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Lacan and the question of desire

Jacques Lacan (French psychoanalyst) introduces a new return to Freudianism, with a new emphasis on the unconscious , as the core of our being. The Freudian reading of Lacan mainly implies the understanding that the unconscious must be understood intimately linked to the functions and dynamics of language. The central pillar of Lacan’s psychoanalytic theory is that “the unconscious is structured like a language.”

Lacan suggests in his essays, to emphasize the priority of the other and our subjectivity , marking it with signifiers and images. In the words of the author: “we are born premature, unable to defend ourselves, which creates an absolute dependence on another.”

We are alienated in the other and our desire is therefore aligned in that other, for this reason it states that desire is the desire of the other , of the great other, from where the signifiers come. For example: the baby seeks that his mother  wants him and as the years go by that feeling of being desired continues, because we continue looking for the other to want us. The desire of the other marks us and will make us want what is desired for us.

Lacan’s emphasis is that, in the child’s attempts to satisfy their needs, they are caught up in the dialectic of their exchanges with others. Because his sense of self is only obtained by identifying himself with the images of others (or himself in the mirror, as a kind of another), Lacan argues that it is evident that the child will wish as the other or through another or others, for example, it is entirely possible that an object is desirable to individuals because they perceive that others desire it, so that when the desire of others is lost, the object also loses its appeal to the subject.

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The symbolic place precedes us and will mark us. We are born into a world of signifiers and symbolic exchanges. Desire is never pure , nor does it go from one directed to another, but rather it will be marked by the signifier, it is desire in motion, articulated in a signifying network .

For Lacan, the two dream work mechanisms identified by Freud, condensation and displacement, correspond to the basic poles of language, that is, metaphor and metonymy. In the interpretation of the Freudian dream, an element in a dream can mean something else by displacement.

What is the signifier for Lacan?

The concept of the signifier is crucial for Lacanian psychoanalysis. Such a concept may seem strange to people who are more familiar with Freudian theory .

Lacan distinguishes three terms: the sign, the trace and the signifier.

The sign is the equivalent of the code in the animal kingdom. It is a complete equivalence of thing and meaning that does not allow ambiguity.
The trace is the mark of an absence, of a lost object.
The signifier is a sign without any referent. It does not refer to anything, although it shares the absence of tracking as its fundamental characteristic. We recognize a signifier by reference to its place among other signifiers. The signifier orients the subject with respect to all the other signifiers that structure the sense of itself and the world. It is precisely this primarily structural or formal function that underlies the crucial Lacanian claim that signifiers are actually “empty signifiers” or “signifiers without meaning.”

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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