The imaginary order is based on the formation of the ego in the mirror stage by identification with the counterpart (or specular image). The dual relation between the ego and the counterpart is characterized by alienation and narcissism.
The imaginary is the dimension of the human subject which is most closely linked to animal psychology, yet it is structured by the symbolic, and this means that "in man, the imaginary relation has deviated [from the realm of nature]."<ref>Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book II. The Ego in Freud's Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis, 1954-55. Trans. Sylvana Tomaselli. New York: Nortion; Cambridge: Cambridge Unviersity Press, 1988. p. 210</ref>