The Dark Side of Visual Culture -or- Schizotypal Masks of Sanity
The Divided Self -or- Ontological Injuries
In "The Seven Basic Plots: Why we tell stories" Christopher Booker discusses the literary idea of a "divided self" where the heroes and heroines keep their dark private impulses hidden from the public. From a story telling perspective, Booker sees the personality split between the "light" and the "dark" side, as the characteristic stuff that tragedies are made. Booker interestingly enough uses the story of "Dr Jeykll and Mr Hyde" to illustrate the cultural "double life" of such characters. Of course Robert Louis Stephenson had literally dreamt up the characters found in his novel.
Ronald D. Laing, "The Divided Self" discusses the concept of "ontological insecurity", where individuals fail to achieve a sense of narcissistic security. Insecurity forms the ontological basis for "psychotic" perception, thought, feelings and behaviour. The social world is full of visible and invisible social anxieties and ontological dangers. The psychological harmful effects of these ontological anxieties, leads to people experiencing various clinical degrees of depersonalization and derealization.
These ontological harms become clearly visible and audible in our dreams, read IIDR interpretation "What is Real?". From a medical perspective, dreams can provide an ontological index of the degree of narcissistic splitting of the "inner" and the "outer" personality, which in turn provides a cultural measure of psychotic and schizotypal processes in society. Of primary significance are the cognitive-behavioural mechanisms of self-defense that become employed and instituted in our everyday participation in "visible culture".
For Laing; "The more that he keeps his ‘true self' in hiding, concealed unseen, and the more he presents others a false front, the more compulsive this false presentation of himself becomes." In this sense people walk around with a true and a false self. Hervey Cleckey would call the persona of such people as "The Mask of Sanity".
Many of the dreams received by the International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR) speak about the narcissistically "divided self" and the "dark side" of visual culture. The IIDR has used the metaphors of "Film Noir" and "Black Comedy" to explore this dark, psychopathological and dystopian side of visual culture. Some of the dream interpretations that talk about the social philosophical problem include;
- Vanity Fair in the Global Village
- Jekyll and Hyde
- Gender Ideology in the Mirror
- Depersonalization and Derealization
- Anatomy of Nightmares
- The Murderous Gaze