We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Friday, February 26. 2010
The green screen, lies, the baloney of everyday life, and the willing suspension of disbelief
This fascinating "virtual back lot" video saddened our friend The Anchoress.
It didn't sadden me, but rather impressed me with the use of graphics software. How do they perform this theatrical magic?
When I consider it, our lives are packed with incoming lies and virtual realities: the news, stories and fiction writing, advertising, photoshopped photos, politicians' statements, theater, legal "theories," activist's anecdotes, fantasies and imagination, memories, dreams (and the tales our patients tell us about their lives).
Mr. Plato had plenty of thoughts on the subject of human perception of reality, and he was darn well aware of the human distorting component too.
Some good blogger (I forget who) recently commented that she (I think a she) was sick of the term "narrative." I sympathise, but I am not sick of it yet. I find it useful. The overused term "authentic" is the one I am sick of.
I have not yet entered a pomo solipsistic world in which reality is a pure mental construction or, worse yet, a pure social construction (see the wonderful Berger and Luckmann). Reality does exist: Just hit your thumb with a hammer or stub your toe on something in the dark to be reminded of that. Many of us, fortunately, do not distort things very much to ourselves, or to others.
However, I do live in a world in which meaning is indeed a human construction, both personally and socially.
A "narrative" is an effort, conscious or unconscious, to ascribe meaning: designed to deceive, to manipulate, to entertain, to seduce, to support one's wishes or self respect, to indulge, to self-justify or to rationalize or serve some other defensive purpose, etc. - or just to try to make sense out of the stuff that seems to happen - more or less regardless of its objective validity. Every song, picture, poem, film, and book is a "narrative" too. Like any blog post. "I" am a narrative, I guess, and right now, presenting a narrative about narratives.
One of the many interesting things about being a shrink is to contemplate a person's "narrative," whether it is just a report of something that happened, or a life story. When somebody is engaged in an exploratory, depth treatment, these narratives change over time - which is why we never take them at face value. We assume a narrative meets some present want, or need, or fantasy. Our always-challenging and endlessly-interesting job is to probe the meaning of the narratives we see or hear in the work of untangling what ails a person's heart and soul.
One of our luxuries as people in the psychoanalytic psychotherapy field is the reliable consistency of the human personality "structure" (another term I hate - shrinks often use fancy latinate terms and complex conceptualizations for ordinary things): like a jigsaw puzzle, there is always a picture of something in there somewhere. Another is the luxury of not worrying too much about the literal truthfulness of things (unless dealing with undiagnosed sociopaths).
I could go on and on about this, but that's enough for now.
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"Narrative," like "propaganda," is mostly used in the negative outside literature studies, and I wince when it is so used without qualifiers - and understood to mean only the negative aspects.
Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a propoganda narrative. And like others of his works, [gently] awakened his generation from complacency in the face of problems. The Bible, works of Homer and Plato...
Of course reality exists. It is that which does not go away when you stop believing in it.
I LOVE the fact that there is a reality. All my friends are fond of saying "Perception is reality". One somewhat more learned one tried to back it up with Quantum Physics.
I keep saying "perception is NOT reality - it's merely a construct of what we HOPE our reality may be within the REAL things that are going on." As for backing it up with quantum physics (saying that there are so many statistically POTENTIAL outcomes, that there's no reason to believe this reality is the ONLY reality), I pointed out that while the statistical framework implies other realities are POSSIBLE, those realities are NOT the ones we live in, therefore it's not our perception that is making it real, but the fact that our reality is fundamentally limited by the laws of Quantum Physics to exist within the statistical framework that operates in this world. Meaning there is only one reality for us to work with, though if the statistical framework were somehow altered there could be another....which we are utterly unfamiliar with.
I took it a step further to point out that the issue of Alice in Wonderland was not one in which Wonderland's inhabitants were seeing reality different from Alice. The problem was that within THEIR reality, certain things occurred for reasons which Alice was unfamiliar with. That is, she was living the same reality, but based on the reality of her world, she was incapable of fully comprehending the reasons for their actions. Actions which, to them, were perfectly logical.
Thus, Alice's reality wasn't her perception. It was her application of HER reality to theirs which created A PERCEPTION.
If perception is reality, then crazy people (and I know there are some) have a reality...with no fundamental basis in reality. Which is impossible. Thus, their reality is not real.
I'll end on a personal note. I have a boss who, upon the close of each deal, immediately takes credit for making it happen. It's his reality. He talks himself and his role up. Everyone has come to realize his reality is non-existent and his role in each deal has thus diminished dramatically, to the point that he is on the verge of losing his job.
His reaction? Increase the talking up of his role. He assumes that if his reality is based on his perception, then he can continue to improve that perception by talking about it.
That's not the kind of reality that can work.
With regard to the studio's augmentation. I recognized many of those scenes and in each one asked "how did they do that, I was THERE the day they were filming...."(and I was for 2 of them).
I can really appreciate the skill they bring to extending the narrative into areas that we have problems conceiving. I imagine that this kind of work can help to overcome problem areas like Black Swan scenarios, by making people aware of potential situations - as unlikely as they may seem.
f perception is reality, then crazy people (and I know there are some) have a reality...with no fundamental basis in reality. Which is impossible. Thus, their reality is not real.
Really. Well, I can tell you've never suffered hallucinations or delirium tremens then. It may all be in your mind, but it's as real as it could be. Trust me on that.
Everybody has a perception of themselves and it almost never matches reality. In my mind I'm 23, fresh out of the Marine Corps, still able to run 3 miles in 18 minutes and a svelte 185 lbs of lean mean fighting machine. In reality, I'm a broken down arthritic 63 year old with high blood pressure and a build like a beer barrel.
I would also posit that there are different realities. Does a person who makes $23K/yr live in the same reality as somebody who makes $100K/yr? I don't think so - one's "reality" is black and the other's is white - two completely different worlds.
It could be said that JFK launched postmodernism in the popular culture with his axiom "perception is reality".
One might say that this is about where our political train first ran off the rails.
Becuz, while perception may care about reality (for at least as often and as long as it can appear to), reality doesn't even know perception even exists --nor it any other modifier filter even exists for that matter. Not that it doesn't give a fig about perception, one way or the other, but that it doesn't even know what a fig is.
The actual reality of Camelot, for example, is nothing at all about the rigor of a democratic republic as a place for individuals, but about the romance of a hereditary royalty and the drama of young princes galloping off to heroic martyrdom --and taking the peasants with 'em --the peasants being you n' me, who just wanted some order in the public square so we could go about our business.
In the NYT, We Canít Wish Away Climate Change: It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect h
Tracked: Feb 28, 13:54