Jacques Lacan tells us that in birth, the search for the Ideal Imag(inary) Self begins.
The journey, for Lacan, in search of the Imaginary Self invariably fails (méconnaissance). Jean-Paul Sartre, on the other hand, claims that poet “Baudelaire admits on several occasions that for him the ideal being would be an object existing in the present with all the characteristics of a memory (Souvenir).” For both philosophers, the search for an Ideal/Imaginary Self necessitates the look at and from the Other. Whether the mirror or the work of art (and these are often twinned), the objet d’art makes way for my Ideal Self insofar as the Image gives meaning just as I give meaning back. In this way, “meaning” for Self in relation to the Image is (to borrow from Sartre) “diaphanous,” “glassy” and “porous.” The work of art defies me as much as I defy the work of art. I invite you on my journey toward defiance, lol.