Reality: The Power of Rhetoric

While this blog was strictly constructed for the sole use of a “Writing in the Mind” class, through the mandatory readings, writings, and theories explored was there then given actual meaning to what was “assigned.” With pen and paper in hand we uncovered vast stretches of existentialism, dark depths of Freud’s structure of the mind, and the continual presence of Jungian archetypes. But was it just pen and paper where they were seen? Rather it was seen in the worksheets given in our Spanish classes – providing a form of meaning to a meaningless task. It was seen in the uproars of roommates – giving factual evidence to the upwelling of unconscious instinct. It was seen in our Science teachers – a very dark, demeaning entity who welcomes the young to feast upon. It surrounds our every day.

Who would have thought that school would be relevant to our average day? And who would have thought literary and psychological theories would hold validity off of paper? For now I can see how my once constructed reality, is just a hyper-reality. All devised from society’s stigmas, personal traumatic events, and individual mental developments. And each person has their own hyper-reality, truly. Humans have the ability to block those at which they want to forget, whether it be people, ideas, or memories. If not ignoring those said things, twisting factual evidence to best suit what they wish to believe is real.

It then makes one prompt the question how do we know the difference between what is the true, raw reality if all we know is our reality? Or is our reality the true reality? This is what makes the class worthwhile – we have been given the chance to question everything! Who are you? Why are you that way? Who am I? Is this just all a lie? These questions fuel the desire to find answers, or construct answers, thus constructing our realities.

Not only answers construct realities, but writings as well. Writing with original thought and intent establishes rhetoric, or persuasion. And if one fully grasps writing’s rhetorical power through audience and exigence, realities can be formed. Not only for the writer to immerse in, but for the readers to accept as truth.

The new-found awareness of realities and its constructions have made me think in relation to who I was, and who I am now. But it also provides insight to who others are. You gain perspective of what events may have molded them to believe in a certain way, or think certain things. Of course, our own reality can not understand their reality for we have not personally experienced their experiences. Yet it ultimately provides awareness that morals, values, and ideologies are not formed from one view, but multiple perspectives. And as you wish for people to respect your way of thinking, you must respect others’ way of thinking unless it becomes a danger for anyone.

Writing our stories and creating our answers provides a pathway to making our Truth, even if it can be masked in many faces. So as you begin to construct your reality, take your beliefs and twist, shift, morph things to best suit your storybook ending. For it will always have Truth. It will always have morals. It will always be based in your reality. 

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To the Yuppie Ones

Who am I anymore? But, who are these people I call peers? This life, this blessing, we have been given out of birthright is considered just that – a birthright. One that is given by the time a baby takes his first breath into a world unknown, unannounced. Yet the masses, specifically, “generation me”, see it and do not appreciate what comes with such a given right: a body, a brain, a future, and ultimately the hope for progress. They disregard what is given, and reach for things that may be far out of their line of  hand. They are blatantly unsatisfied with what the cards have dealt, respectfully so. Who does not want to flourish in society? Who does not want to achieve high success through a certain love, or passion?

Yet, it speaks volumes to how this generation, our generation, goes about gaining said flourishing, said success. As if it comes along with the first breath taken, a given of sorts. Most likely considering a birthright to be placement within a high-ranked career or an acquiring of a high income. All stemming from “‘the self-esteem movement, telling kids, ‘You’re great, you’re special,'” Professor Paul Harvey at University of Hampshire proclaims. For they are then taught at a young age that they are destined for greatness, even if they may not possess the qualities to achieve it. A study conducted by a group of highly influential psychologists such as John Reynolds and Michael Stewart analyzed 25 years of high school senior classes concluding that today’s teenagers are “both highly ambitious and increasingly unrealistic,” as they wait for life to serve them.

That entitlement to a well-paying career is soon coupled with the prestige of being above our subordinating system, above the white collar, above “the little people.” Confidence in what you are and who you stand for is a quality worth having. But an extreme amount of confidence leads to the development of selfishness and narcissism, qualities worth avoiding. And it is easy to succumb to the tendencies of viewing ourselves in a different light, a skewed light of egotism. We all have taken dips in the waters of ego, groveling in all its satisfaction. As Professor Paul Harvey concluded from many extensive studies measuring entitlement and narcissism in “Generation Y”, or generation me, he “found they scored 25 percent higher than respondents ages 40 to 60 and 50 percent higher than those over 61″ (Moore). Yet most of our ego is then based off of self-proclaimed superiority, due to the frivolous livelihoods led that are filled with Tory Burch, Mercedes Benz, and our dear friend Louis Vuitton.

Of course, owning expensive items does not lead to bragging. And it surely does not directly lead to a superiority complex. It is the air in which one shows it off to the public, especially to the “competitors” in their life, or those they wish to impress.  And it is mostly seen within the privileged young adults who see it fit to gloat about their materialistic “worth”. In 2004 social psychologists by the names of Astin, Oseguera, Sax, and Korn found that the need for materialism has increased, sharing that 74% of college freshmen viewed ‘‘being very well-off financially’’ as an important life goal. The statistic, in comparison, is much higher than the 45% in 1967.

As a student at Chapman University, a prestigious private university in the heart of Orange County, a majority of my peers are blessed enough to have  BMWs fill their parking spots coupled with Michael Kors sported on the crook of their arms. It is simply the Chapman norm to be given such materialistic things, and not value it just as that: useless things. It can be perfectly exemplified by my two roommates who began to quarrel over who had the more grandeur of mansions. As if whoever has the bigger home would win. For this generation clearly bases its worth off of what they can buy, or more accurately- what their parents can buy.

But their value is not only the extravagance of what they own, but clearly how it is in comparison to what others own. It then creates a totalitarian hierarchy for a democratic nation with those that have the most extravagant of lives, most boisterous of egos at the top. And others who do not have said expensive privileges are placed at the bottom of hierarchical structure, forced to believe the lives they lead are insignificant and pathetic. The new-found class structure is then in place to strictly influence self-perceptions and identities, creating the idea that to be successful, to be happy, and to be worthwhile, one must have expensive things. For without such you have a “lesser” identity, as implied by Sonja Lyubomirsky: University of California psychology professor who studies the properties of happiness.

But what could these absorbed mentalities do within our society? Within relationships? Will there be a chance where they can not see others’ perspectives? Or within businesses?  In a survey taken through Millennial Branding and American Express, managers spoke of “said employees (Generation Y) have (ing) unrealistic compensation expectations (51%), a poor work ethic (47%), and are easily distracted (46%)” (Schwabel). As companies try to prosper, who will we then rely on – Generation X? Or will businesses slowly crumble, and falter greatly with finances, images, and credibility?

To those who are part of Generation Y, please open your eyes and consider this idea of change for it is all for the better:

Bragging about privileges and accolades reflects a poorer sense of character; show it through your true, humbling actions. No one wants to know how much money you spent on your purse or what awards you received four years ago. It only shares the sentiment that we are just contingents to the worldly system of money, nothing more. We can not be taken for the worth we try to flaunt, for that does not correctly represent who we are in our character, or value.  Rather, our intrinsic worth should be shown by our honesty, our integrity, our determinism, our care, our selflessness. That is what defines one’s character. The only way to share said sentiment is to act in such a light. For our words, actions, and thoughts are being scrutinized, continually seen under a microscope. Act, speak, and think the way you wish to be perceived, because being humble and being true is the most beneficial to not only others, but you as well.

You are always better off than most people in the world. We are part of the United States of America, the ruling capital of the world where we are the privileged, the gifted, the lucky. We are living lives where education is a cornerstone of success, and food on the table is never a second thought. And we are the ones worried for our livelihood? Where 15 million children are orphaned due HIV and AIDS. When 80% of humanity is living off of $10 a day. Where 121 million children can not acquire a proper education. There is such a large proportion of our nation who claims they are appreciative for the cards they have been dealt, yet they never act it. Why not act grateful? Feel blessed for the beautiful life provided, and then give to those who need it most. Philanthropy, whether its money or volunteer time, can strengthen your character in such a manner where you may even enjoy it yourself.

You aren’t entitled, not even to success. You get what you earn. The life we all have been given does not come with a guaranteed future, even though we have trained to believe we embody uniqueness and specialty. You can only become special by working efficiently for an extremely long time, because only then can you been given a privilege off of your own ability and effort.  But always fight for what you want, and never ask for mommy and daddy’s help. You are a capable human being, so do not be afraid to push yourself to the brink. It will be worth it in time.

