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张在新

John Zaixin Zhang

 
 
 

日志

 
 

Grosz on Lacan  

2007-06-24 23:29:50|  分类: 心理分析 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Lacan on the Real, the Imaginary and the Symbolic

 Grosz, Elizabeth. Jaques Lacan: A Feminist Introduction. London: Routledge,    1990.

Lacan, Jaques. Ecrits: A Selection, Tavistock, 1977. [Lacan 1977a]

 32

      “The mirror stage is conditioned on:

      1. The child’s first recognition of a distinction between itself and the (m)other/mirror-image (self-as-other);

      2. The recognition of lack or absence, whether this is the absence of the mother, or an absence of gratification of needs.

      3. Displacing the child’s dependence on the (m)other with a self-reliance. The mirror stage is a compensation for the child’s acceptance of lack. It provides a promise or anticipation of (self)mastery and control the subject lacks, and which the mother provisionally covered over in gratifying the child’s needs.”

 33

      “Lacan argues that the mirror stage is grounded in a ‘biological prematurity’; it is based on an ‘anatomical incompleteness’ or ‘organic insufficiency’ (1977a: 4), which the child attempts to fill by means of an identification with the image of an other. Its biologically ‘premature’ birth, its organic dependence on others for its survival, its long-term ‘unease and motor unco-ordination’ indicate that the subject (-to-be) is vitally dependent on the (m)other for both physical and psychical survival for a longer period than other animals, whose existence is instinctively regulated.”

      “In place of the survival value of instinctual behaviour, the human must rely on language (which distinguishes it from animals). Language and law regulate its (social) existence. Lacan sees these two elements – our ‘unnatural’ natures, and our necessarily social existence – as two sides of the one coin. The social and linguistic orders function in place of the instinctual in human existence.”

      “For many months, the child remains physiologically incapable of controlling its bodily movements and behaviour, ‘stuck in his motor incapacity and nurseling dependency’ (Lacan 1977a: 2). Its body is an unco-ordinated aggregate, a series of parts, zones, organs, sensations, needs, and impulses rather than an integrated totality.”

 The Real (0-6 months) – not reality, but fragmentation

 34

      The child is born into the order of the Real, the order preceding the ego and organization of the drives. The Real is “a pure plenitude or fullness. The Real cannot be experience as such: it is capable of representation or conceptualization only through the reconstructive or inferential work of the imaginary and symbolic orders… The Real is not however the same as reality; reality is lived as and known through imaginary and symbolic representations.”

      “The child experiences its body as fragmented. Some parts of its body are more perceptually available to it than others. The sensations coming from its hands are more developed, for example, than those from its feet for many weeks, due to the later myelinization of nerve fibres. The right hand matures more quickly than the left (cf. Merleau-Ponty 1964: 123). The body matures unevenly, forming the basis of the child’s experience of ‘the body-in-bits-and-pieces.’ This image helps explain adult fantasies of corporeal disintegration or decomposition manifested in dreams of dismemberment and peculiar bodily organization (Lacan 1977a: 4-5).”

      “The child forms a syncretic unity with the mother, and cannot distinguish between itself and its environment. It has no awareness of its own corporeal boundaries... It cannot recognize the absence of the mother (or breast). Freud mentions the baby’s hallucinatory reactivation of its previous perceptions of satisfaction where the Real object of satisfaction (e.g. milk) is absent. Sucking re-evokes in hallucinated form the feeling of contentment from milk even in the absence of milk (Freud 1911b: 219).”

 Imaginary (6-18 months) – the order of images, representations, doubles

 34-5

      “The child’s recognition of absence is the pivotal moment around which the mirror stage revolves… [35] Only at this moment does it become capable of distinguishing itself from the ‘outside’ world, and thus of locating itself in the world. Only when the child recognizes or understands the concept of absence does it see that it is not ‘one,’ complete in itself, merged with the world as a whole and the (m)other. In other words, its recognition that the world as a whole is not its own. This marks the primitive ‘origins’ of the child’s separation of inside and outside, subject and object, self and other, and a number of other conceptual oppositions which henceforth structure its adult life.”

 35

      “The child loses the ‘pure plenitude’ of the Real and is now constituted within the imaginary (i.e. the order of images, representations, doubles, and others) in its specular identifications.”

      “Dating from around six months, the mirror stage lasts until around eighteen months and is only, if ever, dissolved with the oedipus complex.”

 36

      “A drawing or photograph may be even more pleasing than what it represents. The child joyously celebrates the recognition of its peculiar image or the form of others.”

      Henri Wallon “suggests that an infant smiles in recognition of its father’s image in the mirror. When the father speaks to the child, the child seems shocked and turns from the image towards the father supporting him. The child is surprised that the voice emanates from a different place to the image. This indicates that it has not yet grasped the differences and connection between its father’s physical presence and his specular reflection.”

