Screen Cultures and Selves (Lecture 6)

LACAN – The Psyche

The Three Orders

  • The Real
  • The Imaginary
  • The Symbolic
  • Fred 3 parts of the psyche – Id, Superego, Ego
  • Form the way which we experience the world

What has this got to do with the media?

  • Triad: symbolic-real-imaginary → a system of perception + dialogue with the external world
  • Perception, subject formation, language and image are central in both psychoanalytic and media discourses
  • Theories of media are embedded with invocations of these three orders and a further concern with their interplay
  • Attempts to theorize media in terms of the intricate and slippery border between the internal and the external, discussions of language, image, sound

The Mirror Stage and The Symbolic Order100babymirror

  • No one can remember the first time that we see ourselves (birth of the subjectivity)
  • Mirror stage: a baby recognize itself in the mirror as a whole and to counteract the primordial sense of his fragmented body
  • The image itself in the mirror is described as the “Ideal-I”, it provides an image of wholeness which constitutes the ego
  • Realize human being – identify internal self with external image
  • Represents first encounter with subjectivity
  • Think about inner and outer
  • A baby starts to understand the external world and internal world are completely different

The Real

  • The state of nature
  • all about need (not desire)
  • A baby at the mirror stage started to understand what the real is
  • If he need something, he cries and does not care about what other think
  • If he wants to sleep, he sleeps; if he wants to shit, he shits
  • The only real that we experience is only 5-6 months

Lacan’s Sense of Jouissance – a mode of pure enjoyment, an absolute pleasure

  • Pleasure becomes pain
  • The subduing of the “lust”
  • External prohibition (not moral in society) – tell the baby that you cannot do that, which becomes painful

The Imaginary Order

  • Primarily narcissistic
  • Whereas needs can be fulfilled
  • Demand are never statisfy, we won’t get the things we want at life
  • A baby started to think the lack of things he need – a sense of something lost (lost state of nature)
  • Difference between “demand” and “desire” – the function of the symbolic order, is simply the acknowledgement of language, law, and community
  • Put the poster of pop star/film star on the wall – imagine he/she is yourself

The Imaginary

  • The imaginary becomes the internalized image of this ideal, whole, self and is situated around the notion

The Symbolic

  • A contrast to the imaginary
  • The imaginary is all about equations and identifications
  • The symbolic is about language and narrative
  • Once a child enters into language and accepts the rules and dictates of society, it is able to deal with others
  • Laws and restrictions that control both our desire and the rules of communication

These three things are all happen at the same time: to tell a baby to go to the toilet in a private room and lock the door, then he shame on himself and realize the real is dirty