Ignore the influences others may have, focus on yourself. Social media allows people to share their most inflated selves, boasting about their accomplishments, their futures, and even their looks. And it is impossible to escape such absurdity! It bombards you due to the gravity and popularity of it.  Most of those who take part in the oh, so ridiculous forms of gloating are the ones who are wanting the recognition and appraisal. But the truth is that everyone else is just as indecisive, self-doubting, and frustrated as you are, as any human-being. If you just do your thing, you’ll never have any reason to envy others. Never let others influence the path you wish to take, the goals you wish to conquer, or the obstacles you wish to overcome. Focus on yourself, and who you want perceive yourself as. It is your life, not theirs to toy with.

We all have the cabability to alter our ways of speaking and acting, therefore leading to a better way of life. It is up to you, to make that choice. For it always is a choice to be who you want to be. Now it is in your hands to do with it what you may. And I wish you the best of luck with whatever decision you make – live long and prosper, my fellow yuppies!

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Chapman’s Elite: A Horizon in Itself

Chapman University: Louis Vuitton purses, Mercedes Benz, Michael Kors wallets, Land Rovers, and Tory Burch flats – all encompassing the frivolous riches of Chapman’s elite. Price tags rule the campus as it determines who you keep as friends, and who you keep as enemies. The more you flaunt, the more recognition one receives; and in the eye’s of this generation that defines life itself. We are the self-absorbed generation. We are the “superior” generation. We are the opportunist generation. We are 2013 – an age where ‘selfies’ take over social media sites and relationships are held through technological advances. We are rude, ill-mannered, dollar-driven brats whose only concern is of our own path.

While I personally live in said narcissist era, viewing the world in a third-person perspective allows one to step out of the constructed hyper-reality. It sheds light on the wrong being done, and those who are doing so. And it allows one to view everything through the lenses of reality, the true state of being. Growing up without a laptop, a cell phone, a Nintendo DS, separates me from them. I can see what life is like without luxuries, while many of my peers cannot. Thus providing a sturdier ground in my stance against the selfishness, the self-aggrandizement, and the disrespect found in many my age, early adulthood.

They are not just kids, but the future leaders of today, as cliché as it may sound. They will be the ones who take care of the old, raise the young, and find prosperity for the nation. But do they exhibit the traits needed to live within a democratic, “for the people by the people” nation? No. Clearly no. There may be the oddities and rarities, but the majority only care for themselves and how different events and tasks will effect them. Not how it shall impact the government, the environment, fellow neighbors, the world as a whole. The only importance is if it effects their livelihoods and if so, it must be ended as soon as possible.

The years to come will only be progressively worse as all roads of entertainment, education, and humanly interaction lead to the path of technology. Children are now being born into such an age where it is socially acceptable for three year olds to play games on ipads and for teens to text friends at the dinner table. They lack any sense of respect for the people around them for they have grown up believing it is “okay.” It is “okay” to ignore parental rules, it is “okay” to not speak to others, it is “okay” to form bonds over messaging. There are no manners to be had, and no guidelines to be followed. Does it then lie upon the parents to enforce such rules? Or does it upon the children, to adhere?

What will change these selfish, bragging children of this day and age? A firm dose of humbleness? Of reality? Within my personal manifesto, I will explore the actions that need to be done to alter their perception, as well as the citizenry of this nation. It may leave a bitter taste within the mouths of many, but it needs to be said. For those who have commented on such behavior are those of a different era, never being one of the same generation. Hopefully, people will reflect on their past misgivings and gain realism, in every aspect possible.

Chew upon the words that soon will be said, I ask you. They will threaten your general ideology, my peers, but only then can changes be made. Mull, and then act – for your actions will speak volumes to who you are, and who you wish to be.

 

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Mental Illness and Its Complexities

The mentally ill psyche: always alluring, always a question in itself. Fowles dives into hyper-reality and those who live within its bindings, thus creating an air of curiosity and intrigue within “The Collector.” The entirety of the novel revolves around the main character’s rationalization for kidnapping a girl, divulging his internal logic behind his thoughts and actions. But once you hear the kidnapper’s, Clegg’s, explanation, it creates an essence of sympathy and empathy for his situation: falling in love with a beautiful, alluring woman and wanting to make her his partner in life.

Due to the fact that two out of the three sanctions of the book was written through Clegg’s eyes thus leading to such a connection or understanding, demonstrates the power of a novel’s point of view. It then also leads the audience to experience the character’s life vicariously. His emotions become your emotions. His rationales become your rationales. His thoughts soon become your thoughts.

