Saturday, November 24, 2012

RE: "The Cost of Justice: The Psychology of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Part 1" (Psychology Today article)

This film is so often associated with women's rights issues, but I think it's so much bigger than that. I have personally been able to identify with the title character more than I do with most movies I see. I can't say I've ever felt sexually victimized (not directly, anyway) ... I also can't say I'm a woman - and yet in the scene they reference here from the film, I was practically cheering along during the scene where Lisbeth avenges the rapist. So why is that?

It must be fundamentally the same experience -- the sense of (near-absolute) powerlessness with which we both have become far too familiar -- that has made her character so profoundly relatable for me.

The Cost of Justice: The Psychology of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Part 1 | Psychology Today

When we speak of powerlessness, we have to first identify "power." I tend to perceive power in terms of impact (my go-to is quantifiable terms; so maybe that's just me.) Physics equations aside, impact here might be descriptive, a "how" or "what"; or it may in itself be a value measure, a "how much", "how big", "how many", "to what extent", etc.
(The irony of the ostensible parallel between the last sentence, and the notion of a "vector" vs. a "scalar" quantity in physics and other such disciplines, is duly noted.) ;-)

Impact in this context is of a social persuasion. Descriptively, social impact might be seen in its effect on people. Purely quantitatively ("prescriptively"?) it might be a matter of scale of a population. Combining the two, we might find the extent of the effect on people ("how much is it influencing others"/"to what extent were people moved by it?")

This might be because, as I understand "the human condition" and all that fun stuff, our entire species thrives on social prosperity, (inter)connection, and cooperation. (To refute much/most/all of this would require an inordinate and unreasonable deal of refutation, as we would have to explain away things like "friendship", telephones, the internet, why 99.9% of us are weirded out by necrophiliacs...or perhaps just the idea of "necrophilia", because, hate the game, not the player, and all that. ;-) ) For instance, it kind of irritates me that "necrophilia" and "necrophiliac" both are, evidently, "officially" acceptable words in the English language. This is probably because "weirded" (as with much terminology that is deemed "colloquial"), is, evidently, not also an "officially acceptable word in the English language." What is official, it seems, tends to be formal; what is unofficial is usually considered "informal", or "colloquial." And further, what is informal or colloquial, is usually dismissed as unfounded, based on ignorance, perhaps even immature--and subsequently, less "valid."

To say this might present a problem in family dynamics with respect to children/upbringing, would be a vast understatement.

In effect, one must learn to work within a system in order to truly work against or above it.

If you find yourself, however, in a system wherein you recurrently are in situations that have you thinking, "holy shit, society's been fucking me up! TIME TO FUCK SOME SHIT UP!!" --what, then?

Well, fundamentally, you're quite possibly in a last-resort scenario. "Fight-to-the-death", in other words. "Either I stab your back, or you stab mine."

The dark nature of much of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo lies in the fact that there is a zero-sum survival component inherent in a last-resort, duel-type battle like this. (That's probably why duels are kind of outlawed now. Although that's a whole other issue of "over-formalizing", given that we are all still intrinsically built to duel in a Final Death Round, if our life could be saved by it.)

Justice is always going to have a "cost", because its nature is one of reciprocity. It may look "costly", certainly, when it becomes a battle to the death--although, it is costly descriptively; that is, only insofar as we (humanity) deem each individual life to be valuable.

The cost-benefit balance here, as far as Lisbeth can see, is quite possibly "rape or get raped." (Or, in more abstract terms, "screw over, or be screwed over.") Seemingly, it would make sense that if one had been screwed over countless times in their (relatively short) lifetime, to such an extent that they've ended up homeless, jobless, penniless, perhaps without food or clothing, declared legally insane, possibly repeatedly abused in any way (physical, sexual, emotional, and so on)--and by extension of all of the above, had to fight to survive in spite of all this--the best decision may very well have been a "two wrongs make a right" one. Because as far as she was concerned, the "wrongs" were many, far more than two-- the "right" though, was her own life and dignity.
(Obviously, anyone can use this premise to justify being a "two wrongs make a right" maniac; I'm not saying this in itself is justified, rather that if your life depends on it...whatever "it" may be, it is justified, by definition.)

Personally, I've never gotten that far to the extreme end of "survivalist" lifestyle and mentality, but I've gotten close enough to have at least many aspects of the latter. The "aspects" here refer to mainly an over(t)ly defensive, vengeful, short-fused, brooding mindset, at least sufficient for me to be secretly "applauding" the life-death, "costly" course of action in question.

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