In his seminar “The Eye and the Gaze,” Jacques Lacan is forced to regard the problem of the unconscious through the grid of the Cartesian cogito. In the certainty of “I think, therefore I am,” which expresses the complete transparency of the self to its own apprehension, leaves no space for the ineffability of the unconscious. Lacan sees this proto-enlightenment certainty running through all perceptual mechanisms, as in Paul Valèry's poem “La Jeune Parque,” which declares, “I saw myself seeing myself.” Lacan turns to anamorphosis as a perceptual exception, in which there are two viewing points turned on the same object, neither coinciding with the other, such that classical perspective's fundamental unity of the perceiving subject is alienated from itself—a Spaltung, or split, that enables the unconscious presence of the uncanny and its castrative impression of death.

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