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What’s in your salad? December 21, 2010

Posted by janehaynes in : Atomies of love, Becoming... , 2comments

 

Copyright 2010 Cornelia Hartman

We didn’t make it to Paris so we are going to be eating salad instead. I adore this image which a client – who comes for professional development gave me permission to display – and has just sent to me as a metaphor for the conversations we have continued to have together for rather a long time. I also love Shakespeare’s metaphor about emotions being like a salad but I am not referring to Cleopatