Positive Dissociation?

Tigersoap

The Living Force
I'll speak from own experience;
art is definetely an area where , when I work, I dissociate.

Not all the time but it happens often enough to see the difference.
I sometimes work in a semi-conscious state when I draw painstakingly something detailed or when I let go and let the unconscious decide what next "move" will be.
If I try to force myself into this "receptive" state, usually it does not work and I can get very frustrated.
There is like a sudden connection that's being made from which the rest follows osit.
There are works I've done, I don't even know how I did them exactly, I was there but I wasn't in strict control.
I know I am not the only one to be like that, I read recently an interview with a contemporary painter who was saying the same thing (oh I think that Francis Bacon was saying this as well.)

I think it has helped me in part to deal with certain emotions until now, I am serious when I said that without art I would have been probably more seriously disturbed than I am, it helped me to take notice (heal in part ?) of my wounds by talking about them, albeit in a symbolic way.

It is true that it has been an escape pod as well, as it gave me refuge from feeling my own emotions but the catch is, without feeling emotions, there is no art for me, it's just too mechanical, drab and forced.
Hence the frustration I feel sometimes.

You kinda have to trust yourself and let go but it's not as easy as it sounds because I think that it can put you face to face with who you really are but as it is transposed symbolically the healing is done underneath - I am not sure I can express this correctly enough.

I can say that it happens that I just get caught in repetitive mental loops or negative thoughts but I think this might be as well a good thing as it can make me aware of such blocks.
I had weird things happening like that with voices of different people or most probably dissociated parts of myself made aware.

Maybe art involving drawing, sculpting and so on is like music or dancing, it involves your body and mind being busy at the same time but when your practice is good enough, you can just let the motor center take over while you drift away ?

Maybe it would depend on which kind of dissociations you had when a child, some would be more receptive to reading, others to music.
I think that engaging people in doing something creative and not just being receptive to something external osit with the aim of bringing back to light unconscious parts of themselves is a great tool for self-transformation or at least self-awareness.

Role-playing game was a good experience as well, it was for fun but I remember that it was also a good way of acting out who you wanted to be for good or for worse.

I don't think I have the whole banana on this at all, it's just my personal experience about it.
 

Helle

Jedi Master
Lúthien said:
Hi Helle,

Times when I dissociate in a positive way is when I do gardening.
I believe it to be positive because I feel I connect with myself somehow, doing psychical labor, being outside, hands buried in soil.

Exercising is another way where I can dissociate in a positive way. I turn my eye so inward that I completely loose myself mentally, and it makes me feel renewed afterwards.
Gardening or other physical activities are certainly positive (though I'm ashamed to say that is not really my cup of tea and I should exercise more :-[). However, Laura's specific question here is:

So, if you think about dissociating in this way, what kinds of movies, shows, games, fantasies, reading material, etc, would you consider
positive?
Oh ya.. read the question before answering.. :-[

A lot of Sci Fi material makes me dissociate positively. I remember how Bringers of the Dawn resonated with me, it was THE book that lead me to the Cass site and the old Yahoo casschat way back. All Laura's material actually makes me dissociate in a positive way.
The TV series V , some star trek and starwars too. Same with battlestar galactica.

Need to think more about this..
 

Gawan

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Sometimes I like to ponder in art books, for example in one book from Leonardo da Vinci, which contains almost all -big- paintings. Or in another book with art from artists from about 1300 till 1850.
Another thing what could be good are cropcircles, to have in general somehow as most as possible objective art available. Maybe it goes in the direction what RedFox mentioned?: to have a seed to ponder on, which means the seed is what -we- are looking at, watching, hearing etc.

In a more practical sense I also like drawing/sketching, where I dive into another world so to speak.

Ana said:
I do remember two movies tha timpress/ impact me in my childhood, one is The labyrinth and the other one is The neverending story.

[...]

The never ending story gave me strength and faith in the possible existence of another kind of world, and how this world that is first only perceived as an illusory an hanker one, can later became one and the same with the physical world.

Falkor the luckdragon wich helps Atreyou represent for me the power from above that helps anyone who goes in search of truth, I also remember "The swamp of sadness" it really broke my heart seeing Atreyu's horse being swallowed by the swamp without fighting while Atreyou was in despair struggling to save him.
Same here I also liked this film really much when I have been a kid, well it has been impressive.
FWIW it's also from the author who wrote Momo: Michael Ende's 'Momo' - an allegory for Laura & the C's?, nontheless just a side note: the author himself didn't like the movie, because the film only contained the first half of the story from the original book, for example.
 

