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Friday, July 11, 2014

Bruno Bettelheim

Much of what Mr. Bettelheim wrote is ignored these days. However, he provided a brilliant peek into the ways and uses of symbols:

Bettelheim analyzed fairy tales in terms of Freudian psychology in The Uses of Enchantment (1976). He discussed the emotional and symbolic importance of fairy tales for children, including traditional tales at one time considered too dark, such as those collected and published by the Brothers Grimm. Bettelheim suggested that traditional fairy tales, with the darkness of abandonment, death, witches, and injuries, allowed children to grapple with their fears in remote, symbolic terms.
Wikipedia; Bettelheim

Symbols are a masterful tool, allowing us to understand that which is beyond our senses, and to experience that which is beyond our abilities, and to feel that which is beyond or forbidding to our emotions.

In a very real sense, symbols are the most benevolent Chauncey Gardiner, who "likes to watch" that from which he is removed by the very nature of things. When we watched Chance Gardiner in the film  Being There, did we understand anything that was normally forbidden to our understanding by the powers of social life?


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