Positive Dissociation?

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forge

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Laura said:
[..]
So, my question relates more directly to: Okay, we know that we have this need to get relief, let's figure out how BEST to utilize it to undo the damage that is being done.
A movie of ours has to contain, i think, contrasty scenes - in light and form - resembling oil paintings. Like Ostrov or V for Vendetta. Fulcanelli mentioned a lot of pictograms. Put in load of symbols and I-Ching. Our movie has to be density controlled: go mildly first then introduce a lot of symbolic elements. Authentic crop circles in form of spirals, double yin-yangs and so on. Limestone sculptures - explained in Fulcanellis book - possibly shown in artistic lighting? Cathedral windows. Every movie techniques should be tested for best effect searching for possible healing elements. Throw out what doesn't work.

Music, sound effects: high pitched melodic sounds that begin to modulate and conjoin with such a force that causes vibration in the body of the listener. Sound-engineered effects can do that even with stereo earphones. Humming - Gurdjieffs octaves mixed on digital and analog synthesizers or human humming sounds- modulating in intensity. All kinds of drums for rhythm. Choirs - chants, try most things and throw out what does not have an effect on the majority of the listeners. Or put everything into the movie that has an effect on different listener groups.

Gourdjieff mentioned that powerful piano Alla Attapan of the saint brothers to create 'order of succession of the processes of reciprocal blending of vibrations,' to heal or to destroy.

Basically what we may get, i think, will profoundly differ from everything the contemporary entertainment industry can spew out. Even just managing to touch the essence of a real treatment and create only the 'intro', we might bring out from almost everybody the artist, the shaman, the warrior, the essential self. Little soundtracks and movie series from Cassiopaea Movie Company. That could be a total liberation of the masses.

A colossal work.
 

RedFox

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Laura said:
So, my question relates more directly to: Okay, we know that we have this need to get relief, let's figure out how BEST to utilize it to undo the damage that is being done.

The problem is - as with everything else on this god-forsaken planet - we have been under this influence literally for thousands of years and how the heck are we going to be able to really identify what is good and decent with the way we think, with what we are familiar with, with all the lies our heads are full of?
I think to answer that may take a lot of trial and error....but that's ok :)
Well, I've been thinking about that and perhaps if we can see what the PTB utilise it for, how it shapes us and to what end (what there ultimate vision is) we can perhaps flip that on its head to work out what the opposite would be?? We could at least rule out what it Shouldn't be.

So off the top of my head some examples (that may be slightly characterised)....

TV Soap Opera's - human/life dramas
Usually 1 dimensional characters, idealistic, pathological, narcissistic, black and white, entropic, lacking creativity....at there core. Add touches of the opposite and emotive subjects and you have a hit soap that twists (trains) peoples perceptions of what is/isn't socially acceptable......people get lost in them, learn behaviour and patterns from them and spend hours discussing them. Families even gather together to watch them as a group.

So we have a passive (receptive/learning?) social acceptable/binding dissociative activity, which is discussed afterwards.

Shakespear - human/life dramas
If you have not seen the Globe Theatre it is quite an intimate thing, and you are very close to the actors.....I don't know enough about shakespear to say how twisted or not his plays are, but I do know that it would have had the same effect as the soap opera...and was probably so popular because of it.

The differences.....close human contact (no separation/isolation via the TV....which the PTB tend to encourage)....and although stylised can be educational/thought provoking and discussed afterwards. Rather than passive social programming its interactive visceral/emotional social exploration/mirroring.

....and as other have mentioned Shamanism, I think that 'cosmic drama' could well be the last step in the sequence.

Out of curiosity....How many people dissociated when they watched the knowledge and being video?? I think I did....but not in a passive way.

So perhaps at its core....a dissociative state is a state in which you can connect to another source (external or internal) from which you can learn/gain knowledge from (or be passively programmed by)....a stepping outside/aside of the (ego?) self so that things can go on inside yourself without interference.....channeling/tuning/grooving via local (or remote but still mostly 3D) connection perhaps?
If that is so....perhaps then disassociation is related to Be my daily bread? A feeding/growth of the soul perhaps?? Negative dissociation being the junk food of the soul?
 

