Mar. 25th, 2016

proximoception: (Default)

Rewatched the last one because I knew it had more going on than I'd realized:

Denise leaves the tracks but then goes back to the edge of them - the arrow knocks her straight in.

She also picks the one soda from the cooler full of beers. Her parents were alcoholics, and she's gone the never-drinking route. I think we're to understand Dennis went the other. Tracks can go both ways but they're still tracks. Imitation, aversion, same difference. Still conditioned.

Her final speech is about how, as a psychiatrist, she's trying to auto-cog-behaviorize herself by facing her fear(s) of zombies, dangerous situations generally and/or killing anything. She took Daryl with her because he's like her brother who despite being himself dangerous always made her feel safe (a bad sign of change in Daryl, since he admits they seem to have had the same brother and we all remember his), and Rosita because Rosita has never been alone before (meaning she went with Daryl out of fear AND to let Rosita be alone for the first time? This is confusing...). I guess she's aware of Daryl's starting to become untrusting, and how that's a bad path for him? She's warning them that if they don't face their fears and let themselves be changed, then - and is hit.

So they're all on their usual "tracks" by the end. It's usual for Rosita to be with people, usual for Daryl to not take unusual steps because of fear in a way related to reflexively killing people who are threats (or something?). Further: Daryl holds off from (in a strict sense) unnecessarily killing D/Dwight when Rosita yells at him to stop - before he even sees why; Rosita becomes Abraham's wingman again despite their breakup; Eugene uses Abraham as a human shield; Abraham risks his life to protect him. (Is Denise's "track" to be all talk and analysis of others, sans risking action herself? Not sure if we've seen enough of her to establish that, but it at least seemed both natural for her and unhelpful.) All have made gestures toward behaving differently, but in a crisis their "training" reasserts itself.

Dwight too: he is again turning on Daryl despite having been spared by him, and back working for the people he got sick of being kicked by - and now covered with horrible burns (Two-Face style, tellingly). His two names make him like Denise, who has the Dennis road (anger-fear) as well as the Denise one. Perhaps this suggests he's not yet sure what to do either - killing Denise does seem to have been an accident, though it's unclear if he'd intended to kill Daryl and not just wound him ... and his two shots don't end up killing Eugene. He doesn't end up performing the Saviors' customary murder, and maybe could have declared Denise to have been sufficient.

The soda seems to be Orange Crush, the same one Denise had Daryl get for Tara. This was, symbolically, a foundational "sin" back in 6.10, since it wasn't strictly necessary and in fact made them risk their necessities (the food truck) when trying to get it from the Pandora's-Box soda machine. Jesus pops up exactly when they stop to pry it open, and in lying to him they shy away from true initial trust/sharing, which on this show equates to taking more than your share and discounting the welfare of those not you and yours. Which when you do it to Jesus...

Our training and others' expectations keep us from finding out what else we could do, though training's spoken of (by Eugene, by implication Denise) as conceivably letting us get control of our environment when we let it complete itself. Since she dies and he's critically injured the episode is not clearly admitting this can be true - nor that it isn't, since Eugene bravely bites Dwight's dick and Denise may truly have changed herself.

Still not sure what's up with the child. She was locked in or something? Or was that the corpse of an adult, and the shoe means she ate her child after writing all those "hush"es - because of cries which I guess attracted all those zombies to the outer door? A take on that pseudo-Hemingway ultrashort story I guess? The child couldn't help screaming - from hunger? Because already a zombie? The adult had a cast, so couldn't run past the zombies outside the door? So both were stuck repeating their futile panic signals till one died then the other? Or is it that they didn't wait? Or waited too long? No, I'm still missing the point of this, from a choice vs. fate perspective. And a New Age one. There is one, I'm just missing it.

Yeah, why witchcraft type stuff was highlighted - some veiled comment on psychiatry and/or video game "leveling up"? Or maybe something about choices, since there was both a pharmacy there and assorted bullshit. True medicine versus things we make up to alter our minds? Or anyway how we're forever unsure how or whether or when the latter might work? Denise's antibiotics will save Eugene, while her words of warning may be unlikely to save Rosita and Daryl if they're in fact endangered.

