Friday, 13 January 2012

Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz

Episode 7

But we have more to say of the living vesicle with its receptive cortical layer. This little fragment of living substance is suspended in the middle of an external world charged with the most powerful energies; and it would be killed by the stimulation emanating from these if it were not povided with a protective shield against stimuli. It acquires the shield in this way: its outermost surface ceases to have the structure proper to living matter, becomes to some degree inorganic and thenceforward functions  as a special envelope or membrane resistant to stimuli. In consequence, the energies of the external world are able to pass into the next underlying layers, which have remained living, with only a fragment of their original intensity; and these layers can devote themselves, behind protective shield, to the reception of the amounts of stimulus which have been allowed through it. By its death, the outer layer has saved all the deeper ones from a similar fate  unless, that is to say, stimuli reach it which are so strong that they break through the protective shield.
Beyond The Pleasure Principle

Franz is staying at a wellwisher’s apartment following the attempted murder against him by Reinhold. Pums' syndicate send Bruno to pay Franz off but Franz thinks it is another assassination attempt and faints. 
He wakes understanding that something within him has broken, something has got through to the heart of him. He is sitting fearfully in the apartment. He is paralysed by fear. The clock is ticking. 
Franz: And I dont want to and I dont want to... and I dont want to die.
He stops the clocks pendulum.
Narrator: Sheer anxiety drives him from his bed. He cant just lie there. Even if it means dying in the street, he has to leave his bed. He has to go out. The cobra ... Look: it creeps; it scuffles. It is injured... It is still the same old cobra, even if there are black rings around its eyes.
Franz stares into space, he passes listlessly from one room to another. 
Narrator: Some things are clearer to the old boy now, who drags himself through the streets, so as not to die in his lodgings. Some things are clearer to him now as he runs away from death. He’s learned something from life after all.
Franz walks to the front door and retreats from it. He pulls the toilet chain. 
Narrator: Yes my boy, you dont walk so sure-footed anymore. Now you have to clutch at something, hold on tight, with all the teeth and fingers youve got, hanging on for dear life so as not to be thrown off.
Franz puts on his hat, opens the front door and steps out of the apartment

Each of us must live with what is most unbearable moving intimately within our lives. Often, we are able to ignore that which is beyond our endurance and which, moment by moment, creeps across the line of our tolerance of. We do not register consciously that which moves to erase us from the world. Our ignorance allows us to live as if we were really out of its shadow. 

We are shielded from the world’s hostility to us by the formation of a self which includes within its formation everything that is intolerable in a manageable form.

The self is solidified from out of the stuff that threatens it. 

The insurmountable and unappeasable is written into us. External hostile forces become the internalised purpose of our lives. These forces describe the outline of who we are, in narrative, in desire, in gesture, in speech. 

Biberkopf moves about as if in a labyrinthine apartment. He is unaware that his movements are channelled, and his options narrowed, by the threats to his coherence which he both embodies but cannot register. 

This passing from conscious thought of what we cannot deal with, what we cannot cope with, what we cannot overcome, is a constant of our existence... we are protected from knowing of that which would destroy us in the very structuring of our not knowing of it. The self is predicated on the principle: what it does not know, will not harm it. 

There are singular moments though where the self is confronted with the limits of its structuring. In a state of shock its defensive capacity against over-stimulation is disabled, and it becomes flooded by information which is beyond its capacity for processing. 
Protection against stimuli is an almost more important function for the living organism that reception of stimuli.
Beyond The Pleasure Principle

Psychological flooding manifests in the form of a person, or event, which arrives from outside of usual experience. Following a brief suspension of its operations, the inundated self raises its tolerance threshold to include that which disrupted it from the outside as a component of its internal structure. Capitalised existence is thus defined as the perpetual reconfiguration of the pre-experiential self by processing a constant rate of manufactured shocks. 

However, upon certain occasions, the self is so overwhelmed by external forces that it irrevocably breaks down. Overwhelming shocks occur at that juncture where the self registers that it has hitherto been living a lie. It fails to incorporate the world and, on the contrary, relinquishes itself to incorporation by the world.
But the poor boy, beside himself, made his way screaming through the  crowd to the sorrel nag, put his arms round her bleeding dead head and kissed it, kissed the eyes and kissed the lips.... Then he jumped up and flew in a frenzy with his little fists out at Mikolka. At that instant his father who had been running after him, snatched him up and carried him out of the crowd.  "Come along, come! Let us go home," he said to him. "Father! Why did they... kill... the poor horse!" he sobbed, but his voice broke and the words came in shrieks from his panting chest. "They are drunk.... They are brutal... it's not our business!"  said his father. He put his arms round his father but he felt  choked, choked. He tried to draw a breath, to cry out- and woke up.
Crime and Punishment