Beau

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Laura said:
So, if you think about dissociating in this way, what kinds of movies,
shows, games, fantasies, reading material, etc, would you consider positive?
Like what has been said already, any movies/books that deal with human drama and develop characters that are rich with complexities would fit in this category. I do remember a few from watching in high school that I think would be considered, IMO, good for PD. Films like 12 Angry Men, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Of Mice and Men (the one with John Malkovich) are a few that I thought of right away. TV shows area also good in this area because they have the time to develop strong character arcs over many episodes/seasons. TV shows that revolve around a family would be good for this, like All in the Family, The Jeffersons, and The Cosby Show. I kinda see some of the newer sci-fi centric shows in the same vein, from Firefly to Battlestar Galactica and Lost.

They are really rich in developing person to person dramas and they use the milieu as a springboard to do that. I would even throw Twin Peaks in there, it's basically about a small town and the relationships between the people living in it, with the murder of a popular high school girl as the driving force. I know I felt like I met a lot of the people created by David Lynch for that show. It may be weird and disturbing, but their is also the dynamics between people that can be used to learn about life.

Jumping to reading material, I personally have always been a fan of Stephen King. Two books of his that I really love are The Stand and Needful Things. When I was in high school I particularly enjoyed reading Shakespeare and thinking about it, his works would seem to fall in this category.

That's all I can think of for now, but I'll give it some more thought and see if their are any more that would fit into positive dissociation.
 

Beau

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Puck said:
'Sports' have that dualism also, they can be escapist, or they can be employed creatively as an expressive outlet, a way to train one's body and mind, to focus on being in the moment. The sports I'm pondering are snowboarding, paintball, martial arts, dance and bike riding/running. Team sports can also teach one cooperation, how to allow others to fill in when your weak in one area and how to utilize your strengths so that overall the team can achieve its goals and win. This is a big strategy we employ in dodgeball.
That got me to thinking. I spent a lot of years involved in organized (team) sports during high school and college. I can say that I really learned a lot about life from the relationships between teammates and from the head coach. The coach wasn't just a basketball coach, he was a life coach, a sort of father figure not just teaching about strategies but also teaching you how to be a better, more mature person. I have looked back at my time involved with that with fondness, even though at the time their are definitely moments when you hate your coach and feel like he is the devil. The team eventually becomes a family because of all the time spent together in practice, pushing each other to improve and also in weightlifting sessions. You learn unselfish behaviors and also a lot of social skills as well, at least it was that way for me. I can say I did a lot of growing up from being involved with such activities, so my opinion is that their is a definite positive quality to being involved in sports, if used correctly.
 

knowledge_of_self

The Living Force
This thread is very interesting so far and a lot of interesting things have been stated and great food for thought. Apologies for the backtracking but I felt the need to answer this.

Laura said:
Hmmm... makes me wonder about cartoons. 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 there is programming in every form of visual entertainment and to some extent reading material.

For me, cartoons were a form of escape in Iran, because I was born during time of Iran/Iraq war and also my parents got divorced when I was 7 and I used cartoons as a way to ‘escape’ the horrible reality I was in. Not to mention that from the time you’re put into school, the schools are very ponerized and absolutely cover the minds of children with filth.

Picture getting up at 6 AM to go to school, stand in a line from 7AM to 9 AM (9 classes start) and for 2 hours you are listening to the principal or vice principal talk about religion, the need to have a veil over your head so that not a strand of hair is seen, and talk so much bias about the western world (namely America) and have the children chant “Death to America” for 10-15 mins before heading to class. This is the world I grew up in… and therefore escape into cartoons was a necessity of sort, so I could keep my mental health. And of course I come home, and watch cartoons that are from this world they speak so poorly of in school. Where women don’t need to cover their hair and if anything have women heroin in cartoons that are half naked (The Little Mermaid)

This may be getting off track here, but I just wanted to give a little bit of background info on how we actually got movies back in my childhood in Iran. There was no such thing as a movie store, it was a forbidden topic. The way we got movies was through a guy who we referred to as ‘filmi’ i.e. ‘movie guy’ who most of the time was a private cab driver. He would come to our house once a week with one sometimes two suitcases of bootleg VCR tapes. He would come to our house, we would pick the movies in rush because he was very sketchy about getting caught and always told us to hurry up. We would pick our movies and the next week the same ordeal.

