Society In Microcosm

After reading the novel and watching the film of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” I realized how much this story tells us about ourselves and our society.

For those who haven’t been exposed to the story, here’s a short summary:

Randle McMurphy gets admitted to the hospital/asylum, pretending to be insane to get out of the prison work farm punishment for rape.

The other main character is a half Indian named Chief Bromden, an inmate who pretends to be deaf and dumb so no one will bother him. He is a mountain of a man, 6 feet, 8 inches tall.

McMurphy is a larger than life character who stirs up the inmates so as to challenge the head nurse Ratched’s authority. He does this by upsetting the routine that the nurse enforces. Nurse Ratched takes away the men’s individuality and will by her strict rules. She punishes them by electro shock treatment and lobotomy.

In the end, McMurphy gets so aggravated with Ratched’s controlling tactics, that he starts choking her. For this he is sent for a lobotomy and returns as a vegtable. The Chief, who McMurphy has instilled with self-confidence, smothers him to death, knowing he wouldn’t want to be a prisoner in his body. Then the Chief escapes out into the world.

***

The conflict between the authoritarian nurse and the free spirit McMurphy, investigates the theme of individuality and rebellion against conformity.

McMurphy symbolizes individuality, free expression and self-determination. These attributes are everything an oppressive society wants to stifle. McMurphy wants to bring individuality and self-worth to the other inmates. In the case of Chiet Bromden and a few others, he succeeds.

Throughout the story, you wonder if McMurphy is really insane or is he completely sane and just has a problem with authority. The hospital has complete control through nurse Ratched just like society has social control over the people.

What is the difference between sanity and insanity?

Sanity is about being aware of yourself, your surroundings and circumstances and coping with reality.

Insanity is the distorting of reality and being out of touch with reality.

There is a gray area in between these extremes, it’s called, “losing the plot.” This means losing one’s ability to cope and understand what’s happening.

The risk-taking, self-reliant individual was once celebrated, not now, society keeps individualism down. The government and society (the hospital in the film) wants to exercise willpower on our behalf and make choices for us. Horrors!

The individual according to Sartre and Nietzsche, has to create their own values and meaning in life, rather than rely on external socially imposed codes.

But, in the end, we have to obey the rules of society to maintain some order.

So, society restricts individual actions and choices because it believes the individual will make the wrong choice, for themselves, for others, or both!

So, the hospital/asylum is society in microcosm. The inmates represent the problems of coping with the pressures that society puts on them to conform to the “norm.”

Some inmates are definitely not crazy, they are just having difficulty coping with society’s pressures!

There is a lot of existentialism in the story. This is the philosophy that says individual existence, freedom of choice is mandatory. Humans should define their own meaning in life and make rational decisions despite living in an absurd world.

McMurphy shows the inmates that living an authentic life is more important than being accepted by society. He teaches them that their lives are in their control, not society’s.

Nurse Ratched symbolizes the methodical, oppressive, and indifferent nature of modern society.

McMurphy represents individualism.

The inmates represent the majority of people that conform to society and it’s “normal” rules.

McMurphy tries to teach the men to live an authentic life, which is wearing no masks and being true to yourself. You make choices and you take responsibility for them. He tells them to have courage and challenge society(nurse Ratched). He makes the men feel unique and important.

Chief Bromden pretended to be deaf and dumb because society acted that way toward him.

Authentic living is the essence of life and if you are forced to conform entirely, than authentic living is impossible and life isn’t worth living.

So, to sum up existentialism: Be an individual and think for yourself. Society wants to guide you through life, the “must” follow path, but your life will only be meaningful if you strive to create your own meaning in life.

I will conclude this article by a comparison of the book to the movie.

It’s all down to character and mood development. Here the book and the movie differ.

The book gives you more feeling and moods than the film because of deeper character development in the novel.

When a movie is made from a book, the makers have to please the audience’s need for fast pace. What gets lost can sometimes be the real deep meaning behind the story.

So, as far as “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is concerned, the film is good but the book is excellent!

 

Unstable Personality–An Internal Dialogue

“I think I have an unstable, inconsistent personality.”

“What do you mean? How unstable and inconsistent?

