Psycho and the the uncanny doppelgänger

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Steve3007
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Psycho and the the uncanny doppelgänger

Post by Steve3007 » October 11th, 2020, 7:21 am

It's been 60 years since the first release of the movie Psycho. I watched it again recently (as well as watching the weird scene-by-scene-almost-identical remake). It's been suggested that the two main characters in the movie (Marion and Norman) are mirrors of each other - that they are what Freud called uncanny doppelgängers. Perhaps the colour remake was supposed to be the uncanny doppelgänger of the original!

There is a lot to unpack, in relation to this idea, in the cinematography of Psycho, but is there anything philosophically interesting in this concept of the uncanny doppelgänger? Is there something in human psychology that sees this concept in a wide variety of concepts, from heaven and hell to matter and antimatter?

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Re: Psycho and the the uncanny doppelgänger

Post by Sculptor1 » October 11th, 2020, 5:37 pm

I'm sure if Hitchcock wanted to play with a Freudian idea then we would have heard about it.
What did he say about it?

You have to different things. The idea of the double and the idea of the uncanny.
They are not the same, nor do they seem to apply to Psycho. Since Bates and Crane are clearly opposites.
Bates stuck at home, male, neurotic, psychotic, cross dressing, and if you want to bring Freud in, the oedipus complex might be a better fit.

Crane is breaking out, on the run, adventurous, female, sef assured.

Screwed up dopplegangers don't f*ck their counterpart with a knife. This is all about surpressed sexuality.

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Arjen
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Re: Psycho and the the uncanny doppelgänger

Post by Arjen » October 12th, 2020, 3:01 am

@Sculptor1 In many of Hitchkock's movies there are elements of Freud's work present. It is a known fact. That is actually what makes them so disturbing.

@Steve3007
1) Well, the uncanny and the canny are a divide, which is actually about the same thing. The canny being the known part of oneself and the uncanny being the unknown part of oneself. Freud is ofcourse famous for his distinction into Ego, Superego and It (Self). So, the It is the known part and the unknown part is (a part of the It). The reason a part is not known in the ego, is because the super-ego makes a person want to believe good things about him- or herself. In order to explain for this lack in the image as compared to the real occurrences, because somebody must have done those things and that person apparently looks like me (ego), but I refuse to be like that (denial), a doppelganger is invented in the mind, to keep the ego closer to the super ego. In order to prevent a collapse of the psyche.

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If you need a further explanation of the terms or Freud's theories, just ask. Below I will continue into Lacan and the greater concept that you are looking for. If you need more information on those terms, just ask.
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2) As a rule, every person has, what Lacan calls a 'discourse' (=conversation) in the mind. This does not literally mean a conversation with oneself. However, every person responds to the people around. We dress in a way that we think others like, reconsider our opinions based on what we are receiving compliments or criticism on, etc. This is why Lacan calls this the discourse de l'autre (conversation with the other). The reality is that this is not a 'conversation' with a real other person. It is a conversation with ourselves, concerning what we think others say. So, there is a real other person, but the other that we are referring to is actually part of our own self. (quite Kantian in nature, actually). The same thing applies to ourselves. There is a real self and an image of what we think of ourselves.

So, the doppelganger is, in that sense, the fictional image of the other in our mind, while actually being part of ourselves that we can't accept (yet).

In a larger perspective, everything that is analysed can (or does) have these 3 sides:
- The actual thing that we are observing (noumenon, to speak in Kantian terms).
- The perspective that we know and accept concerning that (phenomenon, to speak in Kantian terms.).
- The perspective others (might) have and that we do not know or accept yet (other phenomena, to speak in Kantian terms).
Only when some the the other perspectives are also present in the same person, but are judged untrue or not accepted yet, so this can be a shadow, a doppelganger, or uncanny. It all refers to the same principle: the refutation of a perspective that entered into the mind and is actually true.

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Untrue perspectives that a different particular place, but can be made to take the same place and completely alter the internal dynamics of an individual.... but therapy, will full corruption...but let's leave that out of this discussion. I hope that I was able to shed some light on this for you.
Just ask if more information is needed.
The saying that what is true in theory is not always true in practice, means that the theory is wrong!
~Immanuel Kant

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Re: Psycho and the the uncanny doppelgänger

Post by Sculptor1 » October 12th, 2020, 6:21 am

Arjen wrote:
October 12th, 2020, 3:01 am
@Sculptor1 In many of Hitchkock's movies there are elements of Freud's work present. It is a known fact. That is actually what makes them so disturbing.
Does not mean that Hitchcock intended these elements - which do not seem to be present in this case.