The reason I give this info is to picture how many kids like me used cartoons or movies as an ‘escape’ to the real world they lived in. A world where nothing in schools or anywhere gave you mental stimulation to expand your mind/imagination. The most you got in school in terms of mental stimulation was religious studies/ studying Koran. Therefore, I think the ponerized/psychopathic world we live in is partly responsible for our lack of creativity. At least for me it was very much this way. I considered myself lucky that my parents were open-minded about western ideas and went to the lengths of getting a movie guy even though it was risky business.

Now, mind-programming in Disney movies is another matter on its own because as we all know Disney has a lot of sexual content programming kids, etc. Take the Little Mermaid for instance; even though it is such a lovable cartoon, they have essentially butchered the original story by Hans Christian Andersen, which is mostly an esoteric story imo. So I’m not glorifying Disney in the least or anything, I’m just saying compared to what we had in Iran- it was ‘escape’ to say the least.

I know people that watch anime and cartoons that have heavy plotlines that require one to expand their way of thinking. And they can watch and do that for the period of time they watch the cartoon, but they can’t even come close to apply that action in the real world regarding ‘conspiracy theories’ such as oh I don’t know… how the flu pandemic is a bunch of bs created by the medical industry. They even play many video games that describe this very fact of flu vaccines being given to the people by a corrupted government who just wanted to make some more money or something to that sort. But they just CAN’T go there in real life. This fact boggles my mind.
 

Biomiast

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As for TV series, I suggested it before, but I want to point out again that Legend of the Seeker has a really interesting subject. It is based on Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth novels and here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:

Goodkind portrays in his novels that individuals can remain true in the face of adversity without sacrificing their values and moral beliefs. Goodkind's protagonists show that they have courage when making choices, even when faced with difficult situations, and they remain steadfast even when faced with mistakes in their own judgment. The Sword of Truth series also offers a stark contrast between Objectivist and socialist or collectivist beliefs in its portrayal of political dynamics.

...

Goodkind offers his philosophical views in many of the volumes of the Sword of Truth series. He is an Objectivist, and while he does not write to promote his philosophy, it does come through in his writings. Terry Goodkind himself has stated in interviews that he is not writing fantasy, but rather is writing about important human themes: stories about heroes who can overcome, to project a life worth living.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sword_of_Truth

And it seems to me, this was what early legends were about: "Projecting a life worth living." I don't know if any of you watched it but I also suggest Merlin, a BBC production. It kind of destroys the whole Merlin legend but it is really funny and thought-provoking. It describes a time when Merlin and Arthur were at the same age(I know that they normally aren't) and shows how they interacted with each other when they're young. It is very similar to Legend of the Seeker in terms of human interactions and deep emotions.

I am not sure if it counts as a positive dissociation, and it is a personal method, but recently when I sit down to eat, I try to imagine the lives of the things on my plate before they were brought together. And from their lives comes the farmer's life who gathered them, and his children's life, and their dreams, and the pressure of society etc. I am conscious of what I am thinking, but I don't push anything, I just let it flow. It is also quite entertaining. It helps me to feel connected with the things I have eaten and with my environment. It makes me more sensitive to suffering and joy of Creation at the same time. I am not sure if this is what Laura meant, but I thought I should just mention it.

Just my two cents, fwiw.
 

knowledge_of_self

The Living Force
Laura said:
So, my question relates more directly to: Okay, we know that we have this need to get relief, let's figure out how BEST to utilize it to undo the damage that is being done.
Hmm I just had a thought that perhaps the Knowledge & Being videos were a great form of positive dissosiation? Since it IS a movie, but it makes you think :P

Also, how about documentaries? Of course it can't be said for all types of documentaries, but there are some that really delve into deep life issues and also teach you lessons. So again, can they be considered as positive dissociation?

And lastly, there is a cartoon called the "Magic School Bus" I used to watch this all the time when I came to Canada, because it was very educational and very fun to watch. So perhaps anything that can be used as a form of teaching tool can be a form of positive dissosiation?

Just some thoughts I wanted to add...
 

