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The Mirror Stage



“Correlatively, the formation of the I is symbolized in dreams by a fortress, or a stadium — its inner arena and enclosure, surrounded by marshes and rubbish-tips, dividing it into two opposed fields of contest where the subject flounders in quest of the haughty and remote inner castle, which, in its shape (sometimes juxtaposed in the same scenario), symbolizes the id in startling fashion. Similarly, on the mental plane, we find realized the structures of fortified works, the metaphor of which arises spontaneously, and as if issuing from the symptoms themselves, to describe the mechanisms of obsessional neurosis — inversion, isolation, reduplication, cancellation and displacement.

But were we to build on this merely subjective data, and should this be detached from the experiential condition which would make us derive it from a language technique, our theoretical enterprise would remain exposed to the charge of projecting itself into the unthinkable of an absolute subject. That is why we have to find in the present hypothesis, grounded in a conjunction of objective data, the guiding grid for a method of symbolic reduction.”

P. Falanga
Lacan, Jacques. “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience.” In The Routledge Critical and Cultural Theory, edited by Neil Badmington and Julia Thomas. New York, NY:  Routledge, 2008.

CT+CR Collective

The Critical Theory and Creative Research Collective is devoted to socio-political critique, including the rethinking and recalibration of unstable, fast-changing relations between machine-generated data and human experience, theory and practice, the possible and the real, time and judgment, process and end-driven behavior. Its members include Anne-Marie Oliver, Barry Sanders, Marie-Pierre Hasne, Joan Handwerg, Nicole Smith, Marshall Astor, Carmen Denison, Peter Falanga, Andre Fortes, Dustin Freemont, Val Hardy, Lauren Heagerty, Hannah Horovitz, Evangelina Owens, Mel Ponis, Kevin Smith, Mohammed Usrof, Brooke Wendt, and Chloé Womack.

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