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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Related posts:-
Evil and us

Doing the Good
Taking back the Projection
Cast No Shadow? 
The Colour Wheel

5 comments:

  1. You must learn to master your environment, realize that you are in control of it. Mastery of this kind is an essential component of optimism.

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  2. Rehearsal; it is necessary to accept these possibilities as a sort of preparation for the worst. Perhaps in the same way that you prepare for a fire with a fire drill, despite the chances of it happening being remote.

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  3. [...] there are 'traumatic' dreams which repeat, in undisguised form, some unexpected, shocking event like a car accident, a bomb incident, or an unprovoked attack like rape or other physical assault.

    Freud [...] believed they occurred when the trauma had been so sudden that the mind of the individual had had no opportunity to shield itself against shock by anxious preparation. He wrote:

    These dreams are endeavoring to master the stimulus retrospectively, by developing the anxiety whose omission was the cause of the traumatic neurosis.

    [...] individuals who have been exposed to trauma [...] strive to come to terms with, or master, their shock by repeatedly telling the story of their trauma to anyone who will listen.

    [Anthony Storr]
    Freud, p.34

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  4. A solution of childhood's inherent problems of ambivalence comes through the imaginative elaboration of all function; without fantasy crude expression of appetite and of sexuality and of hate would be the rule.

    Fantasy in this way proves to be the human characteristic, the stuff of socialisation and of civilisation itself.

    [D.W. Winnicott]
    Human Nature, p.60

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  5. The problem with imaginative elaboration being when it stands in for expression, in instances where expression may be a positive thing for the individual or society.

    Eagleton: “By encouraging us to dream beyond the present, it may also provide the existing social order with a convenient safety-valve. Imagining a more just future may confiscate some of the energies necessary to achieve it.”

    ReplyDelete