Meg

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Laura said:
So, if you think about dissociating in this way, what kinds of movies,
shows, games, fantasies, reading material, etc, would you consider positive?
Along with the movie and TV show suggestions already made, I think mystery shows/movies like Perry Mason, Miss Marple or Charlie Chan would be positive to disassociate to.

Mystery novels written by Ellery Queen, Conan Doyle or Rex Stout would be positive as well. Trying to solve murders builds critical thinking skills. My 2 cents :)
 

brainwave

Jedi Master
I can say with certainty that a lot of my dissociating has been done by engaging in other's fantasy via books as a temporary escape. From the time I learned to read, my escape from teasing and just plain ole negative feelings was to delve into a book. It was a way to visit other places and "meet" other people through the stories. The characters did not call me names or try to beat me up and I often identified with what the character was feeling. It was fantasy land.

As a child I liked mostly mysteries and also adventure tales. In walked miles to borrow nancy drew and hardy boys books from the library van. As a teen, I was more into classical mythology and the Irish and English writers like shakespere, Jane austen, bronte sisters and james joyce (though I didn't particularly understand a lot of it). In my love for this sort of stuff I doubled up in english courses so I could take special topics classes on each writer. But there is another form of dissociation that I do which is more active. That is the lab stuff getting my hands wet or building model planes. So I also doubled up on the science classes just to be able to hang out in the bio lab and the aerodesign lab.

In my early twenties I discovered sci-fi and never looked back because it combined the human drama of the classic writers with a sort of future science backdrop. I am not just into space opera pulp sci-fi though. I tend to dissociate with books in the vein of Octavia Butler's Parable series, Orson Scott Card's ender's series, anything by Ursula Le Guin, Doris Lessing's Canopus in Argos series, the Dune series by Frank Herbert and Foundation Series by Asimov. For a time during my previous marriage, I was also into reading Anne Rice's vampire books as an escape. Although I am not sure how positive they were, I did begin see the subtle seduction involved in a vampiric relationship and compared it to my marriage. As I began to see that I was in a vampiric relationship, I realized I was not completely innocent either. Those books did not help me see how to get out of it, however, in fact I felt rather stuck as if I just had to toughen up and bear my cross in life. Then I discovered
other readings recommended on the cass lists. Those readings were not dissociation I think, but more knowledge input. Books like Women who run with wolves, the castenada books and later Gurdjieff. Later came all the psychology books like narcissistic family and so on.

In all, the type of books I like to read in order to dissociate are those that I think involve psychological complexities that arise from relationships between the different characters. Stuff like how people deal with each other through shared as well as personal difficulties all while enduring social upheaval or major changes. I find such books to be studies in human nature, tough I am not sure they create ntew patterns of behavior for me hence not necessarily positive. However, these types of books tend to make me think a lot about how perceptions color everything and in turn how I view and respond to my environment. Shikasta by Doris lessing was huge for me in that regard. The books I read for knowledge input vary and sometimes include those by fiction authors like Doris Lessing.

When I want to just read an adventure just for the sake of escape or
dissociating I would read something by Neal Stephenson. His Baroque Cycle was surprising in that it was supposed to be just
some fun reading to get my mind off the usual, and it was, but I learned a lot about the
advent of the banking system and the issues between the various protestant groups and nobility and of course the early colonial american history, all told in a very comedic fiction.


Movies and TV I tend to use less for dissociating. I am not a big movie person because I sometimes get so involved that I have physical reactions when viewing-shaking crying feeling sick etc. Aside from the Lord of the Rings, Matrix and V for vendetta type blockbusters of recent years, I never saw a lot of the popular hit films of my childhood and teen years like star wars and so on until more recently. One friend thought I was seriously deprived. Even when watching those films, especially the matrix, there were scenes that I just could not watch at all.


I watch TV even less than I do movies, but the past two years I have received DVDs of popular shows as gifts. I watch them while in the sauna blanket or play them while doing other things around the house. I like Firefly and Carnivale (though that is just basic good and evil stuff) and the Simpsons. The one exception to my TV avoidance was Battlestar Galactica. Until the series ended last March I actually looked forward to it each week. It was one hour that was for no worries but watching a TV show . It is similar to the sci fi books that I like as it delves into relationships, people's past and how to function in the present while facing a survival type situation. It was also a very dark series and at times left me trembling and tearful during many a viewing. In a way I believed I was practicing 'steeling' myself' for horrible situations.

