Positive Dissociation?

Adaryn

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nemo said:
Tigersoap said:
But some artworks that might appear negative might as well be talking about the reality as it is and the positive just keep pushing the same lies.
I believe this to be an important comment. We don`t only want "love-and-light-art", do we?
I don't think anybody said that.

I admit to being conflicted about this topic. Since lot`s of dark stuff is part of our reality and psyches, it also needs to be expressed, no?
I think one should examine their motives: does one want to see dark stuff (be it in movies, paintings or other) because it shows the reality, or does one just use it as an excuse ("it's real, it's what happens, it's in our psyches") to wallow in it?
I believe it depends on the Intent of the artist. An artist CAN paint/show/depict "dark stuff" and reality as it is in a way that is NOT degrading, not wallowing in self-pity and in the morbid. A film maker like Ken Loach does show dark stuff, reality, things as they are. But his intent is positive and humanistic. He shows and don't judge, and tells his stories with compassion. That's all the difference with someone wallowing in the morbid and the "darkness" for the sheer joy of it, in a perfectly narcissistic and perverted fashion -- like Von Trier in his latest movie (Antichrist), for example.
 

mkrnhr

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My personal experience is that when I was young, I used to consider the art not as a result (like a painting, a song...) but in the process of creating it. I used to play guitar when I was emotional about something (sometimes getting angry after watching the news or just being sad to the news of people being killed somewhere) and I take the guitar and just play without thinking, just improvising according to what I feel. I used to experience a sort of zoning. I played and didn't hear my mom or my brother calling me. The last time it happenend it was in a bar playing with a band more than a year ago. I just started to improvise on "comfortably numb" and I just woke up at the end of my solo, not remembering nothing of what I played (I'm not that good though) For long years, playing guitar was vital for me as I lived in a very stressful environment with killings everywhere (see the first part of The Power of Nightmares for those who know where I come from) and I struggled to keep sane. Playing guitar was as I understood it the only process I knew to turn into my inner world to heal my hurt being before returning back to the outer ugly world.
 

Approaching Infinity

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Personally, I don't like to watch TV shows or movies to dissociate, at least not in the sense of "escaping" or just having a good time. In fact, I prefer movies that are difficult, emotionally, but that lead me through a process of catharsis. Same with novels (although I haven't had much time for these the past several years). This is a process of dissociation, but a more active one, I think, and one that I've come to see as even healthy in certain ways. When I watch a drama with good characters (i.e. varied in personality types, depth, emotion), I feel the depicted emotions as if they were my own. If it's well done, I can feel deep sadness, joy, hope, despair, hatred, vengeance, justice, elation. This, however, is where it gets dangerous. Drama works on the emotional center, and it follows the direction of the production whether positive or negative. If it is not guided by someone with a conscience, it easily activates strictly negative and "lower" emotions, without resolving them or sublimating them to a higher level. Good literature and drama should show human behavior in all its complexities, inspire empathy (pathos), and make the "way out" clear, either directly or indirectly (as in a tragedy, perhaps).

When you come to identify with a character in a novel or movie, you are in essence learning a lesson vicariously. The identification leads you through an emotional progression. If a character grows, a part of you grows. In this regard, Dabrowski had a few insights. Dabrowski always advised for developing individuals to read the autobiographies or biographies of exemplars. To read of their experiences and growth facilitates the growth of the reader, almost as if you come to "resonate" with their experiences, thus learning from them. Also, to read novels dealing with higher level "dynamisms", like selflessness, altruism, sacrifice, morals. If you identify with a character who is then put in a situation that requires self-sacrifice, if they take that road, it helps solidify selflessness within oneself. What I've noticed today is that there are very few, if any, "exemplars" in modern movies and literature. At least not in the popular stuff.

