Psychology of the Arts: Final Exam Questions
It is a crime indeed that this course is being canceled at my college after this quarter but I was blessed with the +1 to hit rolls as well as the chance to take the course. Here are the final two questions to be turned in when we take the final exam (not looking forward to that in particular but I hate exams in general) likewise my answers to the questions.
I cannot stress enough that anyone here should see these movies, if nothing else Il Postino is an amazing movie that is easy to enjoy.
Question 1: About Pablo Neruda and the film Il Postino – The Postman.
Neruda writes about anguish and solitude. “We live in an absurd world, with no sense of society. In such a world a man/woman loses the prime qualities of life and heads toward nothingness.” Are these themes detectable in the movie? What is important in life according to Il Postino? What is the meaning of life?
As I watched the movie I felt that it was not a case that we are inevitably heading towards nothingness but that instead we can if we do not change our ways. The postman had no sense of natural beauty around him, he had no sense of just what he desired most in the world. To him it was more a case of getting out of the land he called home. He didn’t feel understood nor did he understand the importance of the smaller things. He was overlooking the joys of a sunset and merely noticing the unfortunate workload of a fisherman. Essentially spotting a Rose and calling it a weed.
What I established as the important factors in life were the collection of various unique traits his island had. The breeze that traveled along the land and danced within the bushes. The night sky and its endless swath of stars. The dancing of the sea against the shore. The sad fishers nets reaching boat wards to escape the frigged waters. The ring of the church bell crawling across the air and all the other things that inspired him. Of course when everything was said and done there was also the beauty of Beatrice Russo, while easily overlooked it was her passion and grace that lead the postman to desire Poetry as well and to finally see the world for all its graces. As I understood it from the movie, the meaning of life is to live. I don’t recall any exact quote to that point but I’m almost sure I heard them. I think it was ironic that we were examining this movie considering one of its staple characters said the following:
Man has no business with the simplicity or complexity of things. – Pablo Neruda
Question 2: About Akira Kurosawa’s film “Dreams.”
1. Select two dreams and analyze their psychological meaning.
2. Address why Kurosawa thinks “man is a genius when he is dreaming?”
3. Why does Kurosawa stress humankind’s need to harmonize with nature?
The humorous nature of psycho analysis is that there is really no relevance in the end. Each person can quite easily examine something and see a truly different meaning and still be entirely correct. However considering that I’d much rather acquire a good grade on this I’ll take a stab.
The first dream that I would examine would be the dream of the soldier entering the tunnel. It seemed to me to embody the inner turmoil that every properly functioning human being befalls when coming back from a war. To watch your own friends and family members dying, sometimes in your very arms, is an experience that nobody should wish upon anyone else. Yet it is a common event that happens every single day all over the world. The commander (I forget his actual position) seemed to be facing his own demons, the dog to me representing the primal responses that follow us after such a grave event ready to explode at a moments notice (if you noticed the 6 pack of hand grenades strapped to it).
It’s a torture that few escape in the midst of war, a permanent scar upon our minds that lasts until the very last breath. Survival guilt absorbing the few small glimmers of joy that should have been gained from surviving the widespread murder all around us.
The second dream I would examine would be the blizzard. It seems to reveal the personification of our world as we get closer to death. That blizzard that just seems to grow in force until the bitter last moments when the final euphoric thoughts hit our fading minds. The cold beautiful death that blankets the man seems to be the ultimate visual of that, the seemingly ultimate form of compassion releasing him from the difficult reality that surrounds him. Yet even with Death’s embrace all around him he decided to push on. The real question I wondered by the end of it was whether that tent was their salvation and the continuation of life or merely the final mirage as they walked off into the final stretches of death.
In our dreams we are not bound by natural law, we are allowed to flow freely, to think outside the boundaries of our fears. While we may have nightmares even they are wildly hyperbolic providing us with the pure essence of our thoughts, of our many shortcomings. It is in our dreams that we discover ourselves to see what we truly are and not what we want others to think we are. For those that fully accept their dreams they are given an infinitely large canvas to paint a beautiful scenery upon even if only for a few fleeting hours till they awake and return to the reality of constraints. Albeit with the proper mind I believe that the genius of the dreaming man can easily transcend the world of the waking.
There are roughly 36,000,000 miles between us and the next reasonable choice for habitation if our own planet were to die. Even that would require amazing levels of technology and overhauling and thusly could not be done as a last ditch effort. For every decade that we try harder to establish dominance over nature we strike another century off the habitable time we have left. For every species that dies off because of poisons or massive (and genuinely unnecessary) expansion we lose even more because of the chain that is broken.
It may seem somewhat exaggerative to say that we are killing the single place in the vast universe that currently can provide us with the vital components of life but it is truly mind boggling. If you were provided with a single source of water I imagine nobody would be crapping in it and yet that is essentially what we do now. We have a single planet, who’s two closest neighbors have been wrought with destruction. Venus has an atmosphere so thick that the surface of the planet can cook a frozen pizza in seconds and Mars a planet that once had water is entirely barren on the surface. Either route could be a likely outcome for us if we do not take a moment to step back and think about our actions.
There is only so far any variable can be stretched before the equation falls apart, indeed even gravity has a tipping point at which nearly nothing can escape. Once we hit that point on this planet there will be nothing we can do but watch everything around us die, and really what will we have gained up until that point? There is no greater fear than to be nothing and it is almost ironic that our actions are quite possibly going to lead to the entirety of human history being lost forever.