This physical reaction to the events as they transpire on film is as I mentioned before is one reason why dissociating via this particular medium is not a method I use often. When am watching a character go though all sorts of stuff, it feels as if I am going through it too and sometimes it can be quite painful. Then, if I am watching with others they think I am having some sort of seziure or something. So film doesnt' always work for me. I liked to believe that choosing to watch Battlestar Galactia, even with the difficulties was an exercise in learning to not let my emotions get so out of wack that I can't watch but I also know that can be an illusion too.



I am also realizing more that for me the mechanism for dissociation depends on my emotional state. When I am depressed or feel bad about myself, I tend to read. When I am angry then my dissociation tends to be very active, or requires something more moving centered. I clean the house, or cook and invite my sisters over for a meal, or my all time favorite if I'm at home alone, which is rare now, is to crank up the music and get sweaty dancing around the house. Dancing off the anger have gotten me though what I call my breakdown when first I left College. Though that was more group dancing rather than dancing in my house with the music cranked up. When I was going through the divorce, would sometimes dance in the house or walked for blocks and blocks every day.I am not sure if it really helps me change my behavior but having to focus on my body moving in space or how I move in rhythm with the music without thinking too hard does something to me.I think most people use multiple means of dissociating and it depends on why they are trying to dissociate.

EE seems like a good example of positive dissociation that combines actively focusing on breathing a particular way, yet passive if one just listens to the tapes while doing it. It helps especially in the past few hectic weeks for me. It was really crazy in the lab because we have publication deadlines and conferences coming up along with my exams. I was working on some images for a journal article and got stuck. There was no one around who knew the software. A friend stopped in and actually helped me out with a crash course in photoshop. The next day though, I had more images to do and after 10 hours working on them was so frustrated I could not think straight. I left the lab in tears because I was staring at a deadline and felt useless. On the train I had to keep telling myself "just breathe, you'll will get to do the exercises when you get home". I came home and went straight for the breathing exercises as soon as I took care of getting the little one I went
to bed. Throughout the exercises I was not feeling particularly calm, in fact I felt wound very tight but somehow loosened up enough to fall asleep by the time it got to the meditation
stage. The upshot is I woke up the next morning feeling like a new person

. It almost as if something happened in those few hours between EE and sleep because when I got in the lab and sat at the computer everything I had to do just came to me quite easily. I actually managed to do much better work than anything I've done in a long time and finished it up pretty fast. Maybe I just needed rest which I normally would not have given myself a break from The difference this time is that in knowing I had a set time to do the EE as a goal forced me to get home so I could do it. Normally I would have done the usual which is to just keep mulling the problem over in my mind after getting home very late then lying in bed until I couldn't' take it anymore and get up in the middle of the night to work on it some more until morning then going off to work and the rat race again. Of course I would be a wreck that day. So just the discipline of knowing I have this exercise to do changes how I function. So, that was my example of a sort of conscious
way of positively dissociating, which helps me to be more functional.
 

Zadius Sky

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Heimdallr said:
Like what has been said already, any movies/books that deal with human drama and develop characters that are rich with complexities would fit in this category. I do remember a few from watching in high school that I think would be considered, IMO, good for PD. Films like 12 Angry Men, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Of Mice and Men (the one with John Malkovich) are a few that I thought of right away. TV shows area also good in this area because they have the time to develop strong character arcs over many episodes/seasons. TV shows that revolve around a family would be good for this, like All in the Family, The Jeffersons, and The Cosby Show. I kinda see some of the newer sci-fi centric shows in the same vein, from Firefly to Battlestar Galactica and Lost.
I also think that with drama/characters development and helping us to think would be considered a "positive" dissociation from movies/books/television/etc.

In the mid-90s, I've started watching and enjoyed sci-fi show Quantum Leap series, where a guy by the name of Sam Beckett has been "leaping" into the lives
of people, both men and women, by accident throughout time in the past (within his lifetime) correcting mistakes and undo the wrongs, which was the only way
for him to do to get home to his "time." It was a show that I find interesting to see the glimpses of other people in different times and their life-styles, etc. Each episode is very different, and I always find myself curious about what happened next and what will he do and what would he do differently. My mind was running the "what if's" questions.

