ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mirrors and Brothers

Inspired by psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan’s “mirror stage” theory, a friendly banter among siblings fails to resolve the value of mirrors.

Until recently, I was blissfully unaware of Jacques Lacan, the renowned French psychoanalyst and philosopher. One Saturday night, while I was arguing with my brothers about the necessity of having a proper mirror in our home, one of them – Navan – mentioned Lacan and his “mirror stage” theory.

Intrigued, I promptly embarked on an internet search and discovered that Lacan, the third son of a soap and oil merchant, was inspired by Henri Wallon, another French philosopher and psychologist, who said human infants and chimpanzees recognise their own reflections by the time they are around six months of age. Baby chimpanzees, though, soon lose interest in mirrors, while human babies tend to spend more and more time in front of mirrors, possibly exploring the connections between their bodies and their physical actions as they grow into full-blooded adulthood.

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