black swan - churchillcollegebiblio

• …is… / …wants… / …lacks… / …feels… / …hides...
• …is… / …wants… / …lacks… / …feels… / …hides...
• …is… / …wants… / …lacks… / …feels… / …hides...
Nina’s mom
• …is… / …wants… / …lacks… / …feels… / …hides...
• …is… / …wants… / …lacks… / …feels… / …hides...
A spiritual or ghostly double or counterpart; an apparitional
double of a living person; a co-walker. Alter-Ego.
The word is also used to describe the sensation
of having glimpsed oneself in peripheral vision,
in a position where there is no chance that it
could have been a reflection.
The Double deals with the internal
psychological struggle of its main character,
Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin. The overall topic of
the story is a doppelgänger.
In The Double, the narrative tone depicts a
man whose life is on the verge of destruction
due to the sudden appearance of a literal
facsimile (copy) of his self. This double
attempts to destroy the protagonist's good
name and claim the position of both his public
life in the Russian bureaucracy and within the
social circle inhabited by Golyadkin Senior.
The story may, however, be viewed as the
documentation of a schizophrenic break from
reality with the realistic description of
symptomatic mental degenerations, including
broken speech patterns and free association.
One clear example is the hallucination where
the hero of the story sees himself everywhere
he goes, especially in socially awkward
The style of narration used in this story raises interesting philosophical
questions, one of them being: What is reality? We see how there can be
different views of reality all existing and interacting with one another in a
seemingly paradoxical way in this story.
The events that occur in the mind of Golyadkin are not the events that happen
concretely in the novel's universe, in one part of the story for example, there is a
party and, while Golyadkin thinks he is outside of the party looking in at his
double, he actually spent some time in the party. Both of these events are
impossible to take place at the same time, unless reality is just relative to the
individual. This may be Dostoevsky's answer to that philosophical question.
Reality is relative to the individual, just as the speed and distance of light is
relative to the observer due to space and time.
So, can our mind present
“personalities” or ways of being?
Does this occur in all of us?
Are we all mad then?
Id, ego and super-ego are the three parts of the psychic apparatus defined
in Sigmund Freud's structural model of the psyche; they are the three
theoretical constructs in terms of whose activity and interaction mental life
is described. According to this model of the psyche, the id is the set of
uncoordinated instinctual trends; the ego is the organised, realistic part;
and the super-ego plays the critical and moralising role.
Even though the model is "structural" and makes reference to an
"apparatus", the id, ego and super-ego are functions of the mind rather
than parts of the brain and do not correspond one-to-one with actual
somatic structures of the kind dealt with by neuroscience.
The id comprises the unorganised part of the personality structure that
contains the basic drives. The id acts according to the "pleasure principle",
seeking to avoid pain or unpleasure aroused by increases in instinctual
tension. The id is not a morally bad concept, after all desires and passions
are utterly necessary throughout life.
'It is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality (…) and most of that is of
a negative character and can be described only as a contrast to the ego.
We approach the id with analogies: we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of
seething excitations... It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts,
but it has no organisation, produces no collective will, but only a striving to
bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the
observance of the pleasure principle'
The Ego comprises that organised part of the personality structure that
includes defensive, perceptual, intellectual-cognitive, and executive
functions. Conscious awareness resides in the ego.
The ego represents what may be called reason and common sense, in
contrast to the id, which contains the passions ... in its relation to the id it
is like a man on horseback, who has to hold in check the superior strength
of the horse...
In modern English, ego has many meanings. It could mean one’s selfesteem, an inflated sense of self-worth, or in philosophical terms, one’s
self. Ego development is known as the development of multiple processes,
cognitive function, defenses, and interpersonal skills or to early
adolescence when ego processes are emerged.
The Super-ego aims for PERFECTION. It comprises that organised part of
the personality structure, that includes the individual's ideals, spiritual
goals, and the conscience that criticises and prohibits drives, fantasies,
feelings, and actions. The Super-ego can be thought of as a type of
conscience that punishes misbehavior with feelings of guilt.