Mountain Crown

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
[quote author=Tigersoap]Maybe art involving drawing, sculpting and so on is like music or dancing, it involves your body and mind being busy at the same time but when your practice is good enough, you can just let the motor center take over while you drift away ?[/quote]

Yes. I can attest to this from my stage expeirience, especially when singing. Also, now more often than not, I'm near to being completely split into the doer and the observer.
 

ana

The Living Force
Gawan said:
Same here I also liked this film really much when I have been a kid, well it has been impressive.
FWIW it's also from the author who wrote Momo: Michael Ende's 'Momo' - an allegory for Laura & the C's?, nontheless just a side note: the author himself didn't like the movie, because the film only contained the first half of the story from the original book, for example.
Thank you Gawan, I didn't read it and found it in PDF, I am going to start right now!
 
H

Hildegarda

Guest
What a great question!

I would separate dissociation into "active" and "passive": "active" being the kind in which you perform the actions and direct its course, and "passive" being the kinds where you are watching the actions being performed and get in sink with them.

For myself, I find more examples of positive dissociation among the active modes.

There are I think two very beneficial kinds of such activities, IMO. One is an open-ended creative pursuit that comes without a script. Something where you don't follow directions or go through multiple choices, but improvise and either channel from above or act out and resolve what's already in. E.g., writing, dance or music improvisation (as opposed to, say, playing a video-game).

Conversely, the other is an activity where you have to repeat something in an exact way multiple times. That has a value of giving you skills -- preparing the instrument of you -- for the open-ended activity where those skills can be used
as building blocks. It also has a separate value of calming and organizing your mind and putting it in a meditative state. This give the mind a chance to work through things gently while the hands are busy. E.g., practicing scales, calligraphy, weaving, quilting, or string games.

I think there also seem to be value in dissociation that is produced by full-body activities. IMO it's not an accident that people in most native rituals around the world people dance and sing simultaneously, or that people always tend to hum while they are working (in Russian peasant culture, there was a whole subset of songs\chants that was performed by women while doing embroidery or sewing).

This brings me to the question of the action content. I really can't put my finger on it yet, but some images and musical sounds \ tones are definitely "beneficial", while others are not, judging by how one feels emerging from the experience of
observing them or making them. That is irrespective of how open-ended etc the activity was. Probably has something to do with frequency resonance.

fwiw,
 
H

Hildegarda

Guest
Why can someone expand their imagination in a two dimensional world - a world that is clearly NOT real nor even purports to be - but cannot do the same in relation to the real world? I suspect some insidious programming relating to the use of cartoons.
I think stand-up comedy and performance art may be vulnerable to this also.

Hmm, are we talking about the "using" (watching, playing with cartoon-related themes), or "producing" (drawing) the cartoons? Because IMO there's a difference between the two.

Cartoons, both in film or on paper, as in comics, are a very versatile and challenging art form. With its ability to convey movement and 3D qualities of the object in 2D, it's very expressive.

Also, a lot of the contemporary "elite art" seems incredibly nonsensical, bizarre, and frankly doesn't even require any bona fide art skills in creation of its "objects". This is why, from what I have read - and I can see why this is -- a lot of really good artists appear to go into cartoons, and some of them produce superb and meaningful characters and drawings.

Now, "using" cartoons extensively is another matter, because that activity, and the culture it creates, can really suck one into a never-ending pattern of "negative" dissociation. Here is a story that I think was on SOTT at one point, in a "don't panic" section:

Taichi Takashita launched an online petition campaign that will allow him to marry his beloved Asahina Mikuru legally. But the problem is that Asahina Mikuru is a fictitious anime character of “Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya”. Surprisingly more than 1000 people supported his online petition. He needs a total of 1 million signatures for this petition. So far there’s only 999,999 signatures to go.

“I am no longer interested in three dimensions. I would even like to become a resident of the two-dimensional world.”

“However, that seems impossible with present-day technology. Therefore, at the very least, would it be possible to legally authorise marriage with a two-dimensional character?”

“For a long time I have only been able to fall in love with two-dimensional people and currently I have someone I really love,” one signatory to the petition wrote.