 38

      “The child’s recognition of its own image means that it has adopted the perspective of exteriority on itself. The capacity of representing oneself to oneself, mirror-reversals, the obsession with symmetry, and the division of the subject into both subject and/or object are later reactivated in the dreams of adults or, in a more extreme form, in psychoses (1977a: 4).”

 39

      “The sense of sight is the only one of the senses that directs the child to a totalized self-image.”

 39-40

      “The child sees itself as a unified totality, a gestalt in the mirror; it experiences itself in a schism, as a site of fragmentation. The child’s identification with its specular image impels it nostalgically to seek an anticipatory or desired (ideal or future) identity in the coherence of the totalized specular image. Lacan claims that the child is now enmeshed in a system of confused recognition/misrecognition: it sees an image of itself that is both accurate (since it is an inverted reflection, the presence of light rays emanating from the child: the image as icon); as well as delusory (since the image prefigures a unity and mastery that the child still lacks). It is the dual, ambivalent relation to its own image that is central to Lacan’s account of subjectivity. If the child simply recognizes the image, we would have another version of Freud’s realist view of the ego – an ego essentially in contact with reality. But if, on the other hand, the [40] child merely misrecognizes its image, it is the subject of error and falsehood, unable to produce knowledge, a subject of ideology. Instead, Lacan posits a divided, vacillating attitude that is incapable of a final resolution. This ‘divided’ notion of self and the problem of self-recognition are crucial in so far as they may explain processes of social inculcation and positioning. Neither ignorant nor aware of its own socialization, the child must be both induced to accept social norms and values as natural, and yet to function as an agent within a social world, an agent who has the capacity for rebellion against and rejection of its predesignated social place.”

 40

      “The child identifies with an image of itself that is always also the image of another.”

      “Lacan posits two ‘poles’ or functions around which the ego is oriented – an affairement jubilatoire, and a connaissance paranoiaque, that is, between a joyful, affirmative self-recognition (in which the ego anticipated the unity of its image), and a paranoiac knowledge produced by a split, misrecognizing subject. In short, the ego is torn between the demand for pleasure, gratification, and self-aggrandizement; and a jealousy and frustration Lacan sees in terms of an intra-subjective aggressivity.”

 40-1

      “This frustration is a function of the inevitable awkward, uncontrolled relation the child has to, and in, its disunified, incapable body:

       What I have called the mirror stage is interesting in that it manifests the effective dynamism by which the subject originally identifies himself with the visual Gestalt of his own body: in relation to the still very     profound lack of co-ordination of his own mobility, it represents an ideal unity, a salutary imago; it is [41] invested with all the original distress resulting from the child’s intra-organic and relational discordance during   the first six months…. (Lacan 1977a: 19)

 41

      “The child identifies with an image that is manifestly different from itself, though it also clearly resembles it in some respects. It takes as its own an image which is other, an image which remains out of the ego’s control. The subject, in other words, recognizes itself at the moment it loses itself in / as the other. This other is the foundation and support of its identity, as well as what destablizes or annihilates it. The subject’s ‘identity’ is based on a (false) recognition of an other as the same. (Is this the ‘origin’ of phallocentrism?)”

       “Lacan cites the work of Charlotte Bühler and the Chicago School on the psychotic (in adults) but ‘normal’ (in children) phenomenon of transitivism (1977a: 17; and 1953)….” Bühler “discusses the relation of transitivism between pairs of children whose ages are relatively close but separated by at least three months. She documents pairs of children in the appropriate age categories playing dichotomous roles without direct consultation. For example, one child is active, the other passively looks on at his or her antics; or one occupies the role of master, the other takes on the position of the slave. In these cases we have a kind of complementary transitivism. The roles of maser and slave, actor and audience, doctor and patient are complementary, a relation of active to passive. There is also commonly a transitivism of similarity, where one child imitates the behaviour of the other (cf. Spitz 1965). For example, when one child is punished the other also cries. In both cases, the identity of the one remains indistinct from, confused with, the other.

 42

      For Lacan,

       It is in this erotic relation, in which the human individual fixed upon      himself an image that alienates him from himself, that are to be found the energy and form on which this organisation of the passions that he will   call ego is based. (1977a: 19)

       “The mirror stage both affirms and denies the subject’s separateness from the other. If we look more directly at the privileged stage for the acting out of the drama of the mirror stage – that is, at the mother-child relation, in which the mother takes on the position of specular image and the child that of incipient ego, the mirror stage is an effect of the discord between the gestalt of the mother, a total, unified, ‘complete’ image, and the subjective, spatially dislocated, positionless, timeless, perspectiveless, immersing turmoil the child experiences. The mirror stage is a necessarily alienating structure because of the unmediated tension between the fragmented or ‘fragilized’ body of experience; and the ‘solidity’ and permanence of the body as seen in the mirror.”

