the Lacanian definition of love

love is a phenomenon which takes place on the Imaginary level, and which provokes a veritable seduction of the Symbolic, a sort of annihilation, of peturbation of the function of the ego-ideal. Love reopens the door – as Freud put it, not mincing his words – to perfection. The ichideal, the ego-ideal, is the other as speaking, the other in so far as he has a Symbolic relation to me, which, within the terms of our dynamic manipulation, is both similar to and different from the imaginary libido. Symbolic exchange is what links human beings to each other, that is, it is speech and it makes it possible to identify the subject… the ichideal, considered as speaking, can come to be placed in the world of objects on the level of… narcissistic captation… this attachment is fundamentally fatal. That’s what love is. It’s one’s own ego that one loves in love, one’s own ego made real on the imaginary level’

– Jacques Lacan, Seminar 1: Freud’s Papers on Technique

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