The Super-ego works in contradiction to the id. The Super-ego strives to
act in a socially appropriate manner, whereas the id just wants instant
self-gratification. The Super-ego controls our sense of right and wrong
and guilt. It helps us fit into society by getting us to act in socially
acceptable ways.
The Super-ego's demands oppose the id’s, so the ego has a hard time in
reconciling the two.
The Ego and the Id. Since then, the theory has
been explained with reference to a horse and
The id is the "horse". It is the unevolved instinctive part of our brain, responsible for the
urges and desires we try to repress. The ego is the "driver" of the chariot, and the rational
part of our brain. It is able to guide the id, but never has full control - just as the driver is
aware that if the horse wants to go in a different direction, he is ultimately powerless to
stop it. The superego is the chariot driver's father, sitting behind him, pointing out his
mistakes. It is the part of our brain responsible for criticism and moralising.
Plato, in his dialogue Phaedrus (sections 246a - 254e), uses the Chariot Allegory to
explain his view of the human soul.
Plato paints the picture of a Charioteer driving a chariot pulled by two winged horses:
"First the charioteer of the human soul drives a pair, and secondly
one of the horses is noble and of noble breed, but the other quite the
opposite in breed and character. Therefore in our case the driving is
necessarily difficult and troublesome."
The Charioteer represents intellect, reason, or the part of the soul
that must guide the soul to truth; one horse represents rational or
moral impulse or the positive part of passionate nature (e.g.,
righteous indignation); while the other represents the soul's
irrational passions, appetites, or concupiscent nature. The
Charioteer directs the entire chariot/soul, trying to stop the horses
from going different ways, and to proceed towards enlightenment.
Plato describes a "great circuit" which souls make as they follow the gods in the
path of enlightenment. Those few souls which are fully enlightened are able to
see the world of the forms in all its glory. Some souls have difficulty controlling
the black horse, even with the help of the white horse. They may bob up into
the world of the forms, but at other times enlightenment is hidden from them.
If overcome by the black horse or forgetfulness, the soul loses its wings and is
pulled down to earth.
Should that happen, the soul is incarnated into one of nine kinds of
person, according to how much truth it beheld. In order of
decreasing levels of truth seen, the categories are: (1) philosophers,
lovers of beauty, men of culture, or those dedicated to love; (2)
law-abiding kings or civic leaders; (3) politicians, estate-managers
or businessmen; (4) ones who specialize in bodily health; (5)
prophets or mystery cult participants; (6) poets or imitative artists;
(7) craftsmen or farmers; (8) sophists or demagogues; and (9)
For Plato the human soul is _______________. It wanders the heavens (World of Ideas) contemplating the
___________, but it must make its way as a chariot pulled by a __________ (white )and an _________ (black) horse.
According to how much truth the soul contemplated it will incarnate into one out of _______ (#) possible kinds of
person. After dying, the soul can improve or worsen its kind according to ______________________. It must live again
in the highest kind of person for going back again to the ______________________. The latter can only be
accomplished by having a balanced life guided by _________________ in absolute control of
"Everything Beth does comes from within. From some dark
impulse. I guess that's what makes her so thrilling to watch. So
dangerous. Even perfect at times, but also so damn destructive.“
Thomas: The truth is when I look at you all I see is the white swan.
Yes you're beautiful, fearful, and fragile. Ideal casting. But the
black swan? It's a hard fucking job to dance both.
Nina: I can dance the black swan, too.
Thomas: Really? In four years every time you dance I see you
obsessed getting each and every move perfectly right but I never
see you lose yourself. Ever! All that discipline for what?
Nina: [whispers] I just want to be perfect.
Thomas: What?
Nina: I want to be perfect.
Thomas: Perfection is not just about control. It's also about letting
go. Surprise yourself so you can surprise the audience.
Transcendence! Very few have it in them.
Who could be those very few? Why not
everyone? What does the path to seek
perfection imply that makes it so hard and