Sunday, March 01, 2015

I have a paper due, and it's probably too late to get any substantive help... but, help.

Can someone help me out here?? French psychologist Jacques Lacan has this idea that infants go through a critical developmental stage when they first recognize the figure in the mirror as themselves. In theory, this unified image of the self is an "ideal" -- something toward which they will wage a sisyphean struggle for the rest of their lives.

What about pre-mirror societies?  What about mirrorless homes?  Or homes there the mirror does not reach the ground and they don't have this critical mirror-moment until their ego is already developed? Why is the mirrored self "ideal?" So a child recognizes themself in the mirror, aaaaannd they have been looking at the human form and identifying with it since their eyes could focus. So, why is the self in the mirror so ideal that above and beyond any previous engagement with the human form it informs the trajectory of their life from that moment forward??

I ask because a number of other theories build on Lacan's ideas and I'm calling total bullshit on all of it because I don't get it. This is some flimsy shit. Seriously, what am I missing?


5 comments:

Don said...

You're not missing anything. That is some flimsy shit.

asha said...

I don't think you're missing anything. Seems to me you're seeing things other people missed. Good going!

Roy said...

I sort of get how an infant does normally reach a developmental stage where, if it encountered its own image in a mirror, it would recognize it as itself. Mirror not required--is that the sticking point?
It seems more like an accumulation of information about the world, combined with mental development, that allows the infant/child to figure out what a reflection is, and how it relates to real objects.
I certainly don't know anything about this stuff, but I would think the "ideal" is simply the formulation in the mind of an iconic "person," i.e. upright, 2 legs, 2 arms, body, head, 2 eyes about in the right place, etc. and the child understands the sameness, and you get your first stirrings of empathy.
And now, just before it becomes painfully obvious that I don't know what I'm talking about . . . I better sign off.

wendy-o williams said...

i gave a small pause, thinking about mirror-less societies. what constitutes a mirror? anything with a reflection, right? can a body of water be a mirror?
but still, yeah, seems pretty flimsy.
also, hi! glad you are still writing.

someone said...

ringing in late: nonsense. the emperor has no clothes.

miss you.

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