The Mirror Stage

For the eight-millionth time, I had to look up Lacan’s “Mirror Stage” today to ensure I had the correct definition of it for a piece I’m working on.  It’s one of a couple of things I never trust myself to remember correctly.  (This list includes the meaning of the world “tautology,” and the theology of apostolic Christianity.)  For the record, the mirror stage it seems was actually conceived of by a French psychologist named Henri Wallon, who wrote that “children started to react to their mirror image at the age of four months. By the end of the tenth month he claimed that children actually located a part of their self in their mirror image and that they then imagined that their own body was split into fragments. The child now fell under an inner compulsion, so the argument ran, to unify its ego in space and in order to do this is was forced gradually to subordinate the data of immediate experience to pure representation. The ordeal of the mirror eventually led, according to Wallon, to the child’s entry into the symbolic stage of development.”  (Explanation courtesy the dead cultural historian Richard Webster.)  Simpler version: baby sees image, baby realizes image is HIM, baby starts to control limbs and understand space and physicality.

That isn’t the point of this little post, though.  The real point is to draw attention to how hilarious the graphic Wikipedia chose to accompany its article on the mirror stage is.

Highbrow, lowbrow, folks.

If you don’t get why this is funny, we can’t be friends.

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