His understanding of his past and his rationalization for his future, like I mentioned before, allows us to sympathize with Clegg since we believe he is mentally ill. By labeling Clegg as “sick”, we automatically create a divide between “us” and “them”, the healthy and the ill. We (the healthy) go throughout our day believing we have a superiority complex, that we do not have the chance to act upon urges much like the impulsive or unstable. But we ultimately do see his logic, yet he is blatantly kidnapping Miranda without her consent. It shares the idea that we all may possess a form of mental illness if we can see the rationale behind such a travesty. But then is there a range of mental illness? Or is this notion of mental illness nodding to our society’s fabric? Always acting upon impulse. Always rationalizing bad behavior. Always finding shades of gray, and not steering towards pure morals. It then prompts the question, is humanity inherently bad or inherently good? Do we act and think upon morals, or do we disregard them to find pleasure elsewhere? Is that what constitutes mental illness?

The American Psychiatric Association, known for its prestige in the realm of psychiatric and psychology, has tried to define mental illness, and its origins. They have said that mental illnesses are rather common; the more severe the disorder – the more rare it is, suggesting many people suffer from light mental instabilities. Statistically speaking, one fifth of Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder, which can also be seen within the younger generations of school children. And those who suffer continue to function in their daily lives, although with varying impairments. The APA considers the causes of mental illnesses can not be traced. While there are no specific origins to be recorded, research has led to the belief that there is an interaction between genetic dispositions and environmental factors, poverty and stress (Stein et al).

Also, the Canadian Mental Health Association has taken it upon itself to describe mental illness as accumulation of “[altered] thinking, mood or behavior, and impaired functioning over an extended period of time” (“What is Mental Illness?”). The circumstances of each person’s mental illness effects the symptoms, depending on the severity of mental disability. The onset of a mental illness is considered to be a combination of biology, social environments, genetics, and physical places. And traumas of any kind can start and restart symptoms, or the mental illnesses.

In relation to “The Collector,” many of the characters can be considered part of the realm of mental illness. First and foremost, Clegg embodies instability, convolution, and utter narcissism. While he was never diagnosed with a disorder, we do see the oddities that make up his behavior throughout his everyday life. He is challenged with anxiety when dealing with true, raw reality, never willing to accept it for its whole being. Also, his perspective of himself and of others lacks any truth or light, for he is the only one to “see” others for their disgusting sexual tendencies and nothing more. Due to the fact that he has never groveled in such distasteful frivolity, Clegg is then above the masses. He “hate(s) the uneducated and the ignorant. (He) hate(s) the pompous and the phoney,” clearly displaying his lack of understanding that those who considers to be in said class are all of humanity (Fowles).Continually looking down upon others if they exhibit poor behavior or habits, all the while it being socially acceptable for the average man.

To look further into the origins of mental illness, specifically Clegg’s, we can uncover theories that try to explain its complex being. George Engel, a psychiatrist of many forms, created the biopsychosocial model which helped to pinpoint the causes of any mental illness, and the possible relationships between different factors. The creation of such a model was not based off of his sole work, but an accumulation of research taken over decades, even centuries of time. Engel saw the importance of “biological contributions, thoughts and perceptions, social pressures, and environmental stressors, the presence or absence of nurturing and consistency of love, core values, and self-worth” upon an individual’s psyche. He believed that there was not one factor that could be blamed for mental imbalances, rather it is a cumulative effort of life itself. And to best heal the illness, there needed to be recognition of all that could influence the psyche (Smith). To fully understand the complexity of its influences, Engel created a hierarchy of factors, alongside the biopsychosocial model.

 

The top of the hierarchy begins with the largest element that could possibly influence: the biosphere, which can be seen as the physical environment. It moves down to society and cultures, the social implications that can be found wherever you may step foot. Gender roles, sexual stigmas, racial differences, ultimately complete misconceptions. Further, it goes to community (influences in public) and then family (influences in privacy). Then, it filters down to two person, meaning interactions with others. One person then means your own thoughts and perspective on people, things, life in general. The latter half of the hierarchy comments on the anatomical influences that can and cannot be seen (Engel).

The application of the biopsychosocial model to Clegg’s character shares the notion of his insanity and how it comes to be. The most striking of influences can be seen through society and cultures, especially due to the fact that Clegg is a heterosexual male. Throughout time, men were given the sole task of providing a life, and thus a home, for their child-bearing woman. And if not, those are considered to be ‘failures’, and not worthy of respect and appreciation as individuals. All males can see such influences when deciding which career path to take and which woman to put a ring on. And Clegg succumbed to the pressure of finding the woman of his dreams, by choosing a girl through a window.

