The question on the table is two parts:
- If The modern world is really the unrecognized embodiment of the reflection of one’s self, which is the the factual state of individual alienation￼￼￼￼, ￼then what does it even mean that the alienated self-reflection is looking at cars, trees, space, planets, stars, deers, etc….?
- What does this have to do with ego development, modernity, and philosophy
Philosophy can be said to be involved with a reduction which has already occurred. What I call conventional philosophy sees the effort of philosophy to be the uncovering or discovering of the original reduction. The word we use for this original reduction is ontology.
Philosophers love Lacan and psychoanalysis in general more than the psychologists. I asked my Theories instructor once about Lacan, and she said that she had never even heard of any psychotherapist who uses him, that his theory is very complex. But in fact, Freudian psychotherapists in general are a minority now days, and I suspect mainly on the East Coast of the U.S and in Europe. (There is a comment to be made on this but it will have to appear elsewhere.)
I don’t prescribe to the Freudian lineage for psychotherapy. But I do enjoy Lacan and often via. Zizek’s use of Lacan’s theory. The question above that I pose really concerns how these two worlds might meet, or, how they interact or come together.
The reader should understand that it is always possible to come up with a theory about what the material is we deal with in mental health and how we treat it which will work or produce good mental health outcomes. Though Freud was the first popular psychotherapist in the sense we think of it now, very quickly his theory about ‘what and how’ stopped holding water for the treatment of patients and clients (medical doctors, neurologists and psychologists usually treat patients, while counselors more often treat clients). Freud, and the psychodynamic psychologists who followed him, believe in a very elaborate structure of the mind which functions primarily through various polemical psychic situations and motions involving an invisible energy. Psychic energy was posed without any actual evidence of such energy. We are able to produce electricity, measure it, and put it to use in predictable ways, and Freud was speculating that we would be able to find the same things with psychic energy, but he could not, nor anyone since then. But the system sounded really good; when you get into it, it does appear to have some sensibility to it. But, like Freud, when we take that idea too far and attempt to use the model to fill in more and more evident holes, the more elaborate structural interactions required to account for the new issues simply become so vague and involved that what ever at one time appeared like some sensible dynamic of structure, fails. That is, unless you are really sold on the beauty of the simple beginning theoretical structure.
I would say then that the reason why philosophy like psychoanalysis but Lacan so much is that it begins pretty good. Freud’s theory appears really nice in the beginning and seems to make sense. So without having to actually observe anything beyond the initial evidence, Freudian psychoanalysis is fabulous, and philosophy that likes Lacan is usually about first or reduced things: Ontology is about what things truly are, how they are first; epistemology is about how thought must first be in order for everything else to be able to be thought. So, the Freudian structure of the mind The Super-Ego is the rules or norms; the ID, involves the ‘unbound’ instinctual drive which produces libidinal energy, and the Ego is that which harness both extremities: the philosophical ratio, or the Rational Mind, so to speak; this fits very well into methods that involve first things: 1,2,3…presto! It is simple and it makes a lot of very easy sense without having to think about it too much. It also, quite coincidentally, reflects the philosophy which was arising around the same time as industrial science of the 19th century: Hegel, Marx, Freuerbach and many Enlightenment others basically were already philosophizing around these very same ideas. But as I have said a few times already, when we apply them to any world that we actually encounter, this ‘philosophical mind’ falls quickly short of accounting. And this is to say, like I said above, unless you are really sold on the theory.
The philosophical question here, then, becomes whether or not we are fitting reality into the theory, or developing theory from what is being observed?
Enter modern capitalism.
I submit, that most conventional Western philosophy suffers from the attempt of fitting what is observed into the theory. Hence, the reason(s) why philosophy often enjoys a psychoanalytical involvement with philosophy.
So it is that I came across our question above: Why should alienation have anything do with the world we are coming upon? In what way does the “mirror stage” of Lacan have anything to do with modernity beyond the theorizing?
I submit, that the reason is because if indeed we make an ontological theory of what is observed, actually form or develop a theory upon what is being presented to sense, then the Self no longer appears alienated from the world.
Some may know that Lacan said something like “the mind is structured like a language”. This is because he was making a comment upon what is inherently problematic about modern subjectivity. This is, the subject is always in context, but the nature of the operating psyche is that is does not function as though it arises in context, but rather as though it arises indeed from nothing. This is to say that the modern subject understands and thus operates itself as not a true subject (arising always in context) but as indeed a subject only in a thoughtful reflection of itself, as though the thinker itself exists outside of the world and as indeed the essential nature of Being is dichotomy: object and subject.
So, the next question (#1), is what this has to do with the presence of the parents for the development of the ego, and why does this have anything to do with actually being in the world?
A common and modern belief is that the ego is not a modern ideal but a human one.