the mirror stage (le stade you miroir) designates a development phase of the child after Jacques Lacan around the 6. to 18. Life month. Lacan refers it to the observations of the psychologist James Mark of Baldwin, takes place, if there is the view of another humans.
Before this stage the child is in his own perception to a certain extent in Partialobjekte “smashed”: it cannot differentiate for instance with respect to its conception between itself and the feeding chest of the nut/mother, or it strikes itself with the hand on the head and does not know not, from where the impact came. Here the speech of Partialobjekten is already a speech of “outside”, and not the perspective of the child. Lacan takes here the pictures bodies carved up of Hieronymus Bosch as examples of fear-releasing pictures of, which also psychoanalyses again and again emerge.
In the mirror stage (v) the child recognizes itself in the mirror, it succumbs to the optical seduction strength of its own image, it falls in love jubilatorisch with his mirror image, like narcissus, and identifies themselves with this. (Imaginary) the physical unit, which sees the child in the mirror, does not feel it however yet. It identifies itself with something, which is not it, i.e. with the “total form of the body” (anticipation), and at a place, at which it is not (in the mirror). In contrast to it the Schimpanse recognizes its mirror image as bare picture and goes disinterestedly of dannen.
In the mirror stage the child begins to notice the other one either in form of the own mirror image or also in form of other humans. The child looks into the mirror, it plays with the shape in the mirror and these copies to it everything. Then it looks the nut/mother on its nut/mother, asking, like that as if the child is the mirror image, asking confirms this friendly. Thus it sees the fact that it sees itself and sees that the nut/mother sees it however: As the nut/mother sees it, or general “as the others” see me? This question does not release it then. All this is contrary to a cartesianischen “cogito ergo sum “. The child begins to regard the own body as it associated an entireness - before a missing conception. The body is transformed into an orthopedic entireness (Lacan) (idealization). This self picture functions as a kind going school (la trote tremble); it is however illusionful (“imaginary”), since the physical inadequacies remain existing further. During this identification already for the first time a kind Verfremdung emerges, I is already a little another (Lacan): a remainder, which does not come up, remains.
At this procedure and for the understanding of the theory Lacans it is crucial that by this identification, which straight recognizing, but misjudging is not, which splitting the subject into
- le moi (fr.) (I ideal, or also the “imaginary subject”) and
- le ever (fr.) (Ideal-Ich, who “symbolic subject”) is carried out,
into the imaginary I the Spiegelimago and the true I (ever) - from this the paradoxically sounding sentence “which follows I is not which I” - Le n'est ever pas le moi. This identification was called a conversion” released of Lacan “with the subject by the admission of a picture. To deduce splitting into I ideal and Ideal-Ich, which rather still postulated Freud, thus from Lacan tried.
The mirror stage clarifies and justifies at the same time the “symbolic matrix”, ever in the future subjected to which is: its “mental permanence “and “alienated regulation” in the unconscious one, which expresses itself in the dream. It forms by pictures, by which order of the imaginary one, which is justified here, an entireness of the even out. Here develops a dualism, which is mirror stage basis of the object relationship, and the subject here justified as lack natures. And it begins a desiring in the imaginary one, which the language “slide” leaves.
For Lacan the entrance into the mirror stage is not a locatable event of the Sozialisationsgeschichte of the subject, but a process constantly running off . With this differentiation the detachment from the original symbiosis between child and care begins.
Alternative read ways to the relationship child and its picture offer Julia Kristeva, Jessica Benjamin or Jean Laplanche - this refers also here to sliding the significant ones in the symbolic one after Lacan.