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Writing the Mind

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Kristin Gabriel

on 10 October 2013

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Transcript of Writing the Mind

Concepts of the Mind
What is the film
"Being John Malkovich" by Charlie Kaufman attempting to say about the human mind?

How can you interpret the unconscious mind?
This scene represents Elijah’s subconscious because the unconscious mind exposes memories that lie outside of awareness yet continue to influence behavior. Furthermore the wishes, desires, hopes, and urges of Elijah are revealed in his unconscious. As a viewer, this scene ties together the mind of Elijah and how he struggles in his daily life with failing to untie his parents before becoming captured. Freud’s psychoanalysis would conclude Elijah’s repression of this memory may contribute to what is making him “ill.”

What is reality?
What motivates behaviors and is there a purpose behind someone’s actions?

In “The Oedipus Complex,” Freud examines the mind using dream analysis and free association to correlate findings with attitudes towards sexuality and sexual development.

Craig’s outbursts of temper and inability to control his life reflect interpretations of the deepest layer of impulses in his mind. His obsessive sexual desire for Maxine reflect his unconscious, which includes repressed thoughts and memories.
What references reveal key ideas that become the next level of inquiry?
In "Freud And The Unconscious" by Edward Erwin, Freudian theory of the unconscious draws conclusions on the particular scene with Elijah in the jungle.
How does the unconscious differ from the conscious mind?
"Perception, Conscious And Unconscious Processes" by Giampieri-Deutsch provides addition information upon Freud's conceptions of the mind and focuses on his understanding of the unconscious mind.
The preceding scene, when Elijah unites Lotte as a result from the flashback of being capture in the jungle, contrasts the unconscious by illustrating the conscious mind because Elijah is aware of the things around him and what he has to accomplish. The film introduces the structure of the mind and explains how the unconscious is inaccessible to the conscious mind, which affects behavior and emotions. Freud's view on the conscious mind reveals why Elijah acted and was able to accomplish untying Lotte's hand.

The New Oxford American Dictionary describes reality as “the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.”
The portal into Malkovich’s mind allows characters to escape the plainness of everyday life and free themselves from their own reality by observing someone else’s world. Maxine and Craig sell ‘trips’ into John Malkovich’s mind by advertising with the slogan, “Would you like to be someone for 15 minutes?
An article called "One On The Nature Of Humans: Sigmund Freud." explores the breakdown in mental functioning that frequently leads in disturbances of the mind and body in the patients who seek treatment. Entering the portal can be a form of treatment, such that characters afterwards recognize the mind is a powerful force in illness and health.

Why the "absurd" ending?

In Camus’ essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, “the Absurd” is expressed through Sisyphus, who was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a rock up a mountain and watching it roll down, to recognize those who labor for no reason. The outcome is no hope, and no end goal.

In the film, Craig tries to find meaning out of existence, however is only able to achieve happiness in Malkovich’s body which doesn’t constitute as entire or complete happiness. In contrast, Lotte finds happiness through her existence by shedding repetition and accepting meaning, unity, and clarity within her life.
"The Historical Character Of Human Nature In Freud's Theories" portays Freud’s psychoanalysis investigations of unconscious conflict with the repression on some tendencies of pleasure for gratification, which can become excessive and make individuals “ill.”


How does the mind deal with reality?

Craig attempts to repress his dreams in order to deal with reality. However, he seeks pleasure and tries to avoid things that cause us suffering or pain that soon become out of control or inappropriate. He does not fall into a social structure that represses the reality principal, or form to the basis of human society at all stages. From his erotic actions, he appears mentally “ill” and disturbed as he reveals his deep layer of unconscious motivations.
Why did Kaufman chose those character personalities?
Lotte and Craig exist as the id, or the most primitive part of personality where basic urges are revealed, because both personalities are driven by libidinal energy stemming from their unconscious. Lotte desires to become a mother, however nurtures animals to satisfy her parenting desires. Craig yearns for a sexual relationship with Maxine and achieves this goal by controlling Malkovich.


In "Hemingway And Freud: The Tip Of The Iceberg" by Johnston, Freud's model of personality structure explains why certain characters represent major components of the mind: the id, ego, and superego.
How is Jung’s Collective Unconsciousness revealed?
In “The Basic Writings of C. G. Jung,” the collective unconscious describes universal symbols (archetypes) that manifest in dreams. Furthermore, another reference about Jung illustrated the collective unconscious as psychic innate dispositions to experience and represented basic human behavior and situations. Jung linked the collective unconscious to mental forms that can’t explained by anything in the individual's own life or seem to be aboriginal, innate, and inherited shapes of the human mind.

The film archetypes to funnel emotions of the characters. Maxine represents the anima archetype because in the eyes of Craig and Lotte, she appears as the ideal women. Craig appear as the shadow archetype because his inner darkness dominants and his sexual and anger issues are released.
Jon Stewart in “Idealism And Existentialism” says existentialism emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will.

The plot of this film conveys an essential idea the characters pursue in order to fulfill their actual existence. Craig and Lotte attempt to find meaning in life by struggling with reality and becoming fixated on living through Malkovich. The portal allowed them to create ideal identities for themselves; Craig was the ultimate puppeteer and Lotte was Maxine’s lover.
What's a meaningful way of life?


How do we identify ourselves within reality?
In "Creating Identities, Creating Values," Black conveys we are responsible for the way we turn out to be because we create our own identities and values. The concept of identity defines a person's conception and expression of their individuality or group affiliations. The formation of identity occur though an individual’s identifications with significant others and other individuals they admire.

Craig’s hobby with puppets prompts his identity as a puppeteer, however when he forms his identity through the outlooks of Maxine and society he adapts to the characteristics, values and beliefs imposed. Soon after he wishes to dissociate from their characteristics and be known as a puppeteer not through John Malkovich’s body.
Malkovich prevails as the superego, or part of the personality that reflects with a self-critical conscience on social standards learned from society, because he functions to control the impulses of the id. Since Craig can represent the id, when he is able to manipulate Malkovich this adds to the previous comment that the superego is not strong enough, thus allotting Craig or the id to win the battle
Maxine lives as the ego, or the component that deals with reality and helps ensure that the demands of the id are satisfied in ways that are realistic, safe and socially acceptable. Maxine conveys she is comfortable in her own skin by never going in Malkovich, except to escape Lotte.
Future Research?

Would you like to experience your fantasies blurred into reality?

This movie illustrates several scenes that have raised questions, which I hope encouraged engagement in a conversation about the concept of the mind. I’m intrigued with these various concepts of psychology and interested in discovering addition insights on my curiosity. In this investigation of inquiry, increasingly complex questions have revealed I wish to research:
Can you have too many pleasant thoughts overpowering the id?
Do fantasies construct reality?
How does platomic idealism satisfy the search for truth?
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