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Re: Psycho and the the uncanny doppelgänger

Post by Arjen » October 12th, 2020, 7:53 am

He did, it is well known. In fact, Zizek writes about it in "how to read Lacan", but if you want, you can find it here:
https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... nconscious
There are actually many sources.
The saying that what is true in theory is not always true in practice, means that the theory is wrong!
~Immanuel Kant

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Re: Psycho and the the uncanny doppelgänger

Post by Steve3007 » October 12th, 2020, 8:22 am

The argument that Norman is the uncanny doppelgänger of Marion is made very compellingly and interestingly, I think, in this short analysis:
Like most people (I suspect) I've seen this film numerous times before over the years and can't remember what it was like to see it for the first time, not knowing the plot in advance. But I don't think I'd noticed previously the obviousness of the parallels that Hitchcock creates, in his direction, between those two main characters. In particular, there's the parallel between the two "inner voice" scenes (Marion in the car and Norman at the end) in which they both hear the imagined voice of sexualized parental authority and they both do that smile into the camera when they think of how they've successfully deceived people (in Norman's case, thinking of that via the mother's personality). The composition of the scene in the cell at the end, with Norman to one side and a blank white wall to the right, also mirrors the shower scene.

Ever since the 1998 remake came out I'd been puzzled at the pointlessness of that exercise. Perhaps the makers of the remake really were having a joke with us in making a double of the original - almost identical yet completely lacking the magic of the original. A hideous, uncanny double.

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Re: Psycho and the the uncanny doppelgänger

Post by Arjen » October 12th, 2020, 8:52 am

The remakes are often like that. Th more intricate what we read, the more intricate the propaganda has to be. If we are never intellectually challenged, we would have a much harder time seeing through the cracks, so to speak.
[/paranoia] :lol:


Also: I remember seeing it for the first time, I did catch on to a link between the two, but not to the deeper meaning. Although I think there is a moment when someone talks to Marion about the mother. It might have been Norman, talking to himself about the mother, sort of. Or my memory is just wrong. :lol:
The saying that what is true in theory is not always true in practice, means that the theory is wrong!
~Immanuel Kant

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Re: Psycho and the the uncanny doppelgänger

Post by Steve3007 » October 12th, 2020, 9:19 am

Arjen wrote:Although I think there is a moment when someone talks to Marion about the mother. It might have been Norman, talking to himself about the mother, sort of.
You may be thinking of the pivotal scene in the parlor when Norman gives Marion a meal of sandwiches (mirroring the sandwiches at the very start of the film) and he talks to her about his mother and living in a trap or a cage. This is where we're shown what they have in common and it's part of what persuades Marion to go home, return the money and try to get back to the "light side", so to speak.

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Re: Psycho and the the uncanny doppelgänger

Post by Arjen » October 12th, 2020, 9:24 am

It might be. Perhaps I should arrange for some snacks and drink for a saturday night after my son is asleep to check it out again.
:)
The saying that what is true in theory is not always true in practice, means that the theory is wrong!
~Immanuel Kant

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Re: Psycho and the the uncanny doppelgänger

Post by Steve3007 » October 12th, 2020, 9:25 am

I recommend it!

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Re: Psycho and the the uncanny doppelgänger

Post by Arjen » October 12th, 2020, 9:40 am

If you are interested, I can recommend Lacan and Zizek. They rely heavily on Freud. It is also very Kantian, if you are versed in it.
The saying that what is true in theory is not always true in practice, means that the theory is wrong!
~Immanuel Kant

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Re: Psycho and the the uncanny doppelgänger

Post by Steve3007 » October 12th, 2020, 9:50 am

Thanks.

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Re: Psycho and the the uncanny doppelgänger

Post by Arjen » October 12th, 2020, 11:21 am

"How to read lacan" by Zizek is great, actually.
The saying that what is true in theory is not always true in practice, means that the theory is wrong!
~Immanuel Kant

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Re: Psycho and the the uncanny doppelgänger

Post by Sculptor1 » October 16th, 2020, 5:27 am

Steve3007 wrote:
October 12th, 2020, 8:22 am
This is a classic bit of overthinking.
It all assumes that Psycho is the work of one mind and one set of intentions, which it clearly is not.
Were Hitchcock to have written the book, the screenplay and directed the film you could possibly accept this analysis. However, all three rolls are taken by three DIFFERENT people. You might be able to glean some analysis from comparing differences, and changes. But this Vid takes no account of three minds at work.

What you actually have hear is a collection of psychobabble suggested by Zizeck and then embellished by whoever wrote the script for the video. I have a lot or resepct for Zizeck but the mobius strip idea is his, not Hitchcock's.

I also think the basement, groundfloor and first floor analogy with the ego, superego and ID, it pure fiction. What happens in these three places simply has no parallels with Freudian theory. It's fudge desigend to make the rest of the analysis seem more Freudian.

And if the mirror thing is a sign, why not put both Marion and Norman in the mirror. The mirror in my view is a simple device to double Marion's presence, since a fugitive needs to hide, this makes her more vulnerable.

Hitchock was a master and there is inevitably a host of stuff written about Psycho since it was a ground-breaking shocker. But without Hitcock to comment, it is all just hot air.

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Re: Psycho and the the uncanny doppelgänger

Post by Arjen » October 16th, 2020, 7:41 am

Arjen wrote:
October 12th, 2020, 7:53 am
He did, it is well known. In fact, Zizek writes about it in "how to read Lacan", but if you want, you can find it here:
https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... nconscious
There are actually many sources.
Which makes your comment none sense.
The saying that what is true in theory is not always true in practice, means that the theory is wrong!
~Immanuel Kant

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