Before Freud, there wasn’t a subconscious and identity just meant your name and parentage. Once we found the key to our internal door however, it only took five minutes of poking around in there to realize it’s not that simple.
In the twentieth century, after Freud, identity came something else – your sense of self, the idea of yourself that you carry around with you. It’s your psychic skin – your mental avatar. It orients you and shapes you and it’s taken for granted.
But you’re not born with it. Babies don’t know who they are, picture themselves or have a sense of self… so how do we get it? Where does it come from?
French psychiatrist Jacques Lacan tells us a ‘just-so” story about how we first get our identity. It’s a story that strips things down to raw consciousness, and holds some fascinating clues to the human condition…