For Jacques Lacan the psyche is divided among three orders, domains or registers: the Real, the Imaginary and the Symbolic. Only neonates experience this relationship to nature, the Real, dominated by need and satisfaction. And for the infant the satisfaction of primal need is unfettered, outside language, and accomplished without separation of self from the outside world: pre-imaginary and pre-symbolic. It is also important to note that there is no absence in the Real. This is a register before culture and before the normative censorship enabled by belonging to a linguistic and social order: this state of nature (i.e. often described as a sense of fullness or completeness) resists representation or symbolization. Because we cannot ultimately know the Real (i.e. it is before language and cognition), throughout life we sense something absent, missing or lacking. And this is the source of motivation for our seeking wholeness or completion (i.e. jouis-sance). Life, however, is punctuated by moments during which the Real erupts and we are faced with the traumatic knowledge of our materiality.
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