Tag Archives: Fantasy

Psychoanalysis As Archaeology in Penny Dreadful

14 May

Dedicated to O…

Freud famously described psychoanalysis as archaeology, the unearthing of meaning layered deep beneath an “expanse of ruins.

In television and movies it’s closer to a detective story.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/28/arts/television/28stan.html

Penny Dreadful Dr Seward & Vanessa Ives

In their first meeting, Vanessa Ives {Eva Green} and Dr.Seward {Patti LuPone} explore the intimate relationship between {potential} patient and psychologist.

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This brilliant scene from Penny Dreadful illustrates how a alienist/psychologist/therapist/psychiatrist excavates the truth through words, gestures/body language, actions, etc. Although it is the first time that Vanessa Ives and Dr.Seward meet, the alienist sets her boundaries. Since it is a preliminary consultation, she has to assess if Vanessa will be her patient {“if I take your case”}. 

Vanessa’s gestures are psychoanalyzed {why are you scratching your hand? Why were you doing that?}. Vanessa replies shyly that she had an itch. Dr.Seward says “no, you didn’t” with conviction. To Dr.Seward, the scratching of the hand is not as it appears; it connotes nervousness/anxiety. Every gesture speaks volumes to the alienist/psychologist/psychiatrist

Vanessa sees Dr.Seward’s observations as a challenge. She says, “this is a challenge. You’ll see if I am worthy of study.” Her astute observations about Dr.Seward’s criteria are accurate. Through prelimiary psychoanalysis, the therapist is trying to assess if Vanessa is worthy of her time, energy and talents. Is she worth having as a patient?

Dr.Seward warns Vanessa, “I am not your friend or your priest or your husband. I am your doctor. You come to me to get better because you are ill- no other reason. Do you understand that?” She sets her professional boundaries clearly. The purpose of therapy is to heal Vanessa of her illness.

Dr.Seward’s compassion shines through despite her tough demeanor. She asks Vanessa, do you understand that you are ill- not bad, not unworthy- just ill? Depression often tricks a person into thinking that they are unworthy. It tells many lies. The therapist must convince the patient of their depressed state instead of internalizing a depressed identity.

She resassures Vanessa that there are “no emotions unwelcome in this room.” Vanessa is encouraged to release her emotions because it is cathartic to do so. Dr.Seward is also communicating to Vanessa that she will not be judged. She is free to speak and express herself as necessary. She also warns her, “if this process doesn’t appeal to you, the door is there.” It almost sounds like she is testing Vanessa or interrogating her at times.

The turning point is when Vanessa takes control of the narrative. She says with a smile, “you don’t want me to leave…because I scratch my hand. You find that telling…those phobias that interest you.” She assures the doctor that she might interest her as a patient. Vanessa notes that Dr.Seward doesn’t need the ten shillings but she does need interesting people to collect. Dr.Seward disagree with her by saying that she takes patients on to cure them. Vanessa asks, what the difference is between collecting and curing?

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This scene is when Dr.Seward really showcases her talents as the skilled alienist. She ends her analsysis with the metaphor of the ouroboros. {The snake eating its tail is a symbol of infinity}. In essence, Dr.Seward is telling Vanessa that she is trapped in an endless cycle of unhappiness as she constantly tortures herself.

12 Monkeys End At The Beginning

The ouroboros from the 12 Monkeys television series from Syfy

Dr. Seward (to Vanessa Ives):

“I already know what’s wrong with you.

You’re unhappy. You’re isolated.

You think you’re the cause of this unhappiness and are unworthy of affection so you’ve few friends.

Recently you lost something you think very important- your lover, your faith, your family, or all three.

You blame yourself for this, so it makes you neurotic and you don’t sleep and don’t eat anything healthy anyway.

You used to take care of your appearance, but you’ve lost interest in that, so you avoid mirrors.

Sunlight bothers you, so you avoid that too, about which you’re guilty because you think it’s unhealthy and even immoral not to like the sun.

You’re not a woman of convention or you wouldn’t be here, but you like to pretend you are so people don’t notice you.

But you sometimes like that as well, and can dress to draw the eye. But then you think the men who look at you are fools, or worse, to be taken in by such an obvious outward show.

So, instead you’re drawn to dark, complicated, impossible men, assuring your own unhappiness and isolation because, after all, you’re happiest alone.

But not even then because you can’t stop thinking about what you’ve lost, again, for which you blame yourself.

So the cycle goes on, the snake eating its own tail.”

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I highly recommend watching Penny Dreadful.

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These scenes convey the brilliant acting of Eva Green, Patti LuPone and the work of the creative teams behind Penny Dreadful. It also highlights the emancipating insight that one can gain from psychotherapy. I have been in psychotherapy and it is one of the best decisions I have made. The internal work is so challenging and often painful but it is worth it in terms of healing, personal development, self-discovery, growth, etc. I highly recommend it.

The key is being ready to open yourself up to examine your memory palace/the locked rooms in your mind and finding the right alienist/psychologist/therapist for you.

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P.s. I plan to do posts about the television shows Penny Dreadful; 12 Monkeys; the alienist; etc.

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Further Research…

Penny DreadfulPenny Dreadful’s Internet Movie Database Page

Eva Green..Eva Green’s Internet Movie Database Page

Patti LuPonePatti LuPone’s Internet Movie Database Page

12 Monkeys12 Monkey’s Internet Movie Database Page

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Peace & Psychoanalytic Love,

V.

