Notebook (weepies)

April 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

“The belief of the popular social psychologists that the film is a dream-machine & the happy end a wish-fulfilment misses the point. The shop girl does not directly identify herself with the glamour girl dressed up as a private secretary who marries the boss. But when faced with this good fortune, & overwhelmed by its mere possibility, she ventures to admit to herself what the entire organisation of life normally prevents her from admitting: that this good fortune will not be hers. What is taken for the wish-fulfilment is the meagre liberation which consists in the realisation that you do not have to deny yourself the most minimal degree of happiness, namely the knowledge that happiness is not for you, although it might be. The shop girl’s experience is like that of the old mother who sheds tears at someone else’s wedding, blissfully conscious of the happiness she herself has missed. Even the most stupid people have long since ceased to be fooled by the belief that everyone will win the big prize. The positive element of kitsch lies in the fact that it sets free for a moment the glimmering realisation that you have wasted your life. …

Even the belief that nowadays people behave like insects, transforming themselves into mere centres of obedience, is still just part of the facade. Such a notion is grist to the mill of all those who talk a lot of nonsense about the revival of myth [Jaspers, Heidegger, Spengler]. We should say rather that spontaneity is being eroded by the enormous efforts which are imposed on people by their very acquiescence in what is imposed, just because the veil which surrounds that imposition has become so thin. In order to be a jitterbug & to become enthusiastic about what is forced upon you its is by no means enough to surrender yourself & toe the line passively. For people to be transformed into insects they require as much energy as might well suffice to transform them into human beings.”

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