giovedì, giugno 29, 2006

Transference, grinfucking, and positive negatives

I love love love my analyst. Last night, aside from the magical-fagical blah blah blah that isn't fit to print, we discussed my advisor still not having got back to me about a reference (two weeks isn't much time in terms of this man's responses, but it's slowing down my whole brain when it comes to the proposal). See, I’ve been educated to ignore my problems and hope they go away, but my lovely analyst won’t let me – he was all "He's French and passive aggressive! Maybe you'll have to grinfuck him some more!" (“Grinfuck” is my analyst's word for something between ass-kissing and glad-handing.)

I agreed, since this is an important enough thing to grinfuck for until my face bleeds, but I was really at a loss in terms of where else to go since I'd already praised the advisor’s teaching, writing, interviewing, advising ad nauseum (and in fairness, he IS a great writer and interviewer). So my analyst told me to Fed-Ex him some maple syrup before August, when everybody in France puts their brains in a jar for a month. So simple! But so right! Man, I love my analyst.

Moving on. When you realize once in awhile, say, "I've been happy for some time. . . why, I'm still happy!" does it make you feel sort of furtive, like you've slipped under a wire or something and it might get taken away? I do a couple of times a day . . . decided to just get used to the feeling and let it make me count my stars.

While I was in the Elysian Hills talking to a marvellous brown boy with azure eyes, I came up with a positive, if personal definition of happiness. This was while we were discussing how most people think of happiness in a negative way - safety from hunger, safety from loneliness, safety from oppression - and how reactions against this into luxury, hedonism and individualism don't make people happy at all. Happiness is strange. Negative things are strange. I think it would be lots of fun if we all spent the day thinking of what makes us happy in a positive sense - that is, to rip off Margaret Atwood's phrasing for a sec, thinking about what "freedom to"s we need and not what "freedom from"s we want. Because it's better than working.

9 commenti:

Masonic Boom ha detto...

Happiness is a transitory emotion. It is not a state of being.

Contentment is the state of being that is caused by Freedom Froms and Freedom Tos.

I think conflation of the two ideas as ideals is actually responsible for a great deal of UNhappiness, really.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

I'm not sure I see what you mean. You don't think an emotion is a state of being? Transitory or not?

I'm not sure how you seperate happiness and contentment - sure, happiness is an emotion, but I think it comes from an awareness of contentment, which is why it feels so much like gratitude sometimes. It also seems like you're more likely to feel this awareness if the contentment you're aware of is more than just that of an animal that doesn't feel threatened.

Melbine ha detto...

We are very similar Mistress La Spliffe. My basic make-up doesn't really believe I deserve to be happy. But, like you, I've decided to just get used to it and embrace it! And it's great!

Besides, I can't be selfish anymore and wallow in dumb unhappiness b/c now there is another human being that is so intrinsically connected to my feelings. It wouldn't be fair.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Catholic school girls, baby! Christ died for our sins and we got to look at his bleeding heart every day.

Yep. There's a recipe for feelings of entitlement.

Masonic Boom ha detto...

I guess I just feel like I've been too brainwashed by phrases like "happily ever after" which is a big fat lie, because those two halves just don't go together, it's an oxymoron and that creates unrealistic expectations.

One says "I just want to be happy!" and the disparity between the euphoric sense of happiness and the warm and fuzzy sense of contentment makes one feel that even attaining that goal somehow isn't enough.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Maybe I see what you mean. There is a cookie-cutter idea of fairy tale happiness I think serves us badly by keeping us striving for a state of mind that looks more like great drugs than a good mood. Or the sense that happiness is a natural state and something is badly wrong if we're not actively happy.

I'm thinking of something different: an understanding not so much of yourself but of ways to live in your environment that give you the space to look at how you feel when there's the time and think "Shit, I’m so fucking lucky."

I think it takes more to get to that point than "freedom from." I think this isn't really appreciated and that people usually devote their energies to overfeeding their appetites, and don't pay enough attention to the really subjective, personal things *on top* of that; the creative, aspiration or whatever things they can do, or should do, or want to do, and usually don't do, that make for a more appreciable kind of contentment.

Melbine ha detto...

Yeah, yeah - I totally agree - both about the Catholic layer on our psyche and your explanation of the idea of happiness!

Remember Marineland's marketing way back..the song that said "Happiness is..and finally ended with "Happiness is..Marineland!". Ha.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

I've been to paradise, but I've never been to Marineland . . .

Melbine ha detto...

Ha-ha! I went as a toddler and have one strange memory of reaching out towards water. I think there were killer whales in the water too..ah, the fearlessness of a toddler.