In the article, Lacan discusses the idea of the "I" complex. The idea he uses is that when children are little they are unable to comprehend most things in their world; however, they are able to recognize themselves in their reflections. Do you ever wonder why children are so fascinated with mirrors? It is because it is something that they recognize.
As the article progresses, Lacan develops his argument suggesting that you have to understand the reflection before you can understand the many attempts at replication in the world around us. It reminds me of Peter Pan, when Peter is attempting to reign in his shadow. He didn't understand what it was but felt that he wouldn't be able to do anything until he was able to control it (by sewing it to himself). This idea that we have to move away from the mirror is also similar to Plato's cave. In the Allegory of the cave, there are prisoners who are unable to move but can only see the distorted images on the wall. In Lacan's argument, there aren't distorted images, but there are the children (18 months) that are stuck in front of the mirror, unable to stand and walk away from their image but all they can do is lean closer and hope to make more clarity of the situation.
Where are we in relationship to the mirror? Are we still the small child trying to make sense of the only thing that we can see, ourselves? Or are we ready to look out into the world of replication and attempt to make sense of that?
2 years ago