“Even if she is fictional, it is still loving someone. I would like to have legal approval for this system at any cost.”
:scared:
 

3DStudent

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thanks for this thread, I've been thinking about this some lately. I dissociate and daydream a lot, especially at my job where I do physical and mechanical labor. It kind of annoys me because I've labeled it as "bad". It's usually scenarios of what I imagine others would say and I can identify programs running most of the time. Maybe it's not that bad though in that I can find the programs, but it seems to be a lot of predator's mind for me. I'll sometimes "argue with myself", where I'll act like a person that I know and be myself as well, which seems like a lot of ego and self-importance. Sometimes though, I'll just plan what I'm going to do or think about something esoteric and I don't mind doing so in this manner.

Like it's been said, I too find The Neverending Story and The Labyrinth to be good movies. But I don't think they made much conscious impact on me, my seeking came in adolescence and young adulthood it seems. I used to watch a lot of cartoons as well, but they don't seem to have much positive influence on me either. But the movie that got me on this path was of course The Matrix. It made me think and I watched it until I understood it. There have probably been some books that have had impact on me too in early years in school. In high school you are supposed to analyze the dynamics about a book, but I don't think I really understood the deeper meanings of them at that age.

Lastly, there are video games. This is a familiar subject for me because I spent most of my life "lost" in these things, starting at the early age of 4. It was only when I came to the forum and read the video game threads that I could see that it was a way of becoming more mechanical. So I haven't played them for a few months now and have no intentions of doing so. In fact, I'm in the process of packing them up and selling them. When I first thought of doing this, it gave me great joy to think that this burden could finally be over. So it has become one of my recent aims to finally physically get rid of them. It seems they are mostly about self-aggrandizement and pursuing goals that never end. I'm glad to say that when I read this thread which stated at least the remote possibility that video games could be beneficial, my predator's mind had nothing on me in trying to get me to change my mind and "seek again that pot of gold". Just something personal that I want to get resolved.

:P

So, no doubt some of these forms of entertainment and leisure can be productive if we're in the right mode and we can take something useful from them. It seems it would be great if every time we take a break we can have some fun and take away something of lasting value from it. I also think I'll look differently at my daydreaming from now on.
 

alphonse

Jedi Master
I am grateful and relieved at this question

Because I have been wondering where “avoidance” and positive dissociation cross over.

I compare it to when my alarm clock goes off in the morning and I press the little button that gives you an extra 10 minutes in bed, the “snooze button”. I rarely need the alarm to wake me, but sometimes the bed seems so comfy, and I look across at my wife or one of the kids that has crept in and cuddled up to her, and I feel safe and comfortable and feel that the things I have to face during the day seem so daunting, that hitting the snooze button feels like I can delay the things that I know I have to confront, for another precious 10…or sometimes 20 minutes. It is the loveliest 10 minutes of the day. But it is definitely avoiding, or at least delaying.

I have recently been worried that this is also something that may be going on for me in The Work. I have always been a slow reader, and have several of the books on the reading list “on the go” in different place, to read when I can snatch some time, but I find they really have to resound with me before I can move on. (For example: I read Political Ponerology, finished it and started it straight away, from the beginning, because I felt I needed it to sink in, to really understand it”.

So I worry that sometimes, I retreat to where it is “comfy”, and instead of pushing on with my reading the Work, or interacting on issues I find relevant forum, I switch on a film or watch the cricket or the football. I worry that that’s the equivalent of “hitting the snooze button” because “waking up” is daunting, and facing the reality of how Ponerized the world is – how truly deeply penetrated it is frightens the life out of me. But could that be explained as positive dissociation?

To answer Laura’s question about what I find “positive” watching my favourite team play football or cricket does dissociate me and kind of “freshen up” my mind. I worry that I am being trivial or trite in my enjoyment of it.

And after reading threads in the “Movies and Trivia” section, and seeing how fellow members read much in to what I considered to be fairly simple stories, taking them at “face value” as just stories or fantasies, I wondered if was m, that was being too superficial.


Laura said:
It seems to me that the significance of dissociating depends entirely on
what happens during that time - on the content - and, most importantly,
WHY it is being done.
I think some TV shows for example, though they help to dissociate, can have a negative affect. For instance my wife comes in late, after teaching yoga, and we have some dinner and recently on Mondays nights have been watching a crime series with unpleasant scenes and themes. After which, we do the EE breathing programme and Meditation, and both agree that the images from the programme just weren’t conducive to what we are trying to achieve through the breathing and meditation!

