Freud – Civilization and Its Discontents

Freud’s Point

 Where to start, WHERE TO START!?

To put a pin on Freud’s point is worse

Than to operate on an open heart!

But let’s start

With one main point:

The relationship between Eros and Death.

Freud spoke of “the struggle between

Eros and Death.”

He related this struggle to society,

As well as to the individual,

And even stated that it “revealed the secret

Of organic life in general.”

But let us solely tackle the former one: society.

So, Sigmund, if I understand you well,

Did you truly intend to tell

That the reason why one should love (“Eros”)

Is to comfort and lessen our fear of Death?

For you said, “The evolution of civilization…must

Present the struggle between Eros and Death,

Between the instinct of life and the instinct of destruction,

As it works itself out in the human species.”

Freud, I will admit, your words soar above

Much of my comprehensive ability.

Yet, I am determined to use my heart

To discern which of the things you say

Are fictional ideas or, in fact, reality.

Your words did, however, easily sum up the message:

“This struggle [between Eros and Death] is what all

Life essentially consists of, and the evolution of

Civilization may therefore be simply described as

The struggle for life of the human species.”

Oh, Sigmund Freud, your education was vast:

You quote Shakespeare, Scripture, poetry, and much more.

Oh, Sigmund Freud, though difficult to decipher,

Your words at least inspire

Me to continue to seek a good education,

That I might share in the jubilation

Of deep thinking and knowledge of intellectual beauty.

But where we will always differ, Freud, is that

I worship God.

In Him is neither aggression, nor guilt, nor remorse.

In Him is Eros, for He is Eros, and He trampled

Down Death!

*Citations, in order: pp. 104, 81-2.

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Anna Karenina II

Levin and Kitty:

What a joy.

At last the former

loves his young boy.

It took the brightest shock around

To hit a tree upon that ground,

That farmed ground, on which Levin walked.

“Everything blazed, the whole earth caught fire

And the vault of the sky seemed to crack overhead.”

Levin replied, “My God, not on them!”

But what was the use?

Could these words really keep mom and son safe?

“He ran to the spot where they usually went,

But did not find them there.”

Where had they gone?

Could they really survive, mother holding child?

After time passes through the stormy air:

“‘Alive? Safe? Thank God!’ he said, splashing through…”

Oh Levin, you’re a good husband and father too.

“Today, after that fear during the thunderstorm,

I realized how much I love him,” Levin hath sworn

To his lovely wife, Kitty, who he doth adorn.

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Anaa Karenina I

Vronsky is of the World

How is Vronsky “of the world”?  Three instances answer this question.  The first comes during 1.17, when Levin expresses he believes Vronsky is not an Aristocrat when talking to Oblonsky, “A man whose father crept out of nothing by wiliness, whose mother, God knows who she didn’t have liaisons with…” (172).  Clearly, Vronsky is trying to perform one of the world’s favorite tricks, deception, by putting on a false image of his social class.  The next example of Vronsky’s worldliness is that he “felt the love which joined him to Anna was not a momentary passion that would go away, as society liaisons do, leaving no traces in the life of either one of them except some pleasant or unpleasant memories,” (183-4).  This is extremely worldly because it is rooted in emotion.  In fact, Vronsky “felt the love…” as opposed to “knew the love.”  The final instance of Vronsky being of the world occurs so numerously throughout the book: his love of material object, a common theme in the book of most of the characters.  One of the main examples occurred during the horserace, after Vronsky and his horse fell to the ground just before winning the race.  Vronsky, although not crushed by the horse, “to his dismay, he felt that he was whole and unhurt,” and “this race remained in his soul…as the most heavy and painful memory of his life” (200).  The fact that the pedestal that Vronsky put this worldly race (resulting in “the most heavy and painful memory of his life”) atop is greater than his mishaps with Anaa proves that his life is lost in the “lofts” of the world.

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Rules of the Game – Renoir Film, 1939

What is just? What is a rule?

Meditating on morals; following faith.

Is this accomplished in Rules of the Game?

No.

The adults are cheating, the adults are cheating!

What benefit does this serve society,

Who views this film and ranks it high

Among the greatest of all time?

A poor example is displayed

By these adults, they are not mature.

Nonetheless, who am I to say, to claim

That life is easy and that I know best?

For I know some, but not a lot

About temptations of adulthood.

