There is nothing like a roll up to swettenham for a good think, and today I think I’ve realised something most interesting. In fact, it might become part of my m.a. Then again, it might be totally wrong.
I was thinking, once again, about Lacan. I’ve been reading up on mulvey recently, and I think I now grasp the centrality of the mirror stage and formation of the egoideal. When the mother holds the baby up to the mirror, it sees both itself and a competitor for it’s mother’s affection; it therefore identifies with itself in order to overcome the competition. Therefore we generate our ego-ideal in the symbolic, which forms the basis for the scopic drive. ”The Ego is constructed by identification with the specular image. The relationship between the Ego and the specular image means that the Ego and the Imaginary order itself are places of radical alienation:
”alienation is constitutive of the Imaginary order” (see Seminar III The Psychoses). We may add that this relationship is also narcissistic. Thus the Imaginary is the field of images and imagination, and deception: the main illusions of this order are synthesis, autonomy, duality, similarity.” this leads directly to film theory: the idealised self-image leads to identification with it and thereafther the on-screen hero (I think that’s basically it – just recapping Lacan)
Recently, I’ve been pondering Marx too, and have decided Marxism today is all about school and TV. The ruling class are no longer the factory owners; today, the bourgeoisie are the inteligencia. Think about it – to get anywhere in life today you need a degree. Now, what is at the heart of education? Literacy! I cant think of anything the educational establishment prises more than the written word. In effect, the inteligencia control the symbolic order for they make up most of the writers and film makers. Hence they can manipulate our ego-ideals. He who has mastery over the symbolic, be that language or otherwise, has mastery over the subject, for the ability to manipulate the representation of the ego-ideal is the ability to manipulate the ego. If you can control the on screen hero, you control the idealised self image. The imaginary is structured by the symbolic, which, as mulvey wrote, is controlled by the bourgeois patriarchy. Freud, through Lacan, relates directly to Marx.
However, there is a way out. Rather than class conflict, it is mastery over the symbolic which has the ability to make us all equal: in short, education sets us free. (academia is based on philology). If we all have equal control over the symbolic order, we are all equal. Now, you can see why this has a personal resonance, for it would seem to unite my three major interests of film, education and communication. All three are concerned with controlling the symbolic, which is central to the formation of the ego. Direct control of oneself necessitates direct control of the symbolic, both societally and personally. This, I think, is why disabled people are looked down upon in society – we don’t have enough access to the symbolic. Both inclusion and vocas are ways of remedying this. (see here).
All these ideas are playing around in my head. I may have got it wrong; it may not be new. Right now, though, it fascinates me; perhaps I need to make more trips to swettenham to work it out.