Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan has one of the most interesting systems of thought arising out of psychoanalysis. It would take me days and books to dissect his triad
Mirror Stage: "Jacques Lacan argued that the concept of the gaze is important in his "mirror stage" of infantile psychological development; children gaze at a mirror image of themselves (a twin sibling might function as the mirror-image), and use that image to co-ordinate their physical movements. He linked the concept of the gaze to the development of individual human agency. To that end, he transformed the gaze to a dialectic, between the Ideal–Ego and the Ego-Ideal. The ideal-ego is the imagined self-identification image — whom the person imagines him- or herself to be or aspires to be; whilst the ego-ideal is the imaginary gaze of another person gazing upon the ideal-ego, e.g. a rock star (an Ideal-ego) secretly hoping his/her school-era bully-tormentor (Ego-ideal) is now aware of his/her (the rock star) subsequent success and fame, since school times."
What if Jesus had heroes,people he looked upto? People who functioned as his ego-ideal. Maybe it was another Rabbi, maybe it could have been Shammai or Hillel. In reality what this would claim is that Jesus enters the world with a lack, a hole, a rupture. He himself lives life peering into objects that also ultimately peer back at him. It would be too easy yet valid to assume that Jesus' hero was God because in several place's he defers to God. In one place, he says something like the following: "I only do what I see the Father doing". The orthodox interpretation is a claim to divinity, while there might be contextual validity to this, what if there is more here than our initial assumption?
What if Christ is claiming that God is his Object, his Other that frames his reality, ethics, interpretations of truth, ideas of love, rejection,anger and etc. What if in that claim Jesus is ultimately saying, "I don't know who I am". (I know its not easy for us to think of Jesus as someone who doesn't have self-awareness, but let's move beyond the traditional narrative rhetoric and try to surmise the possibility that Jesus was a fully human man who over time became more and more self-aware. I understand for some this is just too far. But can we suspend what our ears have heard for centuries for a moment and begin asking hard questions about the humanity of Jesus? It might take us places we need to go...)
What this means then is that Jesus wrestled with becoming Jesus. And ultimately God. And the internal dialogue was with who he was and who he wanted to become and I think this is what the authors were hinting at in the short story of Jesus being tempted and going through the trial in the wilderness. It is in the wilderness, the place of full de-signification and self-abandonment that Jesus begins to find himself. I think this is the same for us, it is in the deserts of our life where we are left with nothing more than our sheer weakness and frailty that we begin discovering the us waiting to be encountered.
Lacan also speaks of a stage called the Imaginary. It is simply put a place where the of ego is developed, nurtured and maintained. That part of ourselves that attempts to protect the social projection of self. Jesus by speaking of the cross ultimately resolves the ego. He challenges his friends and followers to die to the ego. To dissolve the self that is defined by everything around it. Now taking this stage and former stage into consideration might lead someone to conclude that to find ones' self is to allow for the death of God. To explain this a bit more I want to be clear that when I speak of the death of God, I refer to the death of the transcendence of God (i.e., god is up there/out there/beyond us) and also our ideas of God.
In this light if God is truly autonomous then God has died many times over and we're merely catching up. If Jesus was divine and he spoke of the cross as a violent device of self-annihilation, then God him/herself is led to the cross just as much as those who follow Jesus were. God must die to save God. What this means in simple terms is that we can no longer rest on systematic ways of thinking, in fact, systems are the enemy to the death of God. If God never dies then there is ultimately no redemption to be had. Once God dies this leaves an absence, a hole, a space for God to rise again.
This also means that when Jesus enters the imaginary he himself becomes a fraud, because he is attempting to be something that he is not.
I wonder if Jesus, at times, attempted to become the political saviour that some of audience had hoped for? I wonder if there were days where he wanted to just throw in the towel and get a 9 to 5 job? I think we see this like in moments where he pleas with God to remove the cup before he goes to the cross and referring back to the temptation trilogy also demonstrates to us that Jesus might have had his own demons to sacrifice. What this means is that Jesus was, as a human, susceptible to deception. Susceptible to the lies of others. But also wrestled with ease of believing that what was out there is what he really needed.
I think its so intriguing that Jesus speaks of the world as if it can be transcended, in one of his prayers he talks about 'being in the world and not of it', as if there is more to what we actually see and experience, that what is reality is not the ultimate reality. And how he speaks of this world as a place of pain ('in this world you will find trials of many kinds...but I have overcome the world') - its the overcoming part that keeps me coming back to the power behind this assertion that what is isn't what is, that the ultimate fraud is what we refer to as reality.