Before dying half-blinded (Governor-style?) but after facing her zombie fears Denise throws up on her glasses. Meaning she was seeing clearly but something in her at once tried to stop that? Or meaning that this act made her see the world differently? See it askew? She keeps them off, doesn't she? Yes, is shot with none on. Glasses as imposed ways of seeing the world? Is her true self trying to throw off some habitual way of filtering/framing experience?

Earlier she tells them what she had for breakfast - what's inside herself (though the part ingested from the quotidian environment). They'd earlier guessed she would throw up, one of many occasions where people unhelpfully and perhaps hurtfully explain to people what they're like and what they think in this episode. This is behavior some feel constitutes emotional abuse, an effort that's mostly had trouble getting off the ground because we all seem to do it. I bring this up because it's right up this show's alley, the universality and destructiveness of the attitude "if I abuse then I'm an abuser, thus not a better species of person than those others I'm relieved to get to look down on, ignore, exclude etc., therefore I can't have abused you." It felt like it fit how people used each other to define themselves, here. Or maybe rather how they got mad at others for changing because it made them feel guilty for not having changed? Or do people try to reserve the power of changing for themselves, whether they achieve it or not. Because otherwise how can they tell if they've really changed? Or as part of a bargain - I've been acting this goddamn way because it was my job around here, and now you're up and deserting yours?!

Which is cousin to the amazingly consistent feature of WD where when people do a good thing it's because they expected the next person would have done that - a next person who either denies this or turns out to have been doing the same thing using that FIRST person as moral role model. As though doing good for its own sake, or reason's, were cripplingly embarrassing. We invent peers to pressure us, or we pressure our peers to pressure us. And they actually resist the latter! Suggesting the issue isn't conformity but a fear of internally located values, perhaps because those are hard to change, might commit us to terrible risks. Might make us judge ourselves for our own failures. Or worse: might make us see our failures as knowledge-based, thus not our fault, when finding them to be our fault is how we ward off the terrible possibility of a repetition of our loss? Yeah, probably the latter above all, since it was Morgan's most persistent symptom in Here Is Not Here. The trouble with consequentialist principles is they erase the possibility of guilt, and we've integrated our guilt so thoroughly with who we are that we feel we can't dispense with it.

Was that it? Trying to remember what happened with Morgan, back in that clearing scene. He can't handle extending his enlightened views to his own past behavior, when his own past behavior was about "clearing," killing everyone because life was not worth living, which he'd turned to when (to his mind) his lingering love for his wife got his son killed. So, to time-reverse and clarify this causation: I have suffered an intolerable loss, to avoid suffering further I have closed myself off from anything that could repeat the loss, my doing so has at last caused that loss to be repeated, the loss is so traumatic that the moment repeats (it seems)forever, to avoid the tormenting feeling of loss I stop valuing my life, plausibly not valuing my own life entails not valuing that of others, who I even come to actively (but inconsistently) try to kill because of projected guilt and/or so that they will kill me in reprisal, since something in me makes it that I cannot kill myself. So there's still a "life wish" or nagging trouble with suicidal/homicidal logic that prevents anyone from truly being rather than merely doing "evil." We see that with all the villains, even the blown up road Savior in 5.8-9, in the true hesitancy that must (?) underlie his mock-hesitancy about killing. Or is he on a different slippery slope? Trying to frame immoral behavior as moral? Pre-blinding Governor versus post-, as it were.

Morgan doesn't just see the breaks in Carol's routine that others miss, but also the dragging out of weapons for distribution (thus the standing army problem again, the one that nearly brought Alexandria down). He puts two and two together very rapidly. Clear sighted. And is not assuming she'd do something because she always does, but instead noting that she just now has, and what it's likely related to (because free will's not the issue here but new reactions to / informings by an ever- changing reality?). Believing in the possibility of unpredictability, he is ready to notice it when it's happened?