The community and family determined why he chose Miranda as his partner for life as well. The community stresses the idea that one must find a woman who shares the same values and morals that are wished to be taught to children. Since Clegg never out-rightly witnessed Miranda’s sexual or impulsive side, he held the perception that she was an upstanding individual, following a just life and never falling into desire. His family molded the choice as well, by Miranda being the antithesis of Clegg’s mother. His biological mother was “floozy” as she decided to give birth to a child, and never commit to raising it to the best of her abilities. She lacked any sense of nurture, of love, of compassion, of care. When all the while Miranda embodied all that the mother was not – continually helping others when need be, and earning respect by displaying demure, feminine characteristics.

The anxiety displayed whenever Clegg interacts with others makes one wonder if there is an underlying reason for such odd behavior. Since it was never divulged in the book, the audience can only assume that the abandonment of his parents played a large role. The absence of a loving mother and a protective father prompted the thought that he was not worth the time or the effort, further creating fear with every interaction that the abandonment may occur once more. And growing up in an unconventional household did not allow Clegg to fully and freely express himself. The over-swelling of anxiety, and fear of oppression and depression led to his choice of kidnapping an innocent girl. Forcing the “cell” to be in his home would allow him to progress into a relationship at his own speed, that way he can gain comfort ability without the fear of Miranda leaving.

Also, the thoughts Clegg share within his “diary” or “autobiography” do not evoke a sense of stability or comprehension of others and their emotions. Instead, he clearly focuses on his needs even if they disregard the livelihood of others; for his wants are much more prevalent and important. Clegg’s weapons of choice were “selfishness and brutality and shame and resentment,” and they were outward representations of his ideas, values, morals, or lack thereof (Fowles). His superiority was only a figment of his imagination since, realistically, he was a kidnapper of the innocent and he saw no need for any repercussions. It was love or the want of love that drove Clegg to act out and kidnap Miranda, and in his mind, he was doing what hyper-reality told him to do: find a woman and make her yours.

Then if Engel’s model is applied to Miranda, we can easily see the development of her mental illness through the circumstances she was faced with. The family strata, or private setting, she was forced since being kidnapped without any consent brewed a stir-crazed woman, living in a four-walled basement with a make-shift bathroom, one bed, and similar settings as a magazine, as fake and unrealistic as it may be. Without seeing the break of day for months and months on end, she could only surmount to the shell she was bound to be. She lost all tangible connections to the outside world, creating a void in community, society and cultures, and two person interactions. The only outward interaction Miranda truly had was with her kidnapper, a deranged sociopath, and herself. But her sole companion being herself, especially when seen through her writing. The reflection seen through her words was the only true friend she had, since she lost all that held personal validity and reality. The last remnant of life beyond being books of different genres, but all manufactured and falsified. Being completely removed from all that creates any influence strips Miranda of any identity. And biologically, Miranda’s illness took a toll on her to where her psyche then accepted her kidnap, when no one ever should.

Another psychologist by the name of Sigmund Freud created a theory that described the structural psyche, and where possible illnesses can manifest themselves. It can be characterized best as an iceberg, the very bottom being the unconscious mind. The unconscious is clearly a compilation of suppressed socially-unacceptable urges and outbursts, the id. It also can be seen as the storage of unwanted, oppressed thoughts and memories that are viewed as traumatic and/or shunned within society. The brooding portion of the iceberg is considered the pre-conscious where the super-ego is primarily located. It is the embodiment of morality and values as it critiques actions time and time again. The conscious mind can be see at the tip of the iceberg, mediating between the impulses of the id and the morals of the super-ego to construct the ego. The ego can be seen through one’s actions since it is simply a negotiation of sorts, sacrificing desires to please the masses (Freud).

Clegg’s psyche development could be based on his childhood, or lack thereof. Instead of living in frivolity and innocence, he lost both of his parents at a very young age, essentially making him an orphan. His mother was best described as “flousy”, which only adds to the Freudian idea of mother abandonment issues. The lack of motherly attention fuels the absence, leading to anxiety and pressure of oral fixation and anal control. Then Clegg wishes to overcome these traumatic experiences that are repressed in the unconscious, and he consciously decides to kidnap a girl to deal with his female issues. Yet his impulse to kidnap Miranda was not delegated with the super-ego. No morals were taken into play, and the ego did not justly decide a healthier form to cope with womanly abandonment, thus festering a seed of mental disorder.