I've always enjoyed watching shows and movies that have concepts, such as time-travel, past lives, and parallel universes, including Back to the Future movies, Sliders show, Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain, and recently the romantic The Time Traveler's Wife.

Where characters were developed so evidently, I see this in TV shows that I've watched in the recent years: StarGate shows, Battlestar Galactica (new version), Lost, NCIS, and Smallville.

Of course, I've watched a lot of horror shows/movies since the age of 5 or 6, so they as well the rest of what I've watched would fall under negative dissociation. But, as difficult as it is, I can't think of any good films for PD at the moment.

As for books, I usually read Star Wars books to add to my curiosity to see more stories (what happened before, between, and after the movies). K. A. Applegate's Everworld books, where several kids drawn into Everworld, a fantasy world from "real" world. Also, Time-travel books, such as Jack Finney's novels, Replay, Lightning (Koontz), etc.

And, in games, I usually like puzzle games and fantasy games that rendered us to "discover" things (I can't think of the names of the games as it's been so long since I've last played). Of course, we would have to eliminate the computer programing that would require us to "kill other characters" to get to that discovery. Would the concept of "discovery," as in playing/being a character to strive for discovery, be a one of "positive" dissociation?

That's all that I can think of at this moment as I am not sure what would be a good PD other than what was stated in this thread. All of the above is considered to be just escapism. ugh...
 

kenlee

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Regarding cartoons, I think one thing about them is that the energy exchanges in the cartoon move back and forth horizontally without losing potential even though they give the appearance of being actual events. But it’s only an image of actuality. If it's a cartoon with violence in it then one moment the character gets hurt and then the next moment that same character is like new again. The middle part, the actual part where the character is actually hurt (in that specific situation), and must heal, is (usually) not in the picture.

When I was young cartoons was one way for me to escape the harsh realities of life, especially when being picked on and laughed at by my older brother or the older kids at school (at that time my favorite cartoons were Kimba, the Flintstones, and the Jetsons). I’d watch the cartoons and suddenly the thoughts and images of the events that took place throughout the day were forgotten and were now replaced by the images dancing around on the TV screen. It was as if the 2D screen of the television replaced the 3D ‘sensitive screen’ of my everyday consciousness where all the events of the day with all the sensations, sounds, images, emotions and thoughts that go with it get imprinted and recorded. Along with that there would be a memory ‘afterglow’ of the events that had a certain depth to it. But when losing myself in the 2D television screen this 'depth' of the days events were lost (or inhibited from being reviewed) by my consciousness and even though I might remember the event today (especially if its traumatic), the essence of the event is not remembered and so a lot of the feelings associated with it that gave the event it’s depth is not remembered or if it’s remembered it’s only remembered in superficial outline only (and the fact that it happened).

I would have more difficulty re-experiencing the feelings, sensations, and my deeper inner thoughts that went with certain events because of this dissociation. So, this might be an example of negative dissociation and in this case the cartoons did not make me think and feel things and use my imagination creatively but, rather, they inhibited the actual re-experiencing of the days events along with the nature of the interrelationships that took place within it. It’s like the negative dissociation forms a psychological callous that grows over the sensitive psychological tissue of the inner psyche inhibiting the memory of the feeling of the depth of the experience. Like I can say “I remember this or that event” but if the event is traumatic the feelings that went with it can be numbed out and, along with that, the actual facts relating to the event can actually be changed, making it even more difficult to remember as it happened.

As I got a little older (about 11 or 12) and started to read a lot of science stuff, especially laymen books on atomic physics and relativity theory, I used to 'daydream' about those subjects and even write (very simplistic) theories about it all (with my best friend who had the same interest) but it might have been more then daydreaming since there were a lot of ideas being connected together in my mind from all the reading and daydreaming. So this might be more along the lines of positive dissociation since I was learning stuff while zoning out on these subjects during my 'daydreaming' and pondering.
 

Evolutionary1

Padawan Learner
Laura said:
Hmmm... makes me wonder about cartoons. 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 have found that anime has been a way for me to dissociate yet take away something useful and inspiring. I believe that part of the appeal is the realm of possibilities available to this medium--you can pretty much draw anything without worrying about going too big because of the budget. I am pretty picky about my anime, though. It is usually visually beautiful, which is part of the inspiration. And I prefer those that have an element of...metaphysics, the mystery and spirit of life, I suppose.


