Sunday, May 3, 2009


Mind-world/world-mind meld: the interpenetration of the internal psychical and physiological systems of the individual and the external environment.

Imago Templi = Sophia = Penetralium
but here the Truth is in the weft of inner and outer

legendary psychasthenia

A concept developed by the social theorist Roger Caillios, legendary psychasthenia refers to the ability of some animals to alter their appearance in response to their physical environment. A chameleon, for example, changes color in order to blend into its surroundings. Caillois compares this biological phenomenon to psychological experiences of subjects who perceive themselves becoming absorbed into, or mixed up with, the physical space surrounding them (one of his examples is the fear of the dark). For Lacan, this idea offers a useful model of a transformation in an individual through an encounter with an external stimulus.


Child psychologist Charlotte Buhler observed that very young children often do not distinguish sharply between their own experiences and those of others—if one child falls and is injured, for example, another child may cry.

Lacan presents such references to external, formative influences on the development of the ego to support his argument that ego does not emerge sui generis—out of itself—but is the product of a dialectical interaction between the psyche (Innenwelt) and the external world (Umwelt)—an interaction perpetuated in life in the interaction of the subject and the other.

It comes down to . . .

Kohler's gestalt moment, in which the elements of a task or problem—or a self—come together: the ah-ha experience (Aha-Erlebnis), e.g. in the mirror stage [cf. Nietzsche on Apollo/Orpheus and the principium individuationis],


the fragmented body, where the infant experiences his or her body as uncoordinated, vulnerable, and insufficient; this propels the infant toward identification with the (apparently) unified and stable imago of the mirror reflection or of the caregiver (or of the Umwelt, perhaps), though he or she remains haunted by the contrary image of their fragmentation [cf. Nietzsche on Dionysus Zagreus/Pentheus, torn apart by the maenads = σπαραγμός, sparagmos].

1. Niran Bahjat Abbas, Thinking Machines: Discourses of Artificial Intelligence (LIT Verlag Berlin-Hamburg-Münster, 2006) 97-98.
2. John Keats: "Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half knowledge" (Letter to George and Thomas Keats [21 Dec 1817], in H. E. Rollins (ed.), Letters of John Keats, vol. 1 [1958] 193-94).

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