Jacques Lacan uses objet petit a while referring to the infant’s gaze into the mirror, where it sees the image of its ego ideal. Most importantly, however, it is the first of the unfolding moments of desire for the Other; here it is a desire for the idealized self. The ‘objet petit a’ refers to a desire that lacks in form and language and for Lacan, because desire is always the desire ‘of the Other, there is inevitable frustration and disappointment resulting from the impossibility of adequately symbolizing or knowing the desire of the Other: we never know what the Other truly wants from us. But it is also this very property of the object, its unreachable nature, that compels our seeking, longing and reaching for it, and makes it compelling and desirable. Lacan (1958) once described desire as a remainder once satisfaction of physiological needs is subtracted from demand for maternal attention.
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