|This cat looks exactly my Diesel, except smarter.|
Jacques Marie Émile Lacan, a controversially regarded French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, introduced his concept of the "Mirror Stage" at the 1936 International Psychoanalytical Association conference. Lacan's "Mirror Stage" refers to the developmental stage at which an infant is able to recognize himself/herself in a mirror. (Recall, back on Day 168 we learned that both 2-year-old humans, Chimpanzees, and Orangutans should pass a "mirror-guided self-recognition test") Lacan saw the "Mirror Stage" as integral to a child's development of "symbolic activity". As explained by Sabine Melchior-Bonnet in her book The Mirror: A History,
"The child takes pleasure in the spectacle of himself and, at the same time he understands the difference between the image and its model; standing before the mirror he acquires a new capacity for mental projection." (emphasis added by me)Okay, well - other than the obnoxious use of male pronouns to represent both genders - I think that this is a pretty cool (and non-pervy) concept!
I can't help but wonder... do mirrors directly facilitate the development of these capacities, or do they simply allow psychoanalysts to observe them ? In other words, did people pass through the "Mirror Stage" before mirrors existed?
Do any of you parents out there remember what it was like to watch your child recognize herself in the mirror for the first time? (Ahem, Mom?) How about pets not recognizing themselves in the mirror? Cute stories and photos requested!
Check out what my mom just emailed me:
|It's baby Kjerstin (ME!) looking in the mirror!|
|I'm not sure if I recognize myself, but I sure seem to like what I'm seeing!|