Month: June 2014
The view from outside
Or The Alienation of Our Mourning
There is a lie, a deceit perpetrated on our minds by our culture of visual images; of movies and TV as narrators of our reality, which affects our expectations about loving, relating to each other, working together and even, finally, even grieving.
The paradigm of our modern and stylized idea of mourning assumes the visual/cinematographic form of a sequence of “best of” moments flowing seamlessly through our minds.
The act of remembering is aestheticized and depurated – and in the process globalized by this model. In turn, we are expected to respond to these images in correspondingly predictable ways.
Being the power of mass media what it is, I can only imagine that some of us feel by now that such is the “right” way to transit our very real feelings of loss.
Such imposition upon our nature would do great violence to our true selves – although forcing ourselves into artificialities such as this one is by no means an exclusive sin of our century – not just because it replaces and voids the functions of other senses, or because it establishes an internal time and a single threaded flow essentially unnatural, but because it infallibly leave “us” outside of our own memories: the viewer – or at most the camera.
What is essential about us, as we pair in any kind of intense relationship is the sense of immersion in it. Most disassociations, which from time to time would allows us to view events and images from our life from outside ourselves, are by definition pathological. But we have invented an aesthetic way to resolve its narrative in the visual language that we created for our shows of light and magic, and it’s very success – as that of most of our successes of the imagination – made it into a virus.
We have changed by means of similar processes for millennia, on the wings of oral traditions, theater, literature, opera… but there is the small issue of the accelerated rate and momentum that seem to leave more often than not, the human out of “human change” in the changes our ever speeding
technological development are begetting as of late.
Of course, we also change when we relate to others. We multiply into the persons we create with each of our relations. Some are very strong and have a solid and independent existence: such as the one that without prior consultation chooses the paint color for the living room, or a piece of décor, for a couple that has lived in deep consubstantiation for many years. Other beings so borne – most of them, in fact – are very faint – ghostly: just a shared joke or the memory of a shared experience; yet they do ride with us for a few floors on the elevator.
Is the loss of these persons which we miss most dearly in our Hollywood laced mode of mourning. The fact that we are not just missing the person that died or left us, but the persons we made with that other being, the daily begotten children of our spirits, among which we lived and grew together.