“Well, many times I have doubts about whether or not I’ve made the right decision or done the right thing. Also, at times I’m sociable and other times I’m hard work or I like to keep to myself. I have a weak ego. I feel different from everybody and sort of inferior”

“Why do you feel that way?”

“Because I feel off balance and awkward in my relationships with other people.”

“What do you think causes this?”

“I don’t know. All I do know is that I feel like a NON-PERSON!”

“Wow! That’s quite a powerful statement.”

“Yes, it is. I feel like I’m invisible, non-existent.”

“Lets see just what makes a PERSON. What are the ingredients?

Brain, mind, emotions, perceptions, dreams, fears and personality.

Now, what is the purpose, the function of a PERSON?

It’s to perpetuate the “HOW” of life.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s the behavior and mental processes of being alive, staying alive and perpetuating life.”

“So, we’ve got the ingredients and function of a PERSON, now what?”

“Now, we need a PARTS list. Body, mind personality, social skills, the ability to learn lessons from the environment, the ability to grow and develop and finally the ability to cope with change and stress.”

“Holy Cow! This is like assembling a flat-pack from Ikea!”

“Well, now you can see you ARE a person, you have the ingredients and the parts.

You should now feel you are a unique being capable of meeting people on an equal footing”

“Now, how can we strengthen a weak ego? Usually ego is equated with one’s sense of self-importance.”

“I don’t feel very important.”

“The trouble with ego built on self-importance is if you lose that importance you collapse like a house of cards.”

“What then?”

“You need self-worth, which is built day by day. You have goals and when you achieve them, you feel good about yourself. But even if your goals fall through, you still have a good feeling about yourself.”

“Hold on, I get it! I must choose to like myself no matter what. Self-worth is the answer.”

“Right on! Now lets have a little fun. Ever heard of Rorschach Ink Blot tests?”

“Vaguely.”

“I’m going to drop a large blob of ink on the middle of this piece of paper and then fold it in half. When you look at the resultant pattern tell me your immediate thoughts, feelings and desires. This will help you understand your personality.

I will now unfold the paper. What do you see?”

“It looks like two clowns facing each other. It’s scary! What does it mean?”

“Well, you said you had trouble socializing, so this tells you that you have trouble relating to people.”

“What! But you told me that problem was solved!”

“Internal Dialogue Terminated!!!”

Writer Dave’s New Novel

Available on Amazon in ebook and paperback.

“THE BECOMING”

Dave Winston lived and loved. He didn’t want much from life. Tormented by the hostile world he found himself in, he did not see what he was becoming. Living with a painful affliction and a lifetime of depression, paranoia and mood swings, Dave tries to overcome his demons and the frightening situations he finds himself in.

 

Dealing with a world that conspires in his misfortune, Dave searches for that measure of peace we all seek but seldom find. Sometimes what you become, at different stages of your life, is NOT what you wanted!

Three Aspects of Web of Guilt, A Chicago Story by David Wise

Available on Amazon Kindle

THE PSYCHOGICAL ASPECT- Web of Guilt, A Chicago Story, is a story about “GUILT” and it’s corrosive effect it has on people. It can also be used to motivate people to do good or bad things. The three characters, Carl, Beth, and John, all get corroded and motivated when trying to exonerate themselves from this emotion.

THE CHICAGO ASPECT- Web of Guilt, A Chicago Story, is built around Chicago landmarks and events. Chicago, the city, becomes very real to readers, even if they have never been there! Chicago can be an exciting and grim place.

THE CRIME ASPECT- Web of Guilt, A Chicago Story, is about crime and how the Chicago gangster, Tony Romato, tangles with the three characters in a web of guilt.

ALL THREE ASPECTS- combine to make Web of Guilt, A Chicago Story, a terrifying journey in the city of Chicago, where ordinary people mix with gangsters and struggle to free themselves from the devastating emotion of guilt.

THE AUTHOR- David Wise is a Northamptonshire writer, who has been living in England for over 25 years. He was born and bred in Chicago. He calls himself an Anglo-American.

