Some thoughts on the Mirror Phase

The following was a note I wrote to myself today. I'm not sure where I had to stop writing it and do other stuff, and then when I came back to it, I had lost the thread. Be that as it may, I want to post something here for today, so I'm going to post my unfinished note.


Mirror Phase

So, we start from the image a person sees in the mirror. The subject recognizes this image as their own image, and the recognition of this image makes the subject happy. Then, the subject turns to the Other (parent) and seeks the Other's validation of their recognition of this image. If the Other approves/validates this recognition, the identification becomes more solidified. The subject becomes connected to/identified with and emotionally invested in their image, in their identity, an identity that the Other is interested in.

However, at some point, the subject loses the Other's attention. The Other's focus moves to someone or something else. Perhaps the Other's own body, their phone, a romantic partner, a sibling, etc. The subject then wonders, "Why does the Other pay attention to that and not to me? It must be because that is something that I don't... Oh my gosh! I'm missing something! I'm incomplete! This other thing that the Other is so interested in must have what I lack."

Seminar X: Anxiety, Lack & Object a

I'm reading Seminar X: Anxiety (Amazon), and I'm trying to grasp something that I believe is important: The way that object a is something that is not in the image and can't be 100% formalized but can be made into a semblance if we go through the image.

To put it differently, object a comes into being after the subject realizes they want something from the Other, something that is missing—the subject desires because of lack/absence (because of what is missing).

This is one way that object a has Being without having exitance (i.e., it can take the form of thought but lacks materiality).

Here are some things I've highlighted that might speak to what I'm trying to articulate above:

Man finds his home at the point [this object] located in the Other that lies beyond the image from which we are fashioned. (p. 47)

People look to the Other to validate their image of themselves, to tell them their identity is the sort of identity the Other approves of.

As I've indicated to you, the presence in question is that of the [object] a, the object in the function that it fulfills in the fantasy.

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