Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Repetition and Humiliation"

The Manchurian Candidate was such an intriguing film, I read the book (1959, by Richard Condon). Louis Menand summed it up in his 2003 introduction: it has the splendid badness of an overripe banana. Menand also explains brainwashing, which uses the "traditional methods of psychological coercion: repetition and humiliation."
Sounds like childhood.
Mine wasn't severe but I sure remember that combo, and I know people whose childhoods resembled North Korean POW camps. What I wonder is, how reversible is it, at this late date? Is repetition and encouragement any antidote?
Actually, I don't care what the psychologists say. I insist on believing in the possibility of transformation.


momo said...

Absolutely, repetition and encouragement are the very basic elements of a practice--physical, spiritual, "cognitive behavioral psychology", a sport, a language, that change our brain's and body's responses. I know from my own experience that motivation, practice,and desire to change can make change possible, even if they can't erase completely the patterns that were laid down so early. But, as some buddhists say, it's like a knot that was tied early on; it can also be untied.Some of it is grace, some of it is hard work, some of it is letting go, but we are not doomed to repeat those early patterns. At least, this is my experience and my hope (because I haven't left mine all behind by a long shot!)

Fresca said...

As the liturgy says, I have "sure and certain hope," as sure as hope can be, that we are not doomed to stay stuck in our childhood programming.

(A very American pov, I know, but then, I am American.)