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In the mirror stage the infant sees its reflection in the mirror as a whole/synthesis, and this perception causes, by contrast, the perception of its own body (which lacks motor coordination at this stage) as divided and fragmented.

However, the anticipation of a synthetic ego is henceforth constantly threatened by the memory of this sense of fragmentation, which manifests itself in "images of castration, emasculation, mutilation, dismemberment, dislocation, evisceration, devouring, bursting open of the body" which haunt the human imagination.[1]

Any such sense of disunity threatens the illusion of synthesis which constitutes the ego.

See Also


  1. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p.11