Month February 2012

I was in one of your dreams? The Jeff Nichols film TAKE SHELTER

I was in one of your dreams?
Yeah.
Can you deal with that?
Yeah.

  A brilliant recent exploration of the nature of dreams, and their paradoxical (non-) place in our living environment is Jeff Nichols’s film Take Shelter (2012). In it a married construction supervisor named Curtis has nightmarish dreams of storms, or of a fantastic catastrophe, and of people attacking him.  These dreams tell of lurking dangers in the present and of a coming ecological reckoning.  The dreamer reacts by two contradictory sets of actions: one, he prepares for the imminent danger, and tears himself away from those who threaten him in his dreams, digs a hole in the ground, builds up his storm shelter.  And, two, in the same responsive manner, consults a number of health professionals to confirm his possible paranoid schizophrenia and his greatest fear: to be put away, to be removed from his family, like his own mother was.  The brilliance of the film comes from that uncomfortable co-existence of mutually exclusive elements. 

 Curtis to his family doctor: A couple of days ago I had a dream that my dog attacked me and it took the whole day for the pain in my arm to go away.

 

The wish to sleep and the wish to wake up and the capacity to dream?

Psychoanalysis is likened to voodoo, and seen as deriving from dreaming. The fright of the reader of psychoanalytical texts.  Also: Masud Khan and the why of art.

I am not a psychoanalyst, nor am I seeing one.  But I read psychoanalytical texts, and must ask myself why. 

I mean I try to read mostly narratives of the analytical encounter and the analyst’s subsequent attempt to extract or abstract a number of still theoretical formulations that could be useful to him, and then to others.  But I prefer it if the texts have an emotional significance, meaning that they are, at the end, tragically useless beyond what they describe.  Freud’s “Dora” is a great narrative but is contested because the patient, at the end, does not return.  A writer of such texts is, I believe, later bound to put their name to an unhappy, uncertain ending – to a text written over by the absent patient. That adds, in a way, to the drama of the texts.

 But it’s even more unclear to me what a reader of psychoanalytical texts does, or is.

In psychoanalysis, I am attracted to the notion of saying anything that comes to my mind insofar as I am unable to do so – as Freud says “we not only want to hear from him what he knows and is holding from others, but he shall also tell