Sunday, October 31, 2010

On "the Truman Show"

By Patricia Lefave, Counteractive ‘secret’ agent
I just watched this so that I could explain it to the public from the point of view of the psychiatrized person, in an attempt to counteract the effects on them after hearing the fascinating ‘interpretive’ evaluations of the Gold brothers in Montreal, notably Joel. Now I will tell you what I heard in it and how it relates to sitting in front of people like Joel who are well trained to fantasize (‘covertly’ of course) their own meaning for everything we say to them. Some psychiatrists have suggested that this is nothing ‘new’ for the ‘schizophrenics’ and I actually agree with that. There is nothing particularly ‘new’ about any of this other than the form it takes in relation to the time period we are in or sometimes the geographical location. Other than that, we, on this side of the great divide, are still pretty much beating our proverbial heads against the same proverbial wall. The details change but the ‘play’ remains the same.

Bear in mind that most of us are relating as equals to the psychiatrists who act as our unwanted, and often unneeded, ‘interpreters’ and that they are relating as ‘superiors to inferiors.’ It is like operating from two different universes. Listen closely and see if you can hear anything ‘different’ when one of ‘us’ shows you, the public, the other perspective. I also think I need to do this as most of the time, the people doing all the ‘interpretive’ work have not actually watched any of these movies, frequently claiming they ‘do not watch television’ or even own a television machine. (Too brainy for that you see…) Often they have not read the books either, to which the psychiatrized refer, so you might say it is quite the blind ‘interpretation.’ It must be sort of like working for the U.N. as a translator even though the only language you actually speak is Pig Latin and the only people you speak to are other translators: “Avhay ouyay erdhay the atestlay egardingray atpay?” (har har har) . There is nothing like lots of mutual jargon to make you feel you really ‘belong.’

Hear is my own short conceptual synopsis of “The Truman Show.”
A teenaged girl warns the teenaged Truman that the life they think they are living, which looks like reality is all just a kind of ‘set’ on a stage and it is all very contrived. It is a sort of ‘reality T.V.’ show. Her father finds out what she is telling Truman so he comes to get her and tries to convince Truman that he should not listen to anything she says as it is all just paranoid nonsense because she is a ‘schizophrenic’ who does not know reality from her own fantasies. The father claims she does this all the time with all her boyfriends because of that awful illness she has. He then tells Truman they are leaving and moving for good to Fiji. The young woman he loves then disappears from his life. (Physically; not ‘magically’) Right after this, Truman starts to doubt the reality which is being played out around him.

A Newspaper headline seen:“Crackdown on the Homeless” causes Truman to frown in confusion for example. He then starts to notice that everything looks just a little too perfect and carefully contrived on the surface and seems to be somewhat repetitious and inane. This goes on for quite awhile and then one day Truman starts to unravel. His perfect wife tells him he is having some sort of breakdown and that it is he who is out of touch with reality. She claims to be mystified by the change in him. She tells him he is not well for seeing things the way he does and offers to get him some ‘help.’ Everyone who is watching Truman all the time everywhere gets emotionally involved with his life as if they were living it by proxy. They completely ignore his feelings about his own experience, substituting their own as more valid. They evaluate, his performance, his reactions and the plot development as his life plays out before them. He is ‘on’ 24/7, always under group scrutiny.

Now the Gold brothers (and many others like them throughout time) completely miss the point. They do not see the comparison as a metaphorical truth that has anything to do with them, but rather see the patient as an object of observation, without relationship to them, and fit him into their LITERAL understanding for his use of metaphor. They claim he ‘thinks’ he IS in a movie not that he FEELS like he is in a movie, and specifically the one being named for a good reason.
In the movie, Truman believed that everyone around him was staging 'reality', all of them focused on him and what he would do next and manipulating him to suit their own needs…and they WERE. His life was owned by 'a corporation.' (like the Homewood Corporation?) The corporation had ‘adopted’ him as a baby and they did whatever they wanted to do with him. The corporation executive who was seen as a genius by the public, (his audience) explained straightforwardly, to the public, that “People accept the reality with which they are presented. It’s as simple as that.”

The people watching him all the time used Truman’s personal life as if it was nothing more than ongoing entertainment for them. They treated him as if they thought he was not as ‘real’ as they believed themselves to be. They made bets with each other on his survival, laughing as they did so. Those ‘running the show’ (literally as well as metaphorically) tortured him when he tried to escape and used his greatest fears to try to control him. Just when he thought he was going to get away from them and be free at last, he hit a wall he had not known was even there. He had not seen it coming and his sailboat smashed into it.

The creator of the Truman Show tried to control him by telling him, “I know you better than you know yourself.” When he talked he sounded like God talking. The creator was also the director of the show and controlled all the other a.c.t.ors as well.

(Did you know that psychiatrists are also called ‘Directors’?) However Truman inched his way along 'the wall he had hit' and found a set of 'steps' that led him up and out through a doorway he had not seen before. Despite the Director’s manipulations and attempts to make him stay in the reality show as defined by its creator, and follow his directions, Truman didn’t buy what he was being sold. He left with his standard line he had spoken daily;
"Good morning, and if I don’t see you again, good afternoon, good evening and good night.”

Do you understand the metaphor Gold brothers?
Many of us are not buying what you are trying so hard to sell us either: “reality” as it is created and defined by YOU. That is why we feel like we are in The Truman Show or The Matrix or Gaslight (some years ago) or characters in books like Brave New World or 1984 or an episode of Star Trek or whatever happens to be using the same conceptual group ‘play’ in the time period in which we happen to live when it happens to us. We are drawn to all of these books and movies etc. because the conceptual pattern is the same as the experience we have in concrete reality. Since psychiatrists like the Gold brothers do not really see hear or understand the conceptual pattern as it really is, and are projecting their own beliefs onto their patients, it makes no sense to them. Of course then, they would keep it to themselves and ‘explain’ the patients to others in the Gold brothers own terms of understanding, which is wrong.

Of course, it is not just the Gold brothers as if they were ‘bad’ psychiatrists.’ It is psychiatry itself which teaches them all to perceive the identified patient in just this way. Since they consider themselves to be ‘experts,’ and most of the public does too, they don’t even question their own perceptions and feelings; and neither does anyone else. It is an experience of them only their patients can see, hear and understand and the patients are not ‘allowed’ to tell anyone about it as it will only be considered to be ‘madness’ anyway.

THAT circle of thought based on this fantasy version of reality, with one party in total control of the other, is the paradoxical trap from which we, as the patients, cannot escape. Instead, the ‘Joel Golds’ get to go on national T.V. claiming our metaphor for the explaining of the experience we are having with them, is a new ‘disease’ they ‘discovered.’ So we continue to inch our way along the 'wall' that we keep hitting when we try to escape from their version of the “reality show.” It IS quite a performance.

You know what I think? I think these guys are just out there seeking fame. Perhaps someone should assess that and get them the 'help' they think they need.

1 comment:

truementalhealth said...

yes perhaps all those shizophrenics are just seeking fame and most of all -making a big fuss over nothing at all- because the world has no problem at all