Sunday, December 30, 2012

Clothes pegs, flotsam and the soul

I admit to having been a little hazy about the difference between flotsam and jetsam. So after I took this picture of a clothes peg, washed ashore on the beach, I looked it up. Flotsam comprises items that have been lost overboard from a vessel, but jetsam is debris deliberately cast over the side. Was the peg lost or rejected? It looks serviceable enough. Clothes pegs, in my opinion, are never thrown away until they break. But like socks, they do tend to get lost. So this is just a lost peg that spent some time in the sea. That admirable institution, the beachcomber is required to recycle this lost object. The beachcomber and the peg are both symbols of a sort although the beachcomber is an archetypal figure, the hermit of the shore. Regarded as eccentric, the hermit is sometimes wise and always withdrawn. He fashions the abandoned objects of the world into a lifestyle whilst rejecting a material world that fetishises objects, because his quest is the soul. For him, a clothes peg is most useful object, far more useful than a gold bracelet. The bracelet is a sign of opulence, wealth and status, but of little practical value other than the exchange value of the metal of which it’s composed.  It’s of as much use to a hermit as an iPad. But the humble clothes peg? It will always hang around!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Spooky Silhouettes, Jokes & the Shadow

Sometimes shadows seize the imagination and then we want to play. The raised hand is kind of spooky and of course, we were well aware of the effect. I was using the small camera and so there was no camera bag to spoil the silhouette. Is this in the realm of the shadow? In Jungian terms the shadow represents aspects of the self that are unrecognised and unintegrated. I think these aspects are recognised. Spooky sense of humour! Freud has the inside line on jokes. He felt the joke was mobilised by the ego to reassure the superego. We're trying to confront parental morality and tell our internal parents we're OK. There's always a hysterical edge about the joke, but for the most part, hysteria is a lovable trait we see in others. As long as we share the joke and recognise its meaning we can confront all manner of bizarre and unpleasant aspects of collective and individual behaviour. Here we're saying, don't we look funny! Maybe we do. Robert Burns said, "O, wad some Power the giftie gie us, To see oursels as others see us. It wad frae monie a blunder free us, An' foolish notion." (If only we could see ourselves as others see us, it would free us from foolish actions.) We wondered for an instant if this was the way others saw us on a quiet night in Rome close to Christmas. Then we smiled and continued on our way.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Shopping and dropping.

This photograph was grabbed from a cafe in a Rome shopping centre and it's so chaotic that I couldn't resist using it. I think it looks like Hell, but there was one good reason for being there. It's air conditioned and a good place to flee from the August heat. All the orange in the picture makes it look hot inside too. Shopping has become the pastime of choice for many people. It's what people do and the whole family has to be there, come what may. I don't think shops and shopping can be considered symbolic - although shopping can be classed as an addiction. So perhaps it belongs to Narcissus.and his reflection. There are plenty of reflections in this image, just look.  Acquisition is a reflection of ourselves and can make us feel special. When it becomes an addiction, it helps the shopper feel less lonely, more fulfilled. And some are at risk of becoming an object, surrounded by lifeless objects in an object world. The familiarity of objects can make us feel safe, because no matter where we are, we can go into shops and see pretty much the same things. It's reassuring. It holds nothing dangerous or challenging and we are held securely in the embrace of this world. But our relationship with all the objects in the shopping centre is determined by money. It stands between our desire and the object - and that's a subject for another blog.