Miranda never truly divulged her past in the novel, but we can assume that her super-ego played a large part in her psyche development. It can be seen with the nature of her kidnapping that she was never truly comfortable with sexuality and bodily freedom. Her mind then “suppresses” the urges that were most likely formed by childhood experiences, as she was taught that “it” was distasteful. But once she is placed in an unconventional setting, referring to the basement, Miranda begins to have unconventional thoughts that disrupt her usual pattern of chaste thinking. The constraints of her kidnapper forces her id to be placed in survival mode, the most primitive of states. She tries to use her sexual charm to control Clegg, but it does not work due to his oppressed experiences as well (Fowles 232). But it makes you ask “why does she have difficulty expressing her sexuality? What happened? And why use sex as a tool to escape?” Mental instability can be easily seen once personalities change, as well as ideas of good and bad. 

It can be seen through the definitions found and the theories uncovered, that those who walk these very halls, who consider you as a friend, or who stare back at you in the mirror suffer from a mental illness, severity varying from minimal to insufferable. And most of the time, it will go completely undetected, only claiming that there is something off or odd. In my deepest belief, I believe we all are a little mad. But who wouldn’t think that same notion? As a whole we are human beings, with no divides. And as a whole, we purposely hurt others for our own enjoyment, wish for others’ demises, and wish to benefit ourselves on our rise to success. We are humans, ego, greed, and all. But those main components that make up our manly composition our what makes us sick in the head, for our morals do not coincide with such monstrosities.

Be aware of the next interaction or even the next thought that passes through your conscious mind, and consider the madness that can ensue. And hopefully we can resurrect such a devastating reality, but if its truly engrained in our beings, how so? That is what we will just need to wait and see. 

GROUPS WHO DETERMINE  “MENTAL ILLNESS” (** referenced beforehand):

**American Psychiatric Association –

http://www.psychiatry.org/about-apa–psychiatry

**Canadian Psychological Association –

http://www.cpa.ca/

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Oh, Dreams and Their Archetypes!

Take a gander at this, Jung! Dreams, dreams, always uncovering the unexpected…

 

It would begin by looking upon myself laying in the fetal position on top of a cobblestone bridge overlooking a river. I was clad in dingy rags, covered in dirt, and my own feet unnoticeable in blood. It was dark, it was dank, it was the 1800s. The small village that was down the street was illuminated with torches, showing the filth and feces that covered the road. I looked in that general direction, and then upon my hands. Dirt was built up underneath my nails, scars covered my palms and as the cold wind blew, they would sting like knives were being slid across. Out agony, I placed my hands under my arms to seize the pain.

Through my teary-vision I witness the slow progress of a hooded figure. Black. Cold. Sudden eminence fled my entire being, not knowing what is to come from his encroachment. As he grew closer and closer, his face would hit the moonlight in such a way where all would be revealed. His eyes were as the dark as the night, and his smirk as soulless as the earth. His face had no flesh, no meat. All it was a carcass of what once was human. A Grim Reaper.

Following shortly behind the reaper was a mob of people holding pitch forks, and lit torches. They all looked full of anger and hostility, like they all were possessed with the want to kill by the Leader Grim.

The blade in Grim’s hand was close enough to touch my bruised cheek, and I ran far far away – past the town and towards the woods. Once they witnessed my escape, the mob gained speed in attempts to lay one fateful torch to my garb or pitch fork to my leg. As I dodged a tree, they soon followed with as much more furry and hatred than the tree before. With each glance I threw behind, they became closer and closer. Before I could catch another look, my foot was caught underneath a tree’s uplifted root. It immediately twisted my ankle, so much so that I could not stand upon my feet to run once more. Instead, I had to use my bare hands to grip the soil, to try to push forward. I looked behind to see the Reaper to be a few inches from my face, with a clear smile in victory. He raised his blade accompanied with a malicious giggle. And soon as the blade was meant to meet my neck, I wake up.

