Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Elliptical fantasies

Sometimes I find myself getting my existential fear on about the fragility of consciousness.
That our identity, the very essence of our being, is tied up in memory and inextricably linked to our spongey brains.

You don't need to look far for evidence of how easy it is to alter consciousness - any number of drugs including the over-the-counter caffeine and alcohol, along with the cheap and easy option of sleep deprivation, all provide a skewed perception of the world, and therefore change the nature of our interaction with it.

The way we process information and choose to react to it also contribute to our perception of reality - is it a world to be embraced? To be feared? Is it mundane and lifeless or are there sparks around every corner?
Essentially you can boil it down to the hoary old nature/nurture debate when considering what most influences our own dealings with external reality, but it is undeniable that nature - in the form of altered brain chemistry be it with coffee, LSD or a smack in the head - provides a significant potential for perceptual changes.

Today I find myself skirting around pools of this fear thanks to my current psychological instability, brought on mainly via sleep deprivation and the resultant ingestion of caffeine. A wooziness in my world that isn't always there, strange thought processes that I can't seem to finish. I keep waking up in the middle of the night seemingly in the middle of some complicated challenge; I think on Sunday night it had something to do with plastic cards...

In addition to my abnormal mental state is the heightened awareness of the issues - watching A Scanner Darkly was an adequate kick-start, but then last night I went to see Mind Game, a recent Japanese Animated film (and thus extending my Animated Weekend). The plot, such as it is, sees four protagonists stuck in a whale but is relatively unimportant.
It is about ambition and possibilities, about creativity and invention. A breakneck ride that reminded me of the hysterically fast-paced anime Dead Leaves, though with less scatalogical humour and far more ingenuity.
A burst of art styles, it's hard to pin down and certainly doesn't conform to any traditional narrative structures, it's hard to explain and in this state I'm not going to attempt to.

Still, this morning I went to see Thunderball, which reminded me of how charismatic Connery can be. An altogether different sort of film and signifying the end of the current animated cycle, I wonder if this and the possibility of catching up on a bit of sleep will bring me back to more normal perception?

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