 43

      “If it places the subject’s tumultuous, unlocatable experiences within its corporeal boundaries and organs, the mirror-stage also engenders social relations with others with whom the subject identifies. These two effects are not clearly separable, particularly if the metaphor of the mirror represents the child’s relation to the mother. It is by identifying with and incorporating the image of the mother that it gains an identity as an ego. The image is always the image of another. Yet the otherness of the other is not entirely alien. The subject, to be a subject at all, internalizes otherness as its condition of possibility. It is thus radically split, unconscious of the processes of its own production, divided by lack and rupture. The ego illusorily sees itself as autonomous and self-determined, independent of otherness. It feels itself to be its own origin, unified and developed in/by nature. There is thus a form of fixity built upon misrecognized dependencies. It is an attempt to arrest rigidly the tensions of the opposition between the fragmented perceived body and the unified, specular body.”

 43-4

      The imaginary anatomy

      “Lacan’s account of the founding role of what he calls ‘the imaginary anatomy’ is perhaps one of the most productive and under-developed features of his work. The body as it is perceived or experienced by the child is the fragmented [44] body-in-bits-and-pieces. This is an uncoordinated, discrete assemblage of parts exhibiting no regulated organization or internal cohesion. Out of this largely biological chaos of neuronal prematurity will be constructed a lived anatomy, a psychic/libidinal map of the body which is organized not by the laws of biology but along the lines of parental or familial significations and fantasies about the body – fantasies (both private and collective) of the body’s organization. Bound up within parental fantasies long before the child is even born, the child’s body is divided along lines of special meaning or significance, independent of biology. The body is lived in accordance with an individual’s and a culture’s concepts of biology.”

      To illustrate the existence of an autonomous body-schema, Lacan cites the phenomena of the phantom limb and hysteria. The limb that has been surgically removed continues to induce sensations of pain in the area where it used to be. While this pain cannot be located in the ‘real’ anatomy of the body, it inhabits the space occupied by the imaginary body. The absence of a limb can constitute a narcissistic investment as readily as its presence. The phantom limb is a symptom of mourning for the lost bodily totality.”

 45

      “Hysterical paralyses follow a ‘logic’ that relates more to the body’s visible form than its biological makeup. An arm that is hysterically paralysed will, in all likelihood, be paralysed from a joint – shoulder, elbow, or wrist – rather than from muscular groupings as would occur in the case of physical injury. The hysteric’s symptoms approximate what a culture and individuals conceive anatomy to be, rather than what it is.”

 46-7

      “Relations between self and other thus govern the imaginary order. This is the domain in which the self is dominated by images of the other and seeks its identity in a reflected relation with alterity. Imaginary relations are thus two-person relations, where the self sees itself reflected in the other. This dual, imaginary relation – usually identified with the pre-oedipal mother-child relationship – although structurally necessary, is an ultimately stifling and unproductive relation. The dual relationship between mother and child is a dyad trapping both participants within a mutually defining structure. Each strives to have the other, an [47] ultimately, to be the other in a vertiginous spiral from one term or identity to the other. In Lacan’s view, this is an effect, ultimately, of the child’s biological prematurity and dependence on the mother. He refuses to understand its constricting force as a product of a specifically patriarchal containment of women in maternity, which supposedly satisfies all their desires but gives women no autonomy as women. Therein lies the limit of imaginary identifications. There is no way out of the vacillation between two positions and the identification of each with the other (‘s desire). Each strives to fill the impossible lack in/of the other. The I truly is an other.”

 47

      “The dual imaginary relation needs to be symbolically regulated or mediated. This occurs with the help of a term outside this dual structure, a third position beyond the mother-child dyad. This ‘third’ term’ is the Father; not the real, or rather, the imaginary father, who is a person, an other, to whom the child may relate. The imaginary father usually takes on the symbolic function of law, but in any case these laws and prohibitions must be culturally represented or embodied for the child by some authority figure. It is generally the father who takes on the role of (symbolic) castrator and the Name-of-the-Father.”

      “Through the ‘name-of-the-father’, the child is positioned beyond the structure of dual imaginary relations within the broader framework of culture, where genuine exchange may become possible (exchange requires the third term, the object exchanged between the subject and the other). However, the resolution of the oedipus complex or the assumption of the name-of-the-father, is rarely if ever entirely successful. The imaginary returns, being only partially or unsuccessfully repressed, resurfacing in both pathological and ‘normal’ forms in adult life as symptoms, dreams, and amorous relations, in those relations where the self strives to see itself in the other.”

 48

      “In this outline, Lacan displaces the ego as the central and most secure component of the individual, unsettling the presumptions of a fixed, unified, or natural core of identity, and the subject’s capacity to know itself and the world. The certainty the subject brings with it in its claims to knowledge is not, as Descartes argues, a guaranteed or secure foundation for knowledge. It is a function of the investment the ego has in maintaining certain images which please it. Rather than a direct relation of recognition of reality, the ego only retains a pre-medi(t)ated, i.e., imaginary or preconstructed, Real.”

 49

      Attempts to universalize and naturalize the subject, taking the modern forms of western (male) individual as norm, characterize most contemporary science. But if, as Lacan argues, the subject is constituted as such by processes of internalization, introjection, projection, and identification, then there cannot be a universal, general subject, but only concrete, specific subjects who are produced within a concrete socio-symbolic and family structure.”

