In the 1930s, in France, Lacan turned away from Freud and the post-Freudians. Tired of everything being a phenomena of the “ego,” he realized deeper insights into our sub-and unconscious were already at hand.
Lacan described how an infant’s ego forms itself via the process of identification. At six months old, before attaining control over his bodily movements, a baby can still recognize herself in the mirror. This is a natural, healthy stage of ego development, identifying with her own specular image. An infant views his image in a large mirror as its own bodily wholeness.
An infant perceives their body as fragmented, un-coordinated. Their own image in a mirror provides a useful sense of contrast with the incoordination of their arms, legs and head. Viewing herself in a mirror, creates “ambition” in the infant to practice deliberate moving of her own body parts. This identification with her counterpart in a mirror, supports healthy ego formation (self-connection, self-identification). Lacan pointed out the mirror stage as a relevant, significant stage of the infant’s ego development (le stade du miroir) (1936). An infant’s moment of self-identification is to Lacan a moment of jubilation; it leads towards an infant’s sense of self-mastery.
Yet, jubilation may also be accompanied by a depressive reaction. When the infant compares her own precarious sense of mastery with the omnipotence of the mother (La relation d’objet). The infant’s identification with the mother’s bodily wholeness and graceful coordinated body part movement, functions as a “promise” of future wholeness, sustaining the infant ego’s attention in anticipation of doing the same. In Waldorf whole-child literature, this process is summed up in a single phrase: “healthy imitation.”
To Lacan “the unconscious is structured like a language.” The unconscious, he argued, was not a more primitive or archetypal part of the mind separate from the conscious, linguistic ego, but, rather, a formation every bit as complex and structurally sophisticated as awareness itself. . . .
Our limited left-hemisphere brain can only believe our unlimited sub- and unconscious is a primitive, archetypal part of the mind, separate from all rational thinking and logic; with, “no [rational] mind of its own.”
We can use frequency to explain this unhealthy separation. Our conscious waking Self is towards higher frequency in our waking psyche (and etheric body). Our sub- and unconscious are towards the low end of frequency in our waking psyche (and etheric body). The significance of this is the language our sub- and unconscious uses to communicate is unknown, is too different for our higher-frequency left-hem to parse unassisted.
For left-hem and conscious waking Self to access and converse with our sub- and unconscious, requires left-hem to be willing to accept and learn a new language.
The good news is since this language is lower frequency, it is simpler than left-hem language. For example there are no books written in this language. Or if you prefer, feeling, body language and nuance IS the book of unconscious language.
We can say this more precisely. The simpler, lower frequency language found in our sub- and unconscious is a language of gut feelings, safe~unsafe, trustworthy~untrustworthy, stress~relaxation. This is the primary language level of a three year old. Any words a three year old can use, are only “frosting on the cake.” The cake is non-verbal language.
At the Theta level, our the unconscious language is largely whether our sympathetic nervous system is leading or should be leading now; versus, where our parasympathetic nervous system is leading or should be leading now. On an even deeper level (Delta) the unconscious language spoken here is bio-chemical, the language of chemical locks and keys.
In this way our sub- and unconscious has a complementary language as complex and structurally sophisticated on its own level, as logic itself is in left-hem thinking.
Reduced, heavily revised and expanded from — https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Jacques_Lacan