- The theory of the three registers of the Imaginary, the Symbolic, and the Real forms the skeletal framework for the various concepts
- Lacan tends to associate the Imaginary with the restricted spheres of consciousness and self-awareness.
- The Imaginary is central to Lacan's account(s) of ego-formation
- With the growing importance of the Real and the Borromean knots, it becomes clear that Lacan conceives of the Imaginary as bound up with both of the other two registers
- incidentally, the Imaginary and the Symbolic, when taken together as mutually integrated, constitute the field of “reality,” itself contrasted with the Real.
- Tied to natural languages as characterized by Saussure and specific post-Saussurians, this register also refers to the customs, institutions, laws, mores, norms, practices, rituals, rules, traditions, and so on of cultures and societies
- One of the (if not the) most significant and indispensable conditions of possibility for singular subjectivity is the collective symbolic order (sometimes named “the big Other”).
- The 1949 écrit on “The Mirror Stage” hints at the enabling background presence of a socio-symbolic milieu as the trigger prompting the child's identification with mirrored images of him/her-self
- Lacan forges his theory of the “four discourses” (those of the “master”, “university,” “hysteric,” and “analyst”) to reflect the interlinked permutations of multiple kinds of “social links” configuring the relations between speaking subjects.
- It is, as Lacan stresses again and again, an “impossibility” vis-à-vis reality.
- During this decade of the “return to Freud,” the Real also gets connected to Lacan's contemporaneously emerging conceptions of psychosis and Otherness
- Throughout the 1960s and up through the end of Lacan's teachings, the Real takes on an ever increasing number of aspects and connotations.
- It becomes both a transcendence troubling and thwarting Imaginary-Symbolic reality and its language from without as well as an immanence perturbing and subverting reality/language from within.
- It comes to be associated with libidinal negativities, material meaninglessness both linguistic and non-linguistic, contingent traumatic events, unbearable bodily intensities, anxiety, and death.