it which cannot be represented in language, or because we ultimately desire an impossible unity with the lover/Mother. Do you agree?

28 Lacan’s Views of Love (1): a Mirage to Hide the Impossible
Why is there love? Because there is no sexual relationship. Love is the mirage that fills out the void of the impossibility of the relationship between the two sexes. Why impossible? Unity with the other and in one’s self. Demand = a demand for the unity of the self and the other “Love consists in a series of …demands for the proof of the other’s commitment. The proofs sought from the other are impossible, imaginary tests of love.” (G 132) The obstacles of love is actually internal, a fact which courtly or romantic lovers cannot face.

29 Lacan’s Views of Love (1): the Impossible
Examples: Woman: conflict between being a sexual object and a subject demanding recognition. As a sexual object, she “paints/shaves/dyes/diets/exercises her body, and clearly derives pleasure from compliments about her looks. Her whole body becomes a phallus to compensate for a genital ‘deficiency.’ (G 133) As subject, she ‘demands’ the man, his attention, affections, and his capacity to give her identity…

30 Lacan’s Views of Love (1): the Impossible
Examples: Man: conflict between desire and affection. When desiring a woman, he “explores, conquers and appreciates” her enigma as a phallus, which, once unveiled, is a lack and confronts the man with his own castration. After a period of familiarity, the mystery is gone and the sexual partner becomes more an object of affection than of desire. The man then turns to another woman for her recognition of his having a phallus. Note: Having phallus and being phallus, places in the circuit of exchange.

31 Lacan’s Views of Love (2): paradoxical fulfillment
For Lacan, love’s sublime moment occurs when the beloved enacts the metaphor of love, when he substitutes his position of the lover for that of the beloved object and starts to act in the same way the lover has so far acted it occurs when the beloved returns love by giving what he does not have. Beloved, realizing the real object-cause of the other’s love does not reside in me  beloved object (metonymy; what he does not have; lack)  can only return “love” (Bozovic 69; 77)

32 Reference Elizabeth Grosz Jacque Lacan: A Feminist Introduction
The Other (with a big O) Lacan and Love New Formations 23 (1994).

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