Reel Deal Film Series Presents: Black Swan

October 20, 2011 1 Comment

Director’s Chair:  Jolyn Welsh Wagner, M.D

Psychoanalysts:  Nancy Kulish, Ph.D, and Deanna Holtzman, Ph.D

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One Comment to “Reel Deal Film Series Presents: Black Swan”
  1. Bruce Russell says:

    Everyone can agree that Nina is conflicted, even if we disagree about the causes of that conflict. If you have a mother who loves you but blames you for the end of her career as a ballerina, and who wants to control you, you have the makings of a conflict. If you think that a perfect ballet performance is one that is technically perfect, and then find out for the performance to be better you must get in touch with your sexuality, which you have been taught by your mother to hate, you have the makings of a conflict. If you think that a good girl would not gain success at the expense of others, but then find out that your success as a ballerina must be at the expense of others, you have the makings of a conflict. And if you think you should not sleep with the director to gain success, but then find that it helps, you have the makings of a conflict. Add all those makings up, and you have the makings of a psychic break. No need to bring in some Oedipal (triangular) dynamic to explain the psychic tensions in Nina. A Tina with a father and the rest of the conflicts I’ve noted in Nina’s case might well have a psychic break, too! It’s a principle of hypotheses acceptance that, other things being equal, we should accept the simpler over the more complex explanation. We shouldn’t believe that people and ghosts have made footprints in the sand if we can explain all of them by assuming only people! That principle seems to apply in the psychic realm as well as at the beach!

    As for perfection: is it so bad? Those who believe in God think he is a perfect being. So what’s the downside of pursuing perfection? Well, we’re not God, and that means we’ll probably be frustrated if we pursue perfection. However, I think I’ve heard Justin Verlander say that he expects to pitch a perfect game every time he goes out. Maybe the pursuit isn’t harmful if you can accept failing to achieve it very often.

    One more comment: some people think that if someone is a good X (flute player, watchmaker, ballerina, artist, writer, parent, etc.) then it is GOOD FOR that person to be a good X. That is not necessarily true, as the example of vanGogh shows. Many people who are good Xs would be happier, and better people, if they gave up being good Xs. Nina is probably one of them.

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