One of my favorites is "Fullmetal Alchemist." I love the emphasis on "the law of equal exchange," personal responsibility, and the fantastical interpretation of alchemy. It's very well written and multidimensional. "Deathnote" is also very intersting.
I think the books and flicks that I like best are the ones that make connections and help me to make connections in my own life--with myself and the universe. It can almost feel like a form of divination, the way themes from certain stories reflect and illuminate life's lessons making the stories and characters of our own lives less mundane. In a way, I do believe it may be more important how one interacts with these media, than the type. To a degree. The reason I say this is because I learn a lot about the negative aspects of life and people while cracking up at the same time whenever I watch "the Office." Steve Carell's character is so transparently sts though he has the best of intentions!


I've always liked fantasy novels, stories of good and evil, with strong characters. Right now I'd have to recommend The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. Amazing! There are so many amazingly complex characters on the backdrop of a world upon the threshold of a prophesied battle between good and evil that will "break" the world, though the outcome, the victor, cannot be known (though I suspect the good guys will win ;D). Sound familiar? There is a high magical element to the story, and a rich integration of philosophy, elements of Taoism, Christianity, Hinduism, and the interesting dynamic of the dominant feminine structure of the world as opposed to one more like ours...it's basically a creative interpretation of the cycles of human experience, the internal and external struggle of light and dark, good stuff written extraordinarily well. 12 books that it pains me to say I'm down to the last of.


Sorry to go on, but I've always been a reader and for a while gave up nonfiction reading, guiltily believing it wasn't useful and shouldn't be allowed. It wasn't enlightened enough :) I also went off of fantasizing about the future cold turkey about 2 months ago--I was kinda addicted--when I realized that it was dissociating me from my present, and I was trying to control the future by limiting it to my personal fantasies of how life "should" be and setting myself up for disappointment and non-acceptance. I suppose I could allow myself to fantasize about ways I can serve others now that this thread has brought a more balanced perspective. Thanks for that Laura! I can use all the creative avenues I can get.

other books that have helped me along:

the Celestine Prophecy

Atlas Shrugged (the interpretation of capitalism and free exchange helped me understand the concept of "people eating people," and the idea of currency as a physical representation of the energy and time released to earn it and the value of that energy in the world. Though there is an anti-altruism/compassion element in reaction to communism, and Ayn Rand was too rational for her own good, there is a lot to be taken from this brilliant story of "the Man" and the revolution)

the Stand by Stephen King

It by Stephen King

Dawn and it's sequels by Octavia Butler. The first and only black female sci-fi writer I've known of and quite original.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Harry Potter

Elfquest graphic novels/comics


That's all. Can't wait to actually catch up on this thread and hear more from others.
 

Avala

Dagobah Resident
Anything that puts me in certain mood and affects me as inspirational; makes me wish to make something. Makes me wish to bring that world that I imagine with that inspiration out in this world, and then I draw it, make it with photoshop, 3D or write it. In childhood to play that game and that feeling that I had during watching movie, reading book or just daydreaming, again, but in my interpretation. It was like every book, movie, comic book, even places that I go for first time had its own atmosphere, feeling, and then I could pick that feeling up and live it again wherever and whenever I wanted.


I even made my mother’s kitchen like that few years ago (banal analogy, but there it is). Was inspired with some catalogues, and then imagined kitchen like I am already in it. At the end, I made it exactly like I was already in it while dreaming of it. I do that from childhood, first I must “see” what I am making, and then make it. It’s somehow like I am really there.


Excluding pc games, they are empty and not inspirational at all.
 

henry

The Living Force
I think back to what it might have been like with our ancestors, sitting around a fire, with a storyteller or singer chanting or singing the myths that tied the community together. The stories portrayed events and heroes, heroines and villains and forces that represented the best and worst in people and gave solutions to problems the members of the community would face. They put forward the values that united them. At least that is how I imagine it.

Like so many others here, I used books and movies to dissociate big time, retreating into the fantasy worlds created by the authors. Philip K Dick was a favourite because he was constantly finding ways of questioning the fundamental nature of reality.