Though the bars on the cell he's made make it unclear whether Morgan's in it or Rick (and the rest of the planet?) is.

And he's racked with the same guilt Carol and Daryl are, of having let someone live who then killed others close to him/her or nearly so. A damned if you do and if you don't sort of guilt, especially in Carol who has made the definitely kill / maybe get someone killed Sophie's Choice both ways. Glen brings up the experience of short term PTSD with Heath in order to make the point that murder must be worse, shortly before murdering. (Heath can't even face Glen after this event, despite what he did for him - that devaluation problem? It affects Glen. I am a murderer thus I should suffer, perhaps make myself suffer by murdering again.) Moral PTSD is maybe a good way to sum up the real concern of the show. When we act out of personal fear and try to justify it, we commit ourselves to a philosophy that will make us act that way again, since some threat will come up where the relative valuation of our life will be relevant. When we act out of personal fear and DON'T try to justify it, we often think of ourselves as lesser afterwards, usually by assuming we should now sacrifice our own safety and happiness to help those we know to be more deserving (innocents by omission, like kids, or by habit, or by being the victim of our now-regretted selfish choice). These aren't quite the opposites they look like because both negate the possibility that ALL life is precious, when it in fact is and has to be for any of it to be. Not quit sure if this means selfishness and selflessness/suicidality will eventually start to trade places? The Governor's recklessly risking himself for the new family he meets, say; or Carol's selfishly running away. Our suffering does matter, so when we believe it doesn't ... No, I'm oversimplifying. The show knows these are all different phenomena. But it does relate them.

Where there's life there's possibility, Morgan says. Not hope, possibility. I don't know who anyone might become. I guess that's why this episode ends with him: suppose we do know who we are, who those near us are. Well enough to accurately tell them what they'll do. If so, then there exists a life without possibility.

But the patent ridiculousness of bothering to tell someone what they're like unless you thought they could change, that's probably the key here. You're telling them what they're like because they've deviated from it and you want them to get back in place - which means you DO think it possible they can change. Or you're telling them so they'll stop being like that. Or so they'll keep doing it but hate themselves. Or so they'll enjoy it. These too are changes.

Also explains people's attitude toward change: they both long to and dread to. Like they both long and dread to not be guilty, long and dread to not matter, long and dread to feel more important than others. Or should dread, anyway. There must be "innocent" vs. "experienced" ways to be out of balance. All are ultimately innocent, of course, since it's only information/wisdom that gets one up the ladder thus only ignorance/misinformation keeping one lower down. But there's certainly a difference between people at the sowing and reaping stages of mistakes-in-progress. It's not like anyone might convert back to sanity at any time, but that they eventually may if a) you tell them what you know AND b) give them time to compare that to what they discover. Not training but guru-ing. Or better, befriending.


She dies half-blind because Denise sees that people can change. She does not see that they must change by their own choices, not by being tricked, trained or pushed. (Though Eastman tricked, in his fashion; Jesus too... Perhaps there's white lies, temporary and minimal, vs. controlling ones that assume you're a movable thing on rails?)

Is the other kind of change, the forced change, just imitation/repulsion? A jail cell on wheels on a track? Limiting vision, among other things? Two gears: reverse and drive? Where Morgan is you can see stuff - like the flowers, which are back now, in a couple subtle shots. He's trained ... for all environments? Or rather he sees the whole world, all of life, as a single environment (no walls), so whatever training he engages in reflects that? Yeeeah. That sounds plausiblesque.


"Hush" repeated is like a magic spell, perhaps? If you're not using language to give your reasons - and own them as YOUR reasons, learned from your mistakes, as you're not better, just differently-exposed - then you're essentially battering with it? The mother eats the child she'd previously meant to save through forcing her (her, because those photographs) to change her behavior. Which just maybe you can do - though the psychology implanted is often reversed by the implantee - but you never should.


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