See No Evil

Pleasure is inconceivable without pain; light without darkness; love without hate; good without evil … the denial of suffering is the negation of life itself.

The creation of tragedy is both a response to the horrors of life and a way of mastering them … we are saying ‘Yes’ to life as it actually is.

[Anthony Storr]

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We watch films like Irreversible in order to gain some level of mastery over situations that are at the same time unimaginable and, unfortunately, very real.

We fear that these events exist, and that human beings are capable of bringing them into the world; but in order to accept the hazardous nature of existence we must attempt to come to terms with this side of life. Films like Irreversible offer a way of doing this.


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Imagine someone who’s naive, and dependent, and over-sheltered. And they’re off into the world, even though they’re not prepared for it, and their axiomatic presuppositions aren’t sophisticated enough to allow for the existence of radical uncertainty or malevolence.

And then one day they’re attacked - maybe they get mugged, or raped, or something worse - and they develop post-traumatic stress disorder. And the reason is that the event is so anomalous, especially combined with its malevolence, that it demolishes their interpretation frames - from the local level, all the way out to the superordinate level - and then the person is cast into [a] chaotic state. And they’re terrified, and angry, and vengeful, and paralysed, and depressed; and all of those things simultaneously; and maybe they never put the pieces back together.

They descend into chaos […] It’s the constrained chaos that’s underneath everything, inhibited by your contextual knowledge, that suddenly pops its head up into your world.

[Jordan B. Peterson]
'2017 Maps of Meaning 7: Images of Story & Metastory'


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