 Oedipus - 18 months or older

 Symbolic – language, signification

 50

      “The ego or sense of self – which Lacan designates as moi, a me, the self as object/other – is precipitated in a game (le jeu), through which an I (je), that is, the self as subject, is formed. The game of mirror-doubles is the child’s attempt to master its own lack (the absence of a fixed or given identity) through a libidinal investment in its own specular image…. The mirror stage positions the child within a physical, psychical, and familial space, but it does not empower the child to act as an agent or subject in a larger linguistic and economic community. In other words, while the child remains bound to the other as its double, it cannot participate in social or symbolic exchange with others.”

 50-1

      “Lacan claims that if the child and mother form an enclosed, mutually defined relation, relations with a third, independent term become impossible. (This may be what Guillaume and others have described as the ‘eighth month anxiety syndrome’.) The unmediated two-person structure of imaginary identifications leaves only two possibilities for the child, between which it [51] vacillates but cannot definitely choose: being overwhelmed by the mother, crowded out, taken over (the fantasy of the devouring mother/voracious child); and the wretched isolation and abandonment of all self-worth by the other’s absence or neglect (the fantasy of the bad or selfish mother/child).

 51

      “I will examine Lacan’s account of the child’s acquisition of a symbolic, and thus a social, verbal, and economic, position within culture.”

      “”Freud developed two quite different accounts of the development of infantile sexuality… These two accounts of infantile sexuality can be called the seduction theory and the oedipal theory. The first posits the intrusion of an external, alien sexuality which initiates the child (usually ‘prematurely’) into adult forms of sexuality; the second is a developmental and quasi-biological account of the various infantile stages of endogenous sexual maturation… It is at the intersection of these two views that Lacan develops his own understanding of the acquisition of social identity and a speaking position.”

 52

      “Freud develops the theory that hysterical repression results in a ‘symbol-formation’, capable of representing the trauma or seduction. He elaborates this with the help of an enigmatically brief case study of Emma:

       Emma is subject at the present time to a compulsion of not being able to    go to shops alone [agoraphobia]. As a reason for this she produced a memory from the time when she was 12 years old (shortly after puberty). She went into a shop to buy something, saw the two shop-assistants (one    of whom she can remember) laughing together and ran away in some    kind of affect of fright. In connection with this, she was led to recall that the two men were laughing at her clothes and that one of them had pleased her sexually…

      On two occasions when she was a child of eight she had gone into a    shop to buy sweets and the shopkeeper had grabbed at her genitals   through her clothes… (Freud 1895: 353-4)

 53

      “Emma’s neurotic symptoms are a consequence of two scenes. The first occurred when she was eight: it is a scene of ‘seduction’ or rather, sexual attack. An innocent child is ‘seduced’ or attacked by a sexually mature adult. This first scene is not necessarily considered sexual by the child, given her (or less frequently, his) sexual naivety and lack of understanding. Nor does it provoke a traumatic response at the time of its occurrence. As Freud suggests in a letter to Fliess, ‘Although sexual in terms of objectivity, it has no sexual connotation for the subject, it is “resexually sexual”’ (Letter 30, quoted by Laplanche and Pontalis 1968: 4).”

      “The second scene, when she is twelve, occurs after the onset of puberty, and is in no way traumatic. Nothing happens in this scene that could constitute a trauma. It is related to the first scene by two seemingly trivial similarities – ‘laughter’ and ‘clothes’. It is only after this second scene that her symptom appears. The second scene provokes a traumatic reaction only because it has the power to retroactively recall the first scene. In short, intervening at some time between the first and second scene, the child comes to know, or be able to understand, the meaning of the first scene. The memory of this scene has been repressed or removed from consciousness. When the second scene occurs, and recalls the first, the child reacts retrospectively to the latter’s meaning. The intervention of the processes of sexual maturation associated with puberty intensifies and makes meaningful an event which had little or no meaning at the time of its occurrence, and which remained dormant until the second reactivated it or provided it with an innocuous mode of expression.”

 54

      “Freud writes to Fliess in 1897 that ‘I no longer believe in my neurotica…’, thus ‘officially’ abandoning the seduction theory to replace it with an early account of infantile sexuality…. By 15 October, he had begun the first outline of what would become the theory of the Oedipus complex…. His account of he development of sexuality thus dramatically shifts from a sexuality imposed from outside by a sexually threatening adult (usually a father, uncle, or brother); to an account of a sexual desire emanating from the child who fantasizes or desires seduction, albeit in infantile terms.”

 59-60

      “Need, demand, and desire are expressions or effects of the orders of human existence Lacan defines as the Real, the imaginary, and the symbolic. These three orders are the ‘raw materials’ of psychoanalysis. The child’s ‘development’ from need to demand and desire is congruous with its movement out of the Real and into the imaginary and symbolic.”

