Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Shepard for the Day.3

From the classic 1956 movie Forbidden Planet:
the "monster from the id" reimagined.
"To invoke psychopathology is to address infancy, as most mental problems have their roots in our first years of life and their symptoms are defined in terms of immaturity. 

 The mentally ill typically have infantile motives and act on perceptions and states of mind that caricature those of early life.  Among their symptoms are destructive behaviors that are the means by which the individual comes to terms with private demons that would otherwise overwhelm him.  To argue with the logic with which he defends his behavior is to threaten those very acts of defense that stand between him and a frightful chasm.

Most of us fail to become as mature as we might.  In that respect there is a continuum from simple deprivations to traumatic shocks, many of which are fears and fantasies of a kind that normally haunt anxious infants and then diminish.

Such primary fantasies and impulses are the stuff of the unconscious of us all.  They typically remain submerged or their energy is transmuted, checked, sublimated, or subordinated to reality.

Not all are terrifying: there are chimeras of power and unity and erotic satisfaction as well as shadows that plague us at abyssal levels with disorder and fear, all sending their images and symbols into dreams and, in the troubled soul, into consciousness. 

 It is not clear whether they all play some constructive part in the long trail toward sane maturity or whether they are just flickering specters lurking beside the path, waiting for our wits to stumble.  Either way, the correlation between mental unhealth and regression to particular stages of early mental life has been confirmed thousands of times over."

Paul Shepard
Nature and Madness

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