This dream haunted me for years, recurring at the oddest of times. It would awaken me in the deadest of sleeps, and make me fear going back to bed. But as I have gotten older, I have been able to view my life at a distance, or a third person view. And while many have said before, dreams are conscious representations of the fear, anger, love in our very lives. At that time in my life, my parents were going through a very tumultuous time in their marriage, many fights and many discussions about divorce. My home life was financially unstable since my father was out of work for over three years, where it effected where we lived, the lifestyle we adhered to, the food we ate or lack thereof.

The Grim Reaper symbolizes death, the captor of death, or a finite ending, even the Shadow archetype. It was signifying the end of childhood, the end of innocence, the end of comfort-ability or stability. My life was being turned upside down at the hands of reality. And as much as I did not want it to happen, it was going to affect my everything. The Grim Reaper was acting upon his natural, humanly instinct to kill for wrongdoing or chaos. I would “run away” which can be seen as the anxiety for not recognizing life and its quirks.

The mob could be seen as the other pressures that were present in my life at the time – good grades, a great friend, a loving sister. I took on a lot of responsibility and I was failing in many facets due to the distress I tried to avoid at all costs. And that failure weighed on me, enough to affect my self perception. I did not believe I had worth, or value if I did not have a mother and father who cared like most parents did. They did at a distance, not truly supporting me with the decisions I made or the accolades I received. This can be clearly seen through the rags, dirt, and blood I was wearing. It shows that I was not wanted, and thus not treated in a healthy or loving manner. No one was there to wipe my tears, instead I was the one to raise myself. I was clearly representing the hopeless, lost child archetype, by my outer appearance to the emotional rise within my character. I was innocent, vulnerable, and did not have a sense of the future. I could not see what is to come, for I lacked the wisdom needed to do so, to see past the troubles to seek solutions.

The fact that the dream was placed in the 1800s, can share that the environment I had grown up in was a place of barbarity with “filth and feces (that) covered the road.” People did what was easy and not what was needed, no matter the difficulty. It was dirty, and it was messy. Its chaos could not be tamed or placed in order, much like the life I was living.

Dreams can be seen as the melding of the unconscious and the conscious mind as our true emotions and our reality meet, especially within Carl Jung’s studies of the psyche. Whenever one is in need of enlightenment on their identity, reviewing the most current dreams may reveal the unlikely. The unexpected has the chance to uncover our now. Open your mind to the possibilities that dreams possess, you never know what may come of it.  

 

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Control: “Indefinable”

The control inquiry ultimately led to many different theories that held validity in light of the psyche. Adler, Heider, and Langer made leaps and bounds by trying to pinpoint the drive, the need, the obsession, for control in an otherwise uncontrollable world. Yet they all branched out from the idea of control to create theories that did not relate to each other. While Adler discussed control as an innate need to provide order, which then boosts one’s power and stability or comfort ability, Langer felt that it was the environment that melded the personality which then contributed to the wish or want for control. While Heider believed it was a combination of external and internal influences.

 Then, a bigger question is prompted: which theory is the “right” theory? Which one is correctly justifies humankind’s manipulative tendencies?

 It then placed in the indefinite realm of inquiry – no true answer. It can be seen as a shame for some by not acquiring an answer, to a an age-old question. But I view this “quest” in a different, more optimistic light. Even though I did not uncover any answers, I still acquired an abundance of knowledge about those who have come before and shared their thoughts on control in itself. While yes it would been nice to uncover control’s complexities, reading past works reveals that it is not an easy subject to pinpoint. And a college student would not be able to find such revelatory evidence in personality studies, more specifically control studies.

 Now we must ask the question: can control even be deduced to being innate or learned? Or will it always be an anomaly? That is what I am curious about – not if control is innate or learned, but if that question can even be answered.

 We will see where more studies may lead us as we continue to question our motives. Be conscious of those around you. You may see theories play out right before your very eyes.  

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Innate or Learned: That is the Question

Continuing with my last post, I have taken the liberty to look into the questions I created based off of the film, “Being John Malcovich.” Sure enough, I found some enthralling information about whether or not control is innate or learned, and the process I took to find such fascinating ideas and theories.

 

Feel free to comment with your personal beliefs, and ideals on my “control inquiry.” Every one’s perspective and thoughts are valued, and will be greatly appreciated.

 

Link to Control Inquiry Prezi:  

http://prezi.com/luoefazsolx4/present/?auth_key=k6dmc5u&follow=8ehlnkzgjqko&kw=present-luoefazsolx4&rc=ref-55070171 

 

 

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