Reflection for today…Deconstructing Happiness -Karl Pilkington

2 Aug

*This post is dedicated to my friend Olly who is the biggest Karl Pilkington fan that I know.

Karl Pilkington is a critical thinker.

Karl Loves To Think Outside The Box…

Part of Karl’s mass appeal is that he stays true to himself. Despite his massive success, Karl seems to still be authentic. He is always honest, curious, humble and so funny. He is best known as comedian Ricky Gervais’ friend and colleague on their very successful podcasts The Ricky Gervais Show. He was the star of an idiot abroad and even wrote a diary about his adventures. His latest creative endeavour is the moaning of life.

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In this short video clip Karl deconstructs happiness in relation to physical beauty/fitness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnoIj624Wf8

Happiness | The Moaning of Life | Karl Pilkington

For the moaning of life, he meets a man who has had 120 procedures and approximately $150,000 worth of plastic surgeries. Karl posed without his shirt next to the man who’s had all the plastic surgeries. The interviewer says to Karl, “I am quite impressed with that you don’t care. You are happy to stand there posing with your top off. And let’s face it, you haven’t the best body known to man.”

I love Karl’s humble yet refreshing attitude in response to the interviewer. He replies that his body is “not a bad one…it works. But I understand that any women watching this wouldn’t go…oh, look at him. But that’s the reality isn’t it? That’s what most people look like.” Why is Karl’s physique so unattractive or unacceptable?? I don’t think it is by any means. It’s a manner of perception and what we are being sold {in an ideological sense i.e. perfection}. Most people prefer fantasy and illusion instead of truth. Karl Pilkington is the ultimate realist and he employs his critical thinking skills to deconstruct the situation.

Karl inquisitively asks, “So I don’t know what’s happened where they think that’s normal on the left.” Adverting has sent people on a relentless quest for perfection, beauty/sex appeal and youth. Men are now being attacked with similar psychological warfare that women are attacked with {albeit to a much lesser degree}. Even children are being groomed as consumers.

We are reduced to our exterior appearances- not even amounting to the sum of our parts. In the mainstream media, what we look like has solely defined who we are. Our rich inner life, emotions, intellect, spirituality have been erased from the discourse and divorced from our identities. I wonder what consequences this emotional and spiritual disconnection will bring. We cannot allow society, marketing/advertising to dictate to us who we are. Your self identity needs to be your own creation because only you know who you are inside.

The ridiculous new plastic surgery that Karl mentions is testicle ironing. What has happened to people that they need to invent these new procedures? Are they really that bored or obsessed with unattainable perfection? Why don’t people focus on true problems in humanity: poverty; hunger; war; abuse to children, animals, women, the environment; human trafficking; genital mutilation; acid attacks; rapes; racism, sexism, discrimination of all types; social inequality, etc? I always wonder what great things people could accomplish in their personal lives {and humanity as a whole} if we wouldn’t be seduced by this culture of narcissism and distraction.

Will people wake up to their own power in order to enact change in their lives and in the context of the world? Will most remain asleep? Time will tell but hopefully more will realize this matrix is a prison {if we chose to stay enslaved in it}. It is time to wake up and realize that emancipation from society’s brainwashing is in our hands. We hold the key. This quest for perfection, endless youth and eternal beauty is a social construction and an illusion.

No one will argue against self-care as caring about one’s health and appearance is quite healthy. The danger lies in caring too much because it can distract you from more important things in life that are more deserving of your time, energy and attention. Focusing obsessively on such trivial and vain things such as perfection seems like such a waste of energy, time, money and human potential but that’s just my opinion. As Karl says, “don’t worry about it.”

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Do you agree or disagree with Karl Pilkington?

Why or why not?

{I hope to feature more moaning of life clips and Karl Pilkington in the near future}.

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Please enjoy Clutching at Straws by Andrea Parker {from her Kiss My Arp cd}….

{I was lucky enough to see her in person when she opened up for Radiohead. It was divine and I loved her music}.

I copied this from her biography page…

“”Known as no1darker – Parker has always been uncompromising, passionate about the music and loaded with don’t–give-a-shit resolve. She has a love of art, arps, photography, architecture, graffiti, 808, concrete, glaciers, adidas, Bass, rust and all things white.  She is incredibly hard to pigeon hole : one minute she will be in the studio making dark, menacing, haunting music-  going from Booty shakin’ beats to string drenched ballads. The next she’ll be climbing mountains and reaching new summits; from Kilimanjaro in Africa to the avenue of the volcanoes in Ecuador.  She has worked for many charity’s, including Crisis, the NSPCC, Get kids going and many more, she even dressed up as Pudsey Bear for Children in Need!!  An old school analogue girl at heart, she still remains a die hard B Girl and is defiantly a freaky B*tch! One things for sure: She’d give the men in white coats a run for their money if they even dared think about taking her away…”

-Time Out magazine

“Beats so phat, so dope and so dark, there ain’t a NYC MC alive (cept maybe Rakim) that could handle them”

-New York Times

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40JbtBCjz1U&feature=share

Knowing our self
Who we think that we are
Constantly changing
Constantly changing
So near and so far
Knowing ourself
Who we think that we are
Constantly changing
Constantly changing
So near and so far
Who we think that we are
Who we think that we are
Who we think that we are.”

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For more information…

Karl Pilkington…http://www.karlpilkington.com/ 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1797453/

The Moaning of Life…http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3277670/ 

Andrea Parker…http://www.andreaparker.co.uk/ 

http://www.andreaparker.co.uk/about-andrea

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Peace & Namaste…