      “Need is the experiential counterpart to nature. Need comes as close to instincts as is possible in human existence. Needs are more or less universal or constant in human life, they are the requirements of brute survival: nourishment, shelter, warmth, freedom of movement, a minimal community and so on. They require objects [60] whose attainment is the precondition of the individual’s survival and well-being. Need requires real, tangible objects for its satisfaction. Milk, for example, satisfies the child hunger needs or instincts, even if feeding must occur in cyclical movements of deprivation / hunger and satisfaction / satiation.

 60

      “When the child recognizes the absence of the mother, biological or instinctual need becomes converted into social, imaginary, and linguistic functions.”

      The Fort! Da! game:

      “Freud observed his young grandson playing a game with a cotton reel. The boy throws the reel outside his cot, uttering a sound approximating the German for ‘gone’ (fort); then, to his delight he draws it back by holding on to the thread, accompanying his actions with the term for ‘here’ (da). The child’s earliest entry into verbalization is in fact closer to the articulation of a primitive binary opposition... The child symbolically represents the perceived loss of the mother by the cotton reel and, in turn, represents the cotton reel (already a representation of a representation) by the binary pair of elementary phonemes. Following Freud, Lacan interprets this as the child’s attempt to control the mother’s presence and absence through language, substituting a linguistic relation, which it may control, for the mother’s presences and absences, which it does not control. The game converts the child’s passivity into activity through language and play.”

     “A relation of pure difference between linguistic signifiers, the opposition between ‘ooo’ and ‘aaa’, replaces the child’s immediate or lived relation to the mother’s presences and absences. Signification insinuates itself in place of the absent object.”

 61

      “Language is substituted for the satisfaction of need, which is consequently transformed into demand. It has become fundamentally insatiable. Instead of the need, which is represented by its ‘natural sign’, the indeterminate cry, demand is always formulated in language. Demand takes the form of the statement, ‘I want…’ or the command ‘Give me…’. In Lacan’s understanding, the demand is always transitive for it is always directed to an other (usually the mother). By being articulated in language, a language always derived and learned from the (m)other, demand is always tied to otherness. The other to whom demand is addressed is the imaginary other, the alter-ego or double precipitated in the mirror phase.”

      Demand “converts the need from a quasi-biological status to a linguistic, interpersonal, and social phenomenon.”

      “Demand always has two objects, one spoken, the other unspoken: the object or thing demanded (this or that object), and the other to whom the demand is ostensibly addressed. The thing demanded – food, attention, a ‘cure’ from the analyst, the undying lover of another – are all relatively insignificant, or rather, they function as excuses for access to the second object, the (m)other. The thing demanded is a rationalization for maintaining a certain relation to the other…. Demand requires the affirmation of an ego by the other to such a degree that only an imaginary union or identification with them, an identity they share, could bring satisfaction – and only then with the annihilation of the self, for it is now invaded by and exists as the other.”

 62

      “The child thus addresses a series of demands to the mother. She may respond to them with a variety of specified objects, but none will satisfy the child’s wants. One demanded toy, for example, is rapidly replaced by another, and the entire list of substitute objects is ultimately unsatisfying. The child wants everything, an impossible plenitude; it wants to be filled by the other, to be the other, which is why no determinate thing will do. It demands a love that paradoxically entails its own annihilation, for it demands a fullness of the other to stop up the lack that conditions its existence as a subject.”

 64

      “The demand for food is not simply the demand for satisfaction of nutritive need. It is also a demand for love. The demand operates in the interplay of the demanded object, and the other who, in delivering up the object, affirms the subject as loved.”

      “Hegel posits desire as a lack and absence. Desire is a fundamental lack, a hole in being that can be satisfied only by one ‘thing’ – another’s desire. Each self-conscious subject desires the desire of the other as its object. Its desire is to be desired by the other, its counterpart. Following Hegel, Lacan assumes a concept of desire as the difference or gap separating need from demand. Desire participates in elements of both need and demand: it re-establishes the specificity and concreteness of the satisfaction of need; while it participates in demand’s orientation to the other.”

 65

      Demand is “submitted to an interpersonal and familial pressure that prefigures social morality and the norms governing the superego. It is thus proto-social, for the other is the child’s first point of access to the social. Desire threatens to subvert the unity and certainty of conscious demand. As unconscious, desire cares little for social approval or the rewards and punishments consciousness offers to demand. Desire is concerned only with its own processes, pleasures, and internal logic, a logic of the signifier.”

 66

      “Demand is a verbalization of imaginary subject-object, self-other relations. Desire opens the subject to a broader world of signification or infinite semiosis: a world in which it has access to systems of meaning unregulated by any individual or group, and unrestricted in the range of its possible messages. Desire thus institutes a new relation to and in language. Demand initiates the child into the categories and terms of discourse, but it does not position the subject in a stable enunciative position as a speaker or discursive ‘I’. In regulating its primitive entry into language and coupling this with the mechanism of repression, desire marks he child’s entry into the domain of the Other – the domain of law and language, law-as-language. The symbolic is the domain or order of the signifier’s primacy over the subject.”

