Symbolic

According to Freudian psychoanalysis, desire is biological and driven by sexual force, or libido. Jacques Lacan (1901-1981), on the other hand, regarded desire as a drive for an original ontological unity which can never be achieved because of the psychic split resulting from what he called "the mirror stage" as well as the Freudian Oedipal phase. Desire emerges from this split or "lack" which it tries, continually, to fill. Desire expresses itself through language.

Lacan believed that his form of psychoanalysis was not a departure from, but a return to, the original principles of Freudian analysis. Lacan's readers have long complained about the difficulty of his prose, which is characterized by a seeming lack of linearity and an often impenetrable style. Many of Lacan's commentators have likened his discursive style to a rebus or puzzle, designed to communicate the idea that no "truth" about psychic life can ever be wholly and fully expressed through language because the psyche is always split against itself, and language is the result of absence and difference.

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