Wednesday, May 05, 2010


The Anatomy Of A Response

I was wondering about what to write. Swithering between yet another rant against Helvetica Culture; against idiotic mixed capitalisation in song, movie and book titles; or else taking a deserved swipe at the bokeworthy new mustn't haves known as jeggings.

Or indeed another admiring update on the Somali pirates.

It's all a bit obsessive. As if it were enough to be merely obsessed. As if that were sufficient explanation, as if that's just how something is.

But when you stop and ask yourself the question what is it about the thing you obsess over that creates that special intense response, you have to search deep down for some kind of answer that isn't just a rewording of the obsession, or a glib legitimising I-think superstition. Not in order to justify or rationalise, not to be right or wrong. But to fulfil a curiosity about what lies behind: transparent concessions that are clearly in operation with this and other strong emotional responses.

Once again things are not what they seem.

obsession begins with the identification of a symbolic representation of an unconscious value we always held - once identified, the symbols start appearing everywhere because we're now actively looking for them; these values lie hidden behind the illusion of identity, which is why they're so difficult to express in words

linguistically speaking, we become disappointed in or with an exernal someone or something, as if it were outside our control, and likewise we experience it as if we were passive agents; in fact, disappointment can only be something we've personally planned for through a set of expectations that fail to be fulfilled

what appears to be impulsive (like a purchase, or a kiss, or saying the wrong thing, or a punch) is in fact illusory: it is planned unconsciously by us well in advance of its happening - its apparent suddenness is the moment of entering an unprepared conscious awareness

in language we refer to being attracted towards someone or something, as if it were an active process - however, unlike disappointment, attraction is something that happens to us, passively; it's a process in which we have no choice despite the illusion that we are somehow active participants



Alan.. said...

Interesting post.

Regarding what you have said about attraction.

Have you never felt that you've become attracted to someone as a result of making a conscious effort to *not* become attracted to them?

Or I guess you could say that the conscious effort against it is a result of the unconscious attraction felt in the first place?

William Bennett said...

thanks, Alan - yes, I'd suggest the latter... :-)