 67

      “Like demand, desire is in principle insatiable. It is always an effect of the Other, an ‘other’ with whom it cannot engage, in so far as the Other is not a person but a place, the locus of law, language, and the symbolic. The child must find his or her place within this order to become a speaking being.

 68

      The Symbolic order

      “Within the confines of the nuclear family, this order is initiated by a third family member – the father – who most easily (because, presumably, of his frequent absence from day-to-day nurturing rather than from any biological necessity) can represent law, order, and authority for the child. It is not, however, the real or genetic father, but the imaginative father who acts as an incarnation or delegate of the Symbolic Father. In the case of his absence or failure to take up the Symbolic function, other authority figures – the teacher, headmaster, policeman, or ultimately, God, - may take his place in instilling in the child the sense of lawfulness and willing submission to social customs.”

      “Freud described the father’s (construed or real) intervention into the mother-child relation as ‘the oedipus complex’. The father regulates the child’s demands and its access to the mother by prohibiting (sexual) access to her.”

      The child renounces his desire of the mother “because of his fear of the organ’s loss, i.e., because of the father’s authority and power as ‘possessor’ of the phallus.”

 69

      “The father’s authority over women and children is a consequence of his usurpation of the immediacy of the mother’s (‘umbilical’) authority over the child. His name and law supplant the blood and matter of the mother’s connection to the child.”

 70

      “While agreeing with Freud that the castration complex is the pivot of the child’s entry into culture, Lacan confirms Freud’s conflation of patriarchy with culture in general, yet he refuses to see women as castrated in any Real or anatomical sense. The mother is denigrated from her position as the all-powerful phallic mother, not because of the child’s perception of an anatomical lack. Instead, the child perceives her powerlessness in terms of the mother’s relation (of desire for, of subordination) to the father.”

 70-1

      … we should concern ourselves not only with the sway in which the    mother accommodates herself to the person of the father, but [71] also with the way she takes his speech, the word let us say, of his authority, in other words, in the place that she reserves for the Name-of-the-Father    in the promulgation of the law. (Lacan 1977a: 218)

 71

      “The mother carries the Law of the Father within her, in the very form of her unconscious desire (for the phallus). She invokes ‘his’ authority on loan whenever she threatens or punishes the child for wrong-doing. She requires the authority of he who is absent. Thus she does not lack in any anatomical sense. This is to attribute lack to the Real, which, as Lacan defines it, is the ‘lack of the lack’, a pure, unspeakable, pre-representational plenitude. Instead, she is positioned in relation to a signifier, the phallus, which places her in the position of being rather than having (the phallus, the object of the other’s desire).”

      “The child’s sacrifice of its primary love-object in conformity with the law must be compensated, (more for boys, less for girls!) by means of the acquisition of a position, a place as a subject in culture. The child becomes a subject only with reference to the name-of-the-father and the sacrificed, absent body of the mother: ‘It is the name-of-the-father that we must recognize as the support of the symbolic function, which, from the dawn of history as identified his person with the figure of the law’ (Lacan 1977a: 67).

      “In introjecting the name-of-the-father, the child (or rather, the boy) is positioned with reference to the father’s name. He is now bound to the law, in so far as he is implicated in the symbolic ‘debt’, given a name, and an authorized speaking position.”

 71-2

      “What occurs in the case of the girl is less clear and explicable. In one sense, in so far as she speaks and says ‘I’, she too must take up a place as a subject of the symbolic; yet, in another, in so far as she is positioned as castrated, passive, an object of desire for men rather than a subject who [72] desires, her position within the symbolic must be marginal or tenuous; when she speaks as an ‘I’ it is never clear that she speaks (of or as) herself. She speaks in a mode of masquerade, in imitation of the masculine, phallic subject. Her ‘I’, then, ambiguously signifies her position as a (pale reflection of the) masculine subject, or it refers to a ‘you’, the (linguistic) counterpart of the masculine ‘I’.”

      “The symbolic father is the (ideal) embodiment of paternal authority, the locus from which patriarchal law and language come.”

 73

      The Es = ‘id’ or ‘it’.

 74

      “In the mirror stage (represented by the triangle, Es-autre-moi), the child enters an imaginary relation with the other, with others, including the mother, father, nurturer, or mirror-image (represented by autre). This autre is the ‘real’ (i.e. imaginary) other, a concrete individual, and not here a delegate or agent of the Other. The mirror stage generates the child’s ego or moi, which is built upon its imaginary identification with the other. The moi is necessarily caught up in / as the other. The Other (represented by Autre) enters the oedipal triangle as a point outside the dual imaginary structure. As the law of symbolic functioning, the Other is embodied in the figure of the symbolic father, who intervenes into the narcissistic, imaginary, and incestual structure of identification and gratification… The locus of the Other is at the same time that site within the subject known as the unconscious, (hence the direct connection between Autre and Es). Through this interaction, the Es now represents, not the id, but the ‘I’, the subject of the discourse of the unconscious.”