Perhaps the answer is to be more selective?


Moderator's note: Just a hint, instead of writing in brackets quote from Laura you have to write quote=Laura and that will do the job.
 

Breton

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Laura said:
I've been thinking about the positive uses of dissociation and ....
Hello Laura, I want to relate that your request made me angry.

I feel like I spent a lifetime in a dream. I lived in fantastic worlds of science fiction and fantasy and comic books. After I got married and found that I made a mistake, the thing I most looked forward to was going to sleep: because in the act of drifting into a slumber I could escape to grand adventures, or at least peacefully explore nature or new worlds without my wife around.

It was ok, to dream my life away as much as possible, even while holding down a job, and raising children, because hey, I believed in Jesus reconciliation work and so when the end came to this life, eternity in heaven awaited. No point in looking at life TOO clearly was there? The world was, as far as I could see, pretty ugly, full of lies and corruption, (satan basically owned the world) so there was no point in looking at it too carefully. Add to that: the whole religion thing is to live in a dream, of imagined "specialness" and surety of a "huge reward".

Escape! Escape!

However, then came the truth seeking and studying the world. Then came the C's and Gurdjieff:

In Search Of The Miraculous said:
"'Imagination' is one of the principal sources of the wrong work of centers ...
...
Daydreaming is absolutely the opposite of 'useful' mental activity. 'Useful' in this case means activity directed towards a definite aim and undertaken for the sake of obtaining a definite result.
...
I want reality! My SOUL cries out for objectivity! I want the lights turned up bright!

And then you bring up willful use of imagination? Dissociation? Arrrrghhh!

But that is my emotional center talking.
[Maybe I should have put it in the "Swamp"]


Laura said:
It seems to me that the significance of dissociating depends entirely on what happens during that time - on the content - and, most importantly, WHY it is being done.
However, my intellectual center says that you have a good question, and I hope you are correct: that we can use a dissociation and imagination for positive development. I think that it would have to be used to aid objectivity. For example, self observing how we use these things could give us insights to our "machine" (personality, programs and so on).

Maybe it would have to be something that helps "clean the machine". Can imagination and dissociation be used in such a way so it removes emotional blocks, like the breathing and meditation program is doing? As you pointed out in your original post, there is dissociation involved in the breathing program: "in addition to what we have already surmised about meditation as a dissociative healing process, a way to get in touch with the higher
self..."

This requires more thought.

We probably have developed very bad habits in this area, unfortunately. The mega-entertainment industry has made a fortune in encouraging escapism in us: which is probably the wrong use of dissociation, as far as I see it.

However, let me relate of one active fantasy that I employ still: that is, giving lectures to an imagined group of people. I also speak out loud when I do this. (I have to be alone though, like when the family is out). The topic that I am exploring in my speech takes on its own life and flows and expands and often becomes more clear when I do this. So it is a half fantasy and half really doing something with a particular aim: to try to understand a matter so well that I am able to communicate it to others. Or that is, I IMAGINE that I can communicate it to others.

I don't know if this adds to the discussion.

All my best,
_Breton_


For reference:

In Search of The Miraculous said:
"'Imagination' is one of the principal sources of the wrong work of centers. Each center has its own form of imagination and daydreaming, but as a rule both the moving and the emotional centers make use of the thinking center which very readily places itself at their disposal for this purpose, because daydreaming corresponds to its own inclinations. Daydreaming is absolutely the opposite of 'useful' mental activity. 'Useful' in this case means activity directed towards a definite aim and undertaken for the sake of obtaining a definite result. Daydreaming does not pursue any aim, does not strive after any result. The motive for daydreaming always lies in the emotional or in the moving center. The actual process is carried on by the thinking center. The inclination to daydream is due partly to the laziness of the thinking center, that is, its attempts to avoid the efforts connected with work directed towards a definite aim and going in a definite direction, and partly to the tendency of the emotional and the moving centers to repeat to themselves, to keep alive or to recreate experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant, that have been previously lived through or 'imagined.' Daydreaming of disagreeable, morbid things is very characteristic of the unbalanced state of the human machine, After all, one can understand daydreaming of a pleasant kind and find logical justification for it. Daydreaming of an unpleasant character is an utter absurdity. And yet many people spend nine tenths of their lives in just such painful daydreams about misfortunes which may overtake them or their family, about illnesses they may contract or sufferings they will have to endure. Imagination and daydreaming are instances of the wrong work of the thinking center.

