When writing psycho-history, the meanings don’t make themselves available like ordinary facts and figures. They have to be teased out and then they need to be apprehended, not only with the intellect and the intuition, but with the total body.
We’ve already seen how Strieber’s memories of being abused as a child center around being confined in a box for extended periods of time, and how that led to visions of angels and demons. Was such confinement part of a successful attempt to force children to dissociate and develop an ability to leave the body? (It may even have been connected to an early remote viewing program.)
I knew from my own research how, when a child is sexually abused, there is often a sexual response, not merely despite but to some degree because of the terror and the violence being inflicted. One way for the child to reduce its distress and to survive psychologically is to identify with the abuser. This means the child, to some degree, experiences the abuser’s sexuality as its own. This is how the trauma becomes internalized, and why the act of dissociation, as Kalsched describes, is an aggressive one. It is equivalent to a kind of involuntary self-violation on the part of the psyche. A splitting of awareness allows the developing ego to escape the scene of the trauma and make itself safe from any future incidents. As Kalsched writes:
In effect, the diabolical figure traumatizes the inner object world in order to prevent re-traumatization in the outer one. . . . The full pathological effect of trauma requires an outer event and a psychological factor. Outer trauma alone doesn’t split the psyche. An inner psychological agency—occasioned by the trauma—does the splitting.
The conscious self then becomes de-eroticized, though not devoid of sexual response (the person may even develop a sexual pathology). The libido remains trapped inside the body by, and to some degree as (inseparable from), suppressed traumatic memory. The child dissociates. Its consciousness leaves the body and enters into (or creates) an alternate, anti-libidinal identity, a “mind-self” that is forever safe from re-experiencing that trauma, but also forever cut off from its own life force and body.
June 5th, Crucial Fictions matter
PDF, “Martian Dreams.”
MP3s: “Sisters of Mercy” and “Straw Men (Strieber’s ‘Intelligence’ Connections’”)
Original Artwork at “Martin Dreams Gallery.”
I have a feeling that what you are accomplishing here is very important. I really admire the way you are presenting your ideas with a high degree of sensitivity and sobriety.
I found my way to your site, believe it or not, via that ill-fated post that you commented on at The Secret Sun. I had posted a comment as well and read your comment before it disappeared.
When I got to your site I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I have been studying Stanley Kubrick’s work (in particular The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut) and had been presenting some of the details of that research at my blog. It has become time where I need to synthesize the lot into a cohesive whole. The cohesive element that underlies all his work, to my mind, is the distortion of reality due to trauma. The traumatic mechanisms described in your treatise permeate his work.
I believe he suffered, to a significant extent, a traumatic childhood. His works up to and including 2001 were his works that were subconsciously affected by trauma – that is, the choices he made for those films were influenced by his traumatized psyche which he only partially understood. The next three films were his recognition of trauma based mechanisms and his working through his own issues. The Shining was his breakthrough. His last two films were more didactic in nature – showing how the traumatic condition is prevalent in society.
As an example take Barry Lyndon. The first image of the movie is the traumatic event where young Redmond Barry’s father was killed in a duel. The rest of the film follows Redmond almost trancelike progression through life. The story is narrated. The narrator comments on the proceedings as well as foreshadows what is to come. The effect is such that Redmond appears to be not in control of his destiny – his life appears fated. Redmond re-enacts his childhood trauma by engaging in duels himself. His self identity is so absent that he takes a new identity, Barry Lyndon, through marriage . We find his mother to be a great influence in his life right to the end.
This is a very cursory working out of the film but I think you get my drift.
If you’re interested shoot me an email – we can discuss further.
Great! Let me look into your blog. I have a love-hate thing going for SK. I dislike all his movies post 2001 & with increasing fervor. BL is a partial exception, and EWS I find so awful it’s compelling, I think he transcended trash somehow with that one!. (I hope it doesn’t offend your own sensibilities too much my speaking my mind so frankly.)
I recently watched Room 237 and loved it. I thought it was especially ironic that it was, for me, so much more engaging than the movie it was about. I found that very telling. I do think SK was up to something other than making movies, or even art (I don’t see much of either in his later work). And what it was remains a mystery, one which I keep getting pulled back to despite my distaste, a bit like Whitley Strieber…!
So definitely I think you’re onto something, though I havent read your blog yet. (He has also been called Aspergerian, which i think fits him to a T.)
Also great that you came here via the Secret Sun – meaning all was not for naught.
The blog is going to seem pretty fragmented – like I said it requires a cohesive study. And I think it’s kind of oriented to Kubrick know-it-alls but go ahead and have a read.
I appreciate your frankness about SK. I think a lot of Kubrick’s work is misunderstood since it requires a different approach to watching his movies. There are many times when he’ll do something so awkward you’re forced out of being immersed in the movie. In this way, his works become studies more than entertainment.
A lot of the value in his films comes through the subtext injected into them via various devices. My blog attempts to dig out those subtextual devices as part of a larger study.