      “Lacan stresses throughout his work that the sexual drive cannot be assimilated to the instinct or any natural or biological process. For one thing, he argues that biological instincts always follow rhythmical or cyclical patterns of deprivation or lack and temporary satisfaction, while the drive ‘has no day or night, no spring and autumn, no rise and fall. It is a constant force’ (1977b: 165).”

 75

      “The drive is indifferent to its object: it is not an object that satisfies it, for this object reveals only another want, another satisfaction for which it yearns:

       Even when you stuff the mouth – the mouth that opens in the register of     the drive – it is not the food that satisfies it, it is, as one says, the    pleasure of the mouth… it is obvious that it is not a question of food, nor      the memory of food, nor the echo of food, nor the mother’s care, but of       something that is called the breast…. (1977b: 168)

      “The ‘object’ providing satisfaction is not the object of the drive… The object of satisfaction is represented by Lacan’s formulaic expression, the objet a. The objet a is not the drive’s objekt, but the cause of desire.”

 116

      “The processes by which the phallus, a signifier, becomes associated with the penis, an organ, involves the procedures by which women are systematically excluded form positive self-definition and a potential autonomy.”

      “The misappropriation of the penis by the phallus is delineated step-by-step in the relations between need, demand, and desire outlined earlier. The penis is removed from its merely anatomical and functional role within (‘natural’) need, (where its organic role for the little boy lies in urination in the first instance, and insemination, in the second), to the role of object, the objet a, in a circuit of demand addressed to the (m)other. It is then capable of taking on the symbolic role of signifier at the level of desire, an object of unconscious phantasy.”

      “Because the penis and the phallus are (albeit illusorily) identified, women are regarded as castrated. By its presence or absence, the penis becomes the defining characteristic of both sexes.”

 117

      “The Real, where the vagina, clitoris, or vulva have the same ontological status and functional utility as the penis and testicles, must be displaced and recoded if women’s bodies are to be categorized as necessarily incomplete. The narcissistic imaginary order mediates between the Real, in which there is no lack, and the symbolic, where women represent for men a lack men have disavowed. It is during the identificatory blurring of self and other that (from the boy’s point of view, at least), the penis becomes regarded as a ‘detachable’ organ, along the lines of the fantasy of the body in bits-and-pieces. The detachable penis, the penis that the mother once had, prefigures the function of the phallus. It produces the penis as an object of signification, rather than a biological organ. It represents what some ‘possess’ and others have lost, becoming the term through which the child comes to recognize sexual difference.”

“The imaginary object – the detachable penis – becomes an element in the symbolic circuit of exchange when it comes to stand as the link or bridge between the two sexes… It becomes a signifier within a signifying system, and cannot thus be possessed or owned by anyone.”

“The phallus is both the signifier of the differences between the sexes and the signifier which effects lack and thus difference…. For both sexes, though in quite different ways, the phallus serves as a means of access to the ‘domain of the Other’. The Other is understood here in two senses: as a socio-symbolic network regulated according to language-like rules; and as a psychical structure, representative of this social Other, internalized in the form of the unconscious.”

 118

      “Even in Lacan’s terms, the penis can only ever approximate the function of the phallus. ‘Having’ a penis, i.e. being a man, is no guarantee of warding off lack… Without circulation, without the mediation of the other and the Other, no one has access to it. As a signifier, no one has a privileged or unique relation to it, for it exists only by virtue of the entire signifying chain and an intersubjective, multi-subjective, symbolically regulated social order. It functions only through the Other and the other, and this makes clear its divergence from the male biological organ.”

      “The fetishist’s relation to the phallus makes clear the socio-linguistic/symbolic investment in the phallus. The fetishist demands that the mother have a genital organ the same as his own. By this demand, he falsifies or disavows his perception of female genitals. Disavowal is the simultaneous affirmation and denial of perception. It is a common mode of defence against undesired perceptions (e.g. the oedipal boy disavows women’s castration by simply refusing to believe what he sees). The fetishist is the adult who, because of his attachment to the fetish, is ‘saved’ from psychosis (which is the more typical consequence of disavowal in adults). The fetishist demands that the mother have a genital organ the same as his own. His disavowal functions to ward off threats to his own organ, threats which force him to acknowledge the possibility of its loss. In place of the missing maternal phallus, he will position the fetish (shoe, raincoat, underwear, etc.). The substitutability of the fetish for the maternal phallus is not the effect of a simple coincidence in reality (there is little or no resemblance between the maternal phallus and, say, the raincoat), but is always an effect of signification in so far as the phallus is already a signifier. The link between the fetish and the phallus is always already a signifying relation.”

 119

      “By means of the desire of the other, the male comes to be affirmed as possessing or having the phallus.”

