The essential art in the formation of self-identity is the cultivation of an ideal object around which to sediment and concretise that self. Lacan identified a “Mirror Stage” in psychological development which concisely captures the cognitive and cultural arc of our shared experience.

The catch (and cost) here: to maintain persistence, continuity and individuation, the cultural and personal Self must always create enigmas, obstacles and the developmental bottlenecks of ideological or psychological inertia. We can never truly allow ourselves to possess or acquire and understand the (desired) Object of Self or Other and World because to do so is to entirely disassemble the difference and distance by which we reflexively define ourselves and through which the hyperinflation of culture and cognition provides momentum and metamorphosis.  It is an enigma.

The art, ideology and narratives we live through (and that live through us) do not merely represent this curiously  discontinuous cognitive and cultural matrix, they constitutively are the manifestation of enigma.  In this way, the narrative of experience and fiction is a necessary blind-spot, but usefully so.

Art: Apollo and Daphne, marble, life-sized, Bernini, 1622-1625.

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