To cheat on my spouse or get deep drunk

With other adults is something,

Something that I have not yet met

In my life of living single, like a pet

Of only God, yes, of God alone

(May it be noted I choose to be His pet).

I have no spouse I must think how to please.

Yea, I am a single, living in a sheltered home,

An Orthodox environment, not currently employed

In “the world,” where actions such as adultery

Are sadly justified,

Even by good, moral people, who know not the sin’s weight.

How often I forget, I forget, forget

I know little or nothing about the actual

Demonic presence of those spousal temptations.

Lord, have mercy!

When I view a movie,

Like this, so full of immorality,

I become so cynical and don’t see the daisies

And beauty in each character that is apparent

In little things they do, little things they say,

So many good things there, but I look away

Because I forget that the Lord’s mercy is great.

Lord, have mercy!

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Jane Eyre II

How Do You Choose Your Way of Life?

Dear Jane,

The things you do are wonderful.

Nearly raising Adele, as well as other children,

May quite well be raising their souls from Hades,

For you are wonderful:

Your morals are pristine, as is your character.

Dear Jane,

You take the carriage down-road

To places, on your own,

Places you have yet to travel;

It is such a marvel.

A lady like you: full of trust.

Dear Jane,

Your love for your dear Edward

Is deep-rooted in Love.

Maybe he, too, might have been cast downward,

Had it not been for your truthfulness;

You are not too damn blunt,

But blunt just the right amount,

Yet, your sword remains sharp.

Dear Jane,

How do you do it?

Dear Jane,

What or Who or what or who

Helps you stay fair and sturdy?

Dear Jane,

You give us the answer:

“We know that God is everywhere;

But certainly we feel His presence most

When His words are on the grandest scale

Spread before us;

And it is in the unclouded night-sky,

Where His worlds wheel their silent course,

That we read clearest His infinitude, His omnipotence,

His omnipresence.”

Jane, tell us Who again.

Dear Jane, Who?

“I turned my prayer to thanksgiving:

The Source of Life was also the Saviour of spirits.”

————————————————————————-

*Citations from XXVII (373)

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Jane Eyre I

Prestige Guests

One scene in Jane Eyre that distinctly stands out to me is when Mr. Rochester dresses as a fortune teller and creates quite a buzz.  How would this scene be different if the perplexed guests were not aristocratic, but rather common folk?

The spoiled-rich, such as Ms. Ingram, often convey a sense of flawlessness and high-self-esteem (i.e. through their clothing, hairstyles, ways of speech), whereas poor people, such as Jane, often struggle to feel perfect and confident, given they are viewed by society as lower-class.  Thus, if the guests had not been wealthy, they may not have been as in shock and bitterness at being “picked apart” and insulted, like Ms. Ingram, for their pride would not be so fragile as hers, which was clearly based on her inheritance–not character.

Why is this significant?  Charlotte Bronte needed these conditions to mold her story, which has the message that love transcends even strict societal boundaries.  She had Mr. Rochester falling for the snooty Lady Ingram before showing his true target of love, the lower-class Jane: “just Jane.”  Though she is not simply “just Jane,” but “Jane the just,” for by her strength of discernment, she baffles the “gypsy” and foretelling that it is Rochester himself, her soon-to-be fortune!

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Romeo and Juliet (the movie)

Zoom, Zoom.

Zeffirelli’s film-take on Romeo and Juliet was overall very well done.  From the cinematography to the musical score, the drama of the story was definitely conveyed to the viewer, thanks to the director.  One entertaining, though risky aspect of the film was the classic zoom-in.  (Smell that cheese?…obviously, the director wanted to communicate the passion of the two lovers), BUT THAT FAST ZOOM-IN on Romeo and Juliet’s untameable embrace in the center of the stone-floored cathedral was bubbling nacho cheese well-over the brim of what I would consider as reasonable dramatic effect.

An additional close-up the director incorporated, this one, thank God, not such overkill, was the visual, through Friar Lawrence’s eyes, of that potent purple flower.  Oh, Friar, interesting character…

On subject of him, but leaving the subject of cinematography, I must bring up some questioning about his “holy” character.

Has he sinned?

For he could not stand by Juliet after she awoke from the longest sleep.

Yes, those voices were quite frightful.

But didn’t he suspect her despair?…

Like Peter, who denied the Truth,

Will the friar, denier of Juliet’s fate,

Wail as well, deep in despair?

Repent?  Too be forgiven?

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