Many of them I would read, or consume, like eating a bowl of potato chips and they made my thinking as fat as a bowl of chips!

I watched a lot of films when I was younger. I worked in a repertory cinema for several years. It was my mode of escape of preference. Many of the films and directors I liked back then I now find devoid of interest. Films that touched too close to the bone emotionally made me uncomfortable because I was running from my own emotions. And a director like Ingmar Bergman, whose films I didn't like at all when I was 20, is now someone whose films I admire and whose depth of understanding of human relations is enormous. Unfortunately, those relations are generally twisted and distorted, as most of our relations are in this world. His ten-part series, Scenes From a Marriage, is an absolutely devastating look at a relationship over many years. Brutal. But psychologically spot-on.

I have been involved in the art world a bit, and it is as discouraging as the article Laura posted. Everything is driven by money, by trying to please curators, by following the latest trends.

Everything today is an industry, with producers and consumers.

The visual arts are pretty much irrelevant, cooped up in museums and galleries frequented by very few people. But even the best modern paintings are rarely seen in the flesh so to speak. We see only reproductions in books or on the net. But I have stood before a canvas by modern artists like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko or Marc Chagal and have been deeply moved. You don't get it from the reproductions in a book. But when I stood in front of the canvas itself, with the actual paint, there was something "more" there, as if for a moment I was in touch with the Creative force. That moment is then only as good as what you make of it. It might be similar to reading about UFOs and paranormal stuff. It can be useful in opening one's eyes to the fact that the world is a much stranger place than we are taught, but you stay fixed there at your peril. I found the best modern art can give a glimpse that there is a powerful Creative force at work in the world, but if you don't find a way of tapping into it in your own life, then it amounts to nothing.

But maybe there is a fundamental problem with the whole notion of art separated from life.

If I think back to our ancestors, I doubt there was 'visual art' separated from the actual building of dwellings or decorations of religious spaces. Maybe the whole notion of a visual art separated from the rest of the world is wrong. The art comes out in the way windows, roofs, walls, furniture, clothing and other objects of every day life are decorated.

Films, plays, and video that tell stories are different from the visual arts, I think. There is something special about good theatre with the physical presence of the actors. The German playwright Bertholt Brecht had an interesting theory about plays. He was a Marxist, even if he wasn't terribly orthodox, so I bring it forward with certain reservations, but he proposed methods that he hoped worked against the Aristotelian notion of catharis. Brecht tried to develop forms that would encourage the playgoer to remain aware he or she was watching a play to prevent them from becoming emotionally involved so that they would be able to think while the action was unfolding. Actors would address the audience directly, for example, breaking out from the invisible fourth wall.

I am not too certain how successful this is because, at least I found this in my case, that I could get emotionally involved in how well these 'tricks' were used, and it undercut the effect the director or playwright was hoping for!

And maybe such techniques are only necessary in a culture where narrative forms are used to keep us asleep.

But it seems to me that the dissociation that can be positive, when we are 'consumers', is one where we can analyze what we are watching in order to learn from it, and this, I think, was what Brecht was trying to achieve. However, as the product of the Marxist worldview, it was missing the necessary component of higher realities.

It seems to me that a theatre that is part of the social and religious life of a community -- in that it expresses the values of that community -- could be a strong social cement, if it were a theatre that was presenting the problems and issues facing the community, exploring possible solutions and their ramifications. It could be a very powerful tool in education.

But it also strikes me that there is a profound difference between making music, or performing a play, or doing a painting and being a consumer. We are moulded into consumers in this sick world of ours. One can listen to music with the score in one's lap, and that can be an active listening, but most of the time music is on as a backdrop to something else or it is a momentary escape. We can watch a DVD and stop it to discuss the action as it unfolds. We can fly through a book as quickly as possible or take it in small pieces, stopping and thinking about what we are reading.

I know that when I am writing, or singing and playing guitar, or doing computer programming, there are timeless moments. So it seems to me there is a dissociation that is unhealthy that is an escape, but there is a 'dissociation' in the sense that we lose time, but it is because we are caught up in a moment of Creation.

This post has started to wander all over the place... :( so I'll end it here... :)
 
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