      “Women, the mother in particular, must therefore be construed as not having, that is, lacking the phallus in order for men to be regarded as having it. Women desire the penis as castrated subjects; men can offer them the sexual organ, object of desire, as a means of secondary access to phallic status. The (imaginary, detachable) penis is not a representation or sign of the phallus.… The penis, in other words, does not have the sole right of alignment with the phallus. Not only does the penis act as if it were the ‘meaning of the phallus’, a series of substitute objects are also capable of taking on this function: a baby (in the equation of penis = baby. Cf. Freud 1917a: 128-9, 132-3); the whole of a woman’s body (in narcissism, 1914a); and parts of her body (in hysteria, 1900: 387, 390). The penis, as imaginary object is already bound up with signification. It is itself already a signifier, and as such, can function as a metonymic displacement of the phallus.”

 120

      “Shoes, in Harry’s case [Harry was a fetishist], or shiny noses in the case discussed by Freud (1927a), do not function as signs by virtue of their resemblance to the penis. The penis already functions as a signifier, an imaginary object, from the moment the boy attributes it to the mother. The fetish is thus not based on a none-to-one representation of the penis, any more than, in Freud’s example, a pore of the skin can represent a vagina (1914c)…. The child’s perception of the mother’s lack, and his symbolic use of the last object seen before witnessing the mother’s ‘absence’, including shoes, stockings, underwear, fur, etc. – (those objects the child is likely to see when looking up at his mother) does not adequately explain fetishism. The relation between the maternal phallus and the fetish is not Real. As Freud saw in his analysis of he fetishist who was attracted to shiny noses, the connection is purely verbal, a relation entirely within signification.”

 121

      “The penis takes on the function of the phallus only because it is a mark or trace that is able to signify, indeed, produce, the exclusion of half the population. From being a Real organ, the penis becomes an imaginary object dividing the sexes according to its presence or absence, possessed by some, desired by others; it then functions as a symbolic object (an object of exchange or union) between the sexes…. In different socio-political structures, the phallus seems to function as the signifier of the presence and absence of access to power and self-definition.”

      “The phallus thus distributes access to the social categories invested with various power relations…. In our culture, the presence and absence of the penis serves to differentiate one sex from another, according to the interests of one of them. It can thus, if interpreted socio-politically, be seen to represent some of the ways in which subjects are positioned in different locations within a hierarchized social geography.”

      “For Lacan, the phallus is the ‘signifier of signifiers’, the term which defines each subject’s access to the symbolic order. It is an emblem of the structure of language: the gap in language which makes the sliding of the signifier over the signified and the regulation of the polyvalence and play within language possible. This gap or lack is also the founding trace of the unconscious, constituted as such by the repressed signifier: ‘It is the ultimately significative object which appears when all the veils are lifted. Everything related to it is an object of amputations and interdictions….’ When the veils are lifted, there is only the Medusa - woman’s castrated genitals, lacking, incomplete, horrifying (for men), Salomé’s dance, like strip-tease, can only seduce when at least one veil remains, alluring yet hiding the nothing of woman’s sex.”

 122

      “The phallus and penis can only be aligned if there are those who lack it. It is assumed only on the basis of division and dichotomy, represented by the lack attributed to women. The penis can only enhance one’s narcissism if it is somehow distinguished from other organs and parts of the body. It enhances men’s narcissism because it constitutes their corporeal unity in relation to women’s incompleteness. The penis comes to represent tangibly the differences between the sexes as other organs, in our culture, do not, enabling it to function on an imaginary level to signify presence and absence or fullness and privation.”

      “The phallus is not a ‘neutral’ term functioning equally for both sexes, positioning them both in the symbolic order. As the word suggests, it is a term privileging masculinity, or rather, the penis.”

 122-3

      “If the [123] relation between signifier and signified is arbitrary, Saussure describes one relation between signifier and signified as relatively motivated, motivated, that is, by the already existing structure of language. The symbolic function of the phallus envelops the penis as the tangible sign of a privileged masculinity, thus in effect naturalizing male dominance.”

 123

      “Lacan’s distinction between the penis and the phallus enables Freud’s biologistic account of male superiority and women’s penis-envy to be explained in linguistic and symbolic, and thus historical terms. This had the major advantage of enabling the possibility of change to be articulated. Yet although Lacan’s account is directed to the phallus as signifier, not to the penis as an organ, it is committed to an a priori privilege of the masculine that is difficult, if not impossible, to dislodge.”

      ‘The fact that the penis is dominant in the shaping of the body-image is evidence of [an autonomous, non-biological imaginary anatomy]. Though this may shock the champions of the autonomy of female sexuality, such dominance is a fact and one moreover which cannot be put down to cultural influences alone.’ [Lacan, “Some Reflections on the Ego,” International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 34 (1953): 13].

 125

      “As signifier, the phallus is not an object to be acquired or an identity to be achieved. It is only through the desire of the other that one’s own position – as either being or having – the phallus is possible.”

 126

      “The phallus represents the name-of-the-father, through which the subject is positioned in culture.”

      “The phallus is the signifier which established the subject’s unconscious, an internalized locus of the Other and the repository of repressed desire.”

 

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