CriticaLink | Lacan: The Mirror Stage | Terms


Child psychologist Charolotte Bühler 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. In this respect, transitivism can be compared with Roger Caillois's notion of legendary psychasthenia, in which the external environment and the internal psychical and physiological systems of the individual are melded.

Lacan presents all of these 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 and the external world (Umwelt)--an interaction perpetuated throughout life between the subject and the other.