The Treachery of Images


Rather obviously, this is a mere image. It is not for smoking. It is not the thing itself. Yet captivation by the image is where the most labour is expended today, in the world of “mental health”, and elsewhere. As long as the sufferer (of depression, or some other malady) or the ψ professional concerns his or herself with a therapeutics of the image, a positive opinion-mongering of the image – be it in the form of self-regard, “self-esteem”, confidence, body image, or whatever – he or she is doomed to be operating in the wrong place.A subject is neither his/her image, nor his/her opinion of said image. To cultivate love of one’s image is rightfully understood as narcissism. And, like so many interventions that revolve around the aggrandising of images, treatments of the image can only intensify alienation rather than alleviate it.