Novels written by unilevel individuals have no moral compass, no higher resolution of conflict. These have a negative effect because they simply reinforce the status quo of people's emotional lives, even making them worse in some cases. A lot of genre fiction falls into this category, albeit there are exceptions to every rule. Most horror movies, action, comedies, romance, scifi/fantasy, are pretty generic and lack anything higher. But I think all have the capacity to lead the viewer through something real, if the characters are developed well enough. Emotional dramas, whether they are set in ancient Egypt, Victorian England, another dimension, or in space, are always applicable to real life dramas. I think the emotional center feels it and learns from it, regardless.

I think Firefly is one pretty good example. It is basically real people in real human dynamics which happens to take place in another solar system. The setting is secondary, I think, and it serves as a "remove" in order to let the viewer relate what he or she watches to what happens in the "real world". You can portray everything from racism, fascism, and bigotry right down to interpersonal dynamics. I think Battlestar Galactica did that well, as well. In that show, you have truly complex characters. A catastrophe brings out the best and worst in people, who still have their own emotional baggage to deal with, and it influences all their interactions and decisions. You see people making all the same mistakes, people failing at communication with each other. Some learn and grow, working through past traumas. And some remain exactly the same. Some disintegrate even further.

I've had the same emotional reactions watching those two shows as reading Faulkner or watching Oliver Twist, The Pianist, or The Live of Others, or even the autobiographies of patients that Dabrowski included in his last book. The first time I saw the Pianist I cried afterwards for a half an hour. It was unbearable, and yet cleansing. Same thing happened the second time I watched it.

In a nutshell, I'd say the most valuable dissociative dramas are those with flawed, complex, realistic characters who learn or grow in some way, which takes you through a similar process. One of my recent favorites was the German Sophie Scholl movie. The scene where her mother visits her in prison before her execution was heartbreaking. Not only did the film give practical insights into the nature of pathocracy, it also took you through the inner experiences of just a few people who were forced to learn some big lessons as a result of their own carelessness.

I think dissociation can be positive if it teaches you something emotionally and/or intellectually. Many of the insights I've had on ponerology have been by watching movies and TV shows, as well as documentaries. Same with "positive disintegration". Not sure about games or fantasies. My fantasies tend to be me in situations where I'm asked a question and to which I formulate a response. That's also where I come up with a lot of the ideas which I later write (although I'm always more eloquent in my imagination!).
 

Windmill knight

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Approaching Infinity said:
I think Firefly is one pretty good example. It is basically real people in real human dynamics which happens to take place in another solar system. The setting is secondary, I think, and it serves as a "remove" in order to let the viewer relate what he or she watches to what happens in the "real world". You can portray everything from racism, fascism, and bigotry right down to interpersonal dynamics. I think Battlestar Galactica did that well, as well. In that show, you have truly complex characters. A catastrophe brings out the best and worst in people, who still have their own emotional baggage to deal with, and it influences all their interactions and decisions. You see people making all the same mistakes, people failing at communication with each other. Some learn and grow, working through past traumas. And some remain exactly the same. Some disintegrate even further.
I find it funny that Battlestar Galactica has been mentioned a couple of times on this thread, as a few days ago I dreamed that Laura posted on this forum that we should have entertainment, but carefully and occasionally - a dream I probably had because I'm a bit worried that I'm hooked to that show! (which I've been watching lately.)

As for art that has educational insights on human nature and relationships, I would recommend Anton Checkhov's short stories. They are about seemingly trivial episodes, but there is a LOT going on right under the surface, dealing with human complexities, moral and emotional issues. Some of them are very touching and even philosophical. I got goosebumps with a few of them even though the stories are so 'normal'. They make you think so that you are forced to reach your own conclusions, but at the same time they are quite easy to read. Although Checkhov was writing more than a century ago, the characters feel intensely real - like they could be a number of people you have met in your life - which proves that humans have always been humans.

I haven't read his plays but I hear they are excellent too.