OTHER BOOKS BY DAVID WISE:

24 Traumatic Hours, Twice!

The Becoming

All available on Amazon in ebook and paperback

“The Becoming” by David Wise

My new book, “The Becoming” is due out early in 2015.

A story of a man creating himself through a lifetime of confronting his demons

and frightening situations.

Sometimes what you become, at different stages of your life, isn’t what you

wanted.

Think about your OWN “becoming” experience.

It might NOT have always been a happy one.

How did you evolve through the years?

Self-Publishing Is Great!

I  HAVE  TWO  EBOOKS  AND  ONE  PAPERBACK  FOR  SALE  ON  AMAZON.

I  AM  WORKING  ON  MY  THIRD  NOVEL  AT  PRESENT.

WRITING  IS  A  SATISFYING  CREATIVE  HOBBY  OF  MINE.

NOW,  ANYBODY  CAN  PUBLISH  THEIR  WRITING IN  THE  SELF-PUBLISHING  WORLD.

NO  AGENTS  OR  PUBLISHERS  TO  VET  YOU!

HOLDING  A  BOOK  IN  YOUR  HANDS  THAT  HAS  YOUR  NAME  ON  THE  COVER  OR  LOOKING  AT  YOUR  TITLE  LISTED  ONLINE,  IS  A  WONDERFUL  FEELING.

AND  IT’S  GREAT  TO  EVEN  SELL  SOME  BOOKS  AND  GET  READ!

WHEN  YOU  WRITE  A  BOOK,  YOU  GIVE  IT  YOUR  BEST  SHOT  SO  YOUR  NOVEL  HAS  THE  BEST  CHANCE  OF  FLOATING  IN  THOSE  SHARK-INFESTED  WATERS!

SO,  IF  YOU  WANT A GOOD EXCITING  READ,  BUY:

“WEB  OF  GUILT,  A  CHICAGO  STORY”,  AN  EBOOK.

OR  “24  TRAUMATIC  HOURS,  TWICE!”  AN  EBOOK  AND  IN  PAPERBACK.

 

IT’S REMARKABLE!

My second book:

“24 Traumatic Hours, Twice!” which is in paperback and on

the Kindle platform, is selling better as a paperback than as an

ebook, so far.

It’s worthy of attention that many people still like their books in

paper print so they can hold them and turn the pages physically.

But it’s great to be READ no matter whether it’s electronically or

in paperback.

Life Begins At Seventy!

So, you’re 70! I’ll open with a few laughs:

You now can look forward to being Eighty!

Be happy, you’re younger than Joan Collins and Clint Eastwood!

If your laughter lines are anything to go by, you’ve had a fabulous fun-filled life!

***

At this time of life, Death doesn’t scare you!

Because after 70 you’ve had time to grow accustomed to your mortality.

 

Of course, old age is accompanied by aches and pains and lack of mobility.

But you are more content now than when you were younger.

Remember what Bette Davis said:

“Old age is no place for sissies!”

 

We are fortunate that we have the internet, it enables the shops to come to us and we order online.

Email, Facebook, Twitter and Blogging enable us to join the conversation of the world.

 

I can still get about or should I say LIMP about!

 

I’m fortunate I am a writer. You can still write whatever age you are.

 

Of course we fear dementia and Alzheimer’s. An early symptom is the loss of smell-so I keep sniffing-so far, so good.

 

We know the quality of life begins to fall for people in their 70’s, but as long as you have your marbles-you cope.

 

When you’re in your eighth decade, inhibition diminishes, you realize you’re not going to live forever!

A new fearlessness dawns and you fully enjoy your moments and you’re not afraid to speak your mind.

 

Our only fears are the possibility of a long and painful illness and the fear of being a burden on anybody.

So you hope to keep a semblance of health until the end.

 

A friend of mine, at 75, summed it all up. He said:

“I’ve tried to be all I can be…

I’ve accomplished as much as I can…

I find that I like me better now than I did when I was younger…

I am proud of what I am today…

My life is drawing to a close and I can honestly say I am happy…

What more could anyone ask for?”

 

If the biblical “Three Score and Ten” is to be believed, then everyone over 70 is living on borrowed time.

So, Enjoy Everyday!

Life Is Beginning!