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 As with Kant’s transcendental imagination, Lacan’s imaginary order reflects more than meets the eye. He insists that “imaginary effects give us nothing of any consistency unless they are related to the symbolic chain that binds and orients them.” Moreover, “it is the law specific to this chain which governs” psychical determinations, complex effects such as foreclosure, repression, and negation” that “follow the displacement of the signifier so faithfully that imaginary factors, despite their inertia, figure only as shadows and reflections therein.” What should strike us regarding Lacan’s ‘mixed metaphor’ is its necessity—to wit, his synoptic double­-bind was prefigured by Bruno, complete with the clinical self-exception of the cynical analyst: “The bondings of the imagination would not be very significant in themselves if they did not duplicate the powers of thought, for those appearances which bind and obligate simple­-minded, credulous, and superstitious souls are derided and condemned as empty shadows by those who have a sober, disciplined, and well­-bred mind.” (1592) From fig.43 to fig.44, point­-for-point correlation convokes an uncanny doppelgänger in an odd plot twist.

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 “As a result,” Bruno tells us, “practitioners of magic, medicine and prophecy produce no results unless they act according to the rules of a pre­-given faith. (We use the word ‘faith’ here in the more general sense used by these people, individually and as a group.)” Not to be outstripped in analytic remove, Lacan’s “emphasis would be lavished in vain if it merely served ... to abstract a general form from phenomena ... whose original composite nature could be broken down only through artifice.” For a preliminary artificial breakdown of the psychical composite—we might otherwise model it in a Square, but a Helix (above) twists in such a way that similar entities are self­-alienated on both horizontal and vertical axes. By criss-crossing Lacan’s axes, “we can grasp by what oblique [B] imaginary means the [A] symbolic takes hold in even the deepest recesses of the human organism.” The A/B vector, as we follow it closely from corner to corner, underscores “the importance of imaginary impregnations in the partialization of the symbolic alternative that give the signifying chain its appearance.” In short sum: the continuity of the B­-axis covers over the discontinuity of the A­-axis.

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