Thursday, March 15, 2007

Understanding behavior and perspective

Paisley Rekdal describes a series of very interesting visuals and comparisons in "a crash of rhinos." After dissecting this poem for a while, the message that I interpreted from it was based on the evolutionary need that we have developed for love. The poem talks about sameness and anonymity. To be loved by someone is to eliminate this anonymity by becoming significant in the perceptions of another. The poem switches from depictions of animals herded in fear to a description of a couple grunting with love. I think that Rekdal is trying to relate the emotions that we so passionately feel when we are in love to the instinctual survival mechanisms of other animals. I am not sure what the significance of the two quarters in poem was, except maybe an allusion to magic and the show is performed by persons in love. The general behaviors that are associated with love happen naturally and instinctually between people, and the purpose of such behaviors are rarely analyzed aside from the need for reproduction. I believe that Rekdal is very accurate when comparing such instinctual tendencies of survival and safety as the "scared cows shoved ass to ass" to the behaviors that we exhibit when we are in love. I believe the reasons are largely the same: to not only be protected, but to be part of something that validates the individuality of a person or animal.
In the graphics, I particularly related with the cartoons that showed the white balding psychiatrists counseling confused and defensive black men. One showed a psychiatrist with his foot rested on the man being counseled, while asking him " Why is it that you don’t think you get any respect?" The other showed the white balding psychiatrist convincing his patient, who is armed with many weapons to "lower his psychological defenses." These cartoons show the ridiculousness of the psychiatrist trying to alleviate the psychological turmoil of the confused and defensive black man, who has most likely experienced situations that the psychiatrist has no knowledge or wisdom of. In one of the cartoons the psychiatrist has a diploma posted on his wall for his psychological degree. Does this make him qualified to understand the mental turmoil of the oppressed man? Could he possibly have valuable insight into the other man’s situation? I really am not sure whether a degree in psychology gives someone the power to understand such a different perspective. It seems that counseling of this sort could potentially leave a man feeling even more helpless than before.

No comments: