Željka Matijašević : For the image narcissistically killeth, but the wor...

source: pmilat    2015年1月21日
The Unconscious of the Unconscious :: MaMa, Zagreb :: 05.12.2014
In Lacan’s later works, corresponding with the introduction of the Real as a third order by which the importance of the Imaginary is played down, in his Seminar VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (1959-1960), the dynamic of Lacan’s concept of ‘subjectivity’ is being gauged at the intersection and tension between the Symbolic and the Real, not between the Imaginary and the Symbolic, as it was before. Clearly, Lacan’s concept of narcissism is closely related to the narcissistic image (mirror image) with its ensuing fictionality, falsity, aggressiveness, duplicity and lethality, the lethality of the visual. The Symbolic order, as a stabilizing order, comes to the rescue by separating the subject from the image, by forcing him to renounce the symbiotic relation with the object a. How is it possible that this act of symbolic castration/creation never comes to be approximated to any form of narcissism? Lacan’s pivotal “Rome Discourse” emphasizes the perilousness of the word, the words which define us, the names which exist for us before we are born and persist beyond our death, the words which make us “faithful” or “renegades”. On the one hand, Lacan oscillates between the restorative power of the Symbolic and its linguistic dimension – language, while, on the other hand, the words which create/define us have a deadly power of annihilation, which is Lacan’s true debt to Hegel.

‘Subjectivity’ is in Lacan’s work threefold. First, there is the ego (moi), captivated in the Imaginary, by the image; the subject (sujet), imprisoned within the Symbolic, in the discourse of the Other and, finally, the true I (Je), the place of authenticity and non-narcissistic creation, organized around desire which has yet to be found, engendered and created. Probing more deeply into contemporary theories on narcissism, I intend to demonstrate that our symbolic being, our construction as subjects is also narcissistic. Narcissistic images are most vibrant and resonate ‘perfectly’ when they are subliminally reduced to some basic, defining sentences such as: “I am omnipotent and you are nothing but a part of me”; “You are omnipotent and I am the mirror which reflects/confirms you as such”.

Contemporary views on narcissism allow us to translate clinical narcissism into a loosely structured self, with permeable boundaries towards others, or, to put it in Lacan’s terms, organized around the desire of the Other, which makes the position of the subject extremely fragile, dependent and self-defeating. The three ideals of psychoanalytic ethics/cure are: independence, authenticity and love, and they correspond to the three tenets of the structured I (Je): demarcated from the object/objects, authentic at the place of his own desire, and endowed with healthy-‘love thyself’-narcissism.

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