"Observation of the activity of imagination and daydreaming forms a very important part of self-study.
 

Odyssey

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
As far as positive dissociation...I sometimes picture myself in tense, uncomfortable or scary situations and see what I would do to get out of it. I ask myself how I would survive if I were homeless, or what if there was a war or some sort of apocalyptic event what would I do. How could I help my family? What would society be like? Kind of the like Creating a New World thread.

I really like a lot of sci-fi or stories that take place in a different time period (I like medieval times) or in a world unlike our own. I imagine myself in the characters place and picture how I would behave in the situation. More recently, I think of what knowledge would guide my behavior in these made up situations and what knowledge I would need that I am currently lacking to make it through. The lord of the rings movies, the last Harry Potter, Wizard of OZ and "disaster movies" like the Day after Tomorrow are great. I like Octavia Butler's sci-fi books and I just finished Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.

Other times I imagine possible future scenarios in the real world like when planning for an event or a job interview. I even interview myself or have conversations in my head while recapitulating or exploring various topics.

As Hildegarda put it, more "passive" forms of dissociation just seem to be time suckers.
 

Adaryn

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Breton said:
Laura said:
I've been thinking about the positive uses of dissociation and ....
Hello Laura, I want to relate that your request made me angry.

I feel like I spent a lifetime in a dream. I lived in fantastic worlds of science fiction and fantasy and comic books. After I got married and found that I made a mistake, the thing I most looked forward to was going to sleep: because in the act of drifting into a slumber I could escape to grand adventures, or at least peacefully explore nature or new worlds without my wife around.
Hi Breton,

it seems Laura's question has hit a nerve. Let's try to cool down our horses and calmly reflect on the subject :)
You talk of sci-fi and comic books and using imagination to escape ie: avoid dealing with your own life issues and with those who are "part of your film". I think we'll all agree that this is a negative way to dissociate. But what if what Laura's talking when she writes "positive dissociation" had nothing to do with fantasy and escaping, but on the contrary, helped us to think and reflect on our own life and issues, relationships, communication problems, family dynamics and so on?
What kind of works - if any - (be it movies, books, shows and so on) might trigger "positive dissociation"?
 

Al Today

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Where would creativity be without imagination? Pulling from my limited life experience, in developing application software, I can't say how many times I've looked into the eyes of the requester and said: "You Want What?". I would then blend knowledge, research, and imaginative creativity to find possible solutions. Without creative, positive, goal oriented imagination, I just do not know how we could function. I am not talking about "wishfull thinking", daydreaming, or escapism...
 

Mrs. Peel

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I spent a great deal of my life dissociating, I had an entire cast of characters I'd made up for myself to "be." Curiously, I only "played them out" when listening to music. As a kid, I'd sit on my swingset with an AM transister radio (only the old folks will remember them!) playing the top 40 and go off into a world where I was pretty, popular, didn't wear thick glasses, and nobody made fun of me.

As I kid, I read a great deal, lots of the types of books that deal with families, real-life situations, etc. Catherine Cookson was an example of an author who wrote over 100 books based on her personal experiences in life. Some would follow generations of a family, and had a main character that wasn't pretty and popular and the story would be of her trials and tribulations throughout life. They didn't always end happy either. But they were thought provoking.

"She became the United Kingdom's most widely read novelist, while remaining a relatively low-profile figure in the world of celebrity writers. Her books were inspired by her deprived youth in North East England, the setting for her novels. Her books were, she said, historical novels about people and conditions she knew."
 

ana

The Living Force
Tigersoap said:
Maybe art involving drawing, sculpting and so on is like music or dancing, it involves your body and mind being busy at the same time but when your practice is good enough, you can just let the motor center take over while you drift away ?
Everything we do, we can do it conscious or unconsciously(different levels), and it is absolutely different seeing someone dancing/sculping/singing/drawing/talking consciously as an expression of essence/being and someone doing it busy letting the motor center act unconsciously, and the result is totally different, wasn’t Gurdjieff who talked of objective and subjective art.
 
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