My two cents.
 

anothermagyar

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Singing with a chamber choir.
20-30 people sing unison or harmony and the conductor is give signs to change the pitch and everybody carefully paying attention to the clarity of the tone and this requires full attention. Not only with your ear but with your whole body.
You feel the whole group is one unit. The music just flows.
Or hundred people sing 'Va pensiero' from ' Verdi's Nabucco'. Sometimes soft like whisper sometimes burst out loud tone.
Voices floating with the harmony of the music.
Verdi:'Requiem' you sing behind the orchestra and you can feel the instruments resonates through your body.
It's remarkable. The best 'spaced out' moments for me.
Just a thought. :cool2:
 

Gaby

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For years I focused myself on reading strictly medical books, there was no time for anything else, or at least that is what I told myself. In no time, I was battling depression, that is, retrospectively it is clear that I was very close from throwing myself from a building. It was not necessarily the medical textobooks ;), studying and researching had always been a passion for me, but I was having a lot of trouble to come into terms with reality, so to speak. So when I couldn't bring myself to study and research, I knew I was emotionally deadened.

I remember walking aimlessly in the streets of Milan, when I suddenly knew what I needed to do. I've read novels when I was in school, and even if there were sad endings, I've always found reading them useful. It made me feel alive so to speak and it will get me going and thinking and feeling. So I gravitated towards the romance/novel section of a library and bought several books. Suddenly, even if I had a very busy schedule, I found time to read, it was like the more I had to do, the more time I had (bizarre!). I remember being particularly moved by Isabel Allende's Paula, a memoir she wrote while her 28-year-old daughter Paula lay in a coma, and also House of Spirits, which resembles Paula, although it is fictional.

Anyhow, reading those books and similar ones felt relieving, even if some, where no "happy reading" at all. Somehow, the tears in my eyes made me feel alive again. The process started after reading novels, brought me to the Cassiopaean website. I just had the drive to keep going again and do soul-searching.

I don't know if it is a cycle or what, but over 2 weeks ago, I felt the need to read again novels. Hopefully, this discussion will help me to make the best choices :)
 

Green_Manalishi

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Approaching Infinity said:
Personally, I don't like to watch TV shows or movies to dissociate, at least not in the sense of "escaping" or just having a good time. In fact, I prefer movies that are difficult, emotionally, but that lead me through a process of catharsis.
Yes, i also feel like that. For it seems like a waste of time to just escape or have a good time, it has to be something more than that. Approaching Infinity what do you mean with emotionally difficult, a movie that portrays emotions that make you wonder about something or a movie that you really have to focus to understand the emotions that are being showed, or something else?
Perhaps movies or entertainment that are more than just escapism are ones that for example makes us cry, activate our emotional centre. That happens to me whenever i see "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou", i always cry at the end.
I have just finished reading "The myth of sanity" and think that dissociation always involves departing from something, if negative dissociation makes people depart from their true ego, and by contrast positive dissociation makes people depart from their false egos, or produce some kind of unification into a single I, then i agree that there exists positive dissociation.
As to attain this positive dissociation a main instrument could be meditation.
As for creating art i'm not sure, don't get me wrong it is something very important, and as a someone said, "every human being is born a poet", we just have to find it where it is inside of us. I speak for my self, i really like to draw, even if my natural gift for it isn't that great, and it seems that it serves more to put things outside than to put things inside. Perhaps when we observe someone else's art, that interests us, the process reverts.

Perhaps this following quote i posted in some other thread could be add something to the discussion about modern art:

The secondary traumas seems to me, a good way of inflicting soul smashing in all of us, bit by bit. This may be far fetched but can we consider the so called 9 to 17 routine, our numbing jobs, and popular culture causation factors of secondary trauma in humans? They certainly cause dissociation as Stout talks in the book.
It could be even a dissociation not so much for the mental aspect but for the soul/spiritual aspect, because the soul strives for other things, no? This numbing daily routine hammers ours souls, thus creating little soul smashing events.
 

Mrs. Peel

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Laura said:
Do you have, if you have the time, any exemple that could inspire one ?


Why do you think it has to have some sort of hidden meaning? What is wrong with just being beautiful and inspiring?

This is on the wall to the right:

I have this image on a mousepad! :)
 
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Hildegarda

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anothermagyar said:
Singing with a chamber choir.
20-30 people sing unison or harmony and the conductor is give signs to change the pitch and everybody carefully paying attention to the clarity of the tone and this requires full attention. Not only with your ear but with your whole body.
You feel the whole group is one unit. The music just flows.
me too, I find that an incredibly powerful and positive dissociation experience. Last year we were singing Mozart's mass in c minor in a big concert hall. You feel that the orchestra and the choir are one giant organism. You are right that it's a full body experience; you have to stand and breath just right and keep your attention sharp. The way sound is sent into the hall also does something to you, you are very aware of it's direction and how it fills the whole space. During the performance, I noticed that our conductor's palms were beet-red, as she directed the choir, and I had an association with reiki. It takes so much energy and gives out ten times more.

fwiw
 
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Hildegarda

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Lúthien said:
Here are a few others :) A little bit of beauty won't hurt in this world!
I feel inspired by artwork of Nicholas Roerich. His imaged were at first drew from Russian history and then from his travels in India and Tibet. He had spiritual ideas and has a sort of a new-agey cult following in Russia. Regardless, his images are very powerful, especially when viewed live. A local museum in my home town is lucky to have a large collection of his art, and that was always my favorite room there:
 

Attachments

Gandalf

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I really like the artwork of Martin Mario Duguay.

Here are some samples of his artwork.















Edited to correct the name of the artist
 

Gandalf

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A movie that i really like and i must have seen it more than 20 times is Jonathan Livingston the Seagull. And i have read the book as often.

The first time i saw it many years ago it did help me to realize that there was more to life than eating,
playing and sleeping and than it was possible to achieve another level of Being in working on yourself but it was a solitary road.

And the music by Neil Diamaond is great too.
 

alphonse

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I first read Oscar Wilde’s “ A Picture of Dorian Gray” when I was 13, and it left a strong impression on me. I think it was the first time I realised we can really damage our own souls. I have it read many times since, and can recommend it as positive dissociation, it is a novel, but many of the themes, such as Narcissism, the Soul, and also the fact that it offended “the powers that be” of it’s time seem so relevant to other material recommended on this forum.
 

Divide by Zero

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I have been reading the Corruption of Reality and how dissociation is used in both positive and negative ways. I see that when dissociation is done with a conscious aim, it can help a lot.

I'm not much into art. I like to listen to music (I am picky and don't like a lot of current day music that seems empty), read, watch movies (same there), and do hobbies. As a child a favorite hobby of mine was Legos, where I would sit for hours building things. Nowadays, that changed to car mechanics, which is also a useful hobby at that.

Some music that I enjoy:
-Depeche Mode (the songs that speak of deep things in life)
-Muse
-One song that really got me was the song "None of us are Free" by Solomon Burke.

My favorite fictional books are:
-1984 by Orwell
-Brave New World by Huxley
-The Lathe of Heaven (I loved the movie too!) by Ursula LeGuin
-Franny and Zooey by Salinger


Some movies that I love to watch and are tear jerkers for me are:
-Pan's Labyrinth
Wow, very shocking view of fascist times in Spain with a clearly psychopathic character.

-Spirit of the Beehive by Victor Erice
An even better view of fascist times in Spain... can't but help feel for the characters and it has a really interesting psychopath character that isn't so easy to read at first.

-Donnie Darko
Fictional, but it goes through a lot of things dealing with fake people, dogma.

-V For Vendetta
It speaks for itself, lol.
I tend to like movies that are realistic and do not always have a happy ending. In fact, happy endings seem too artificial to me in Hollywood, as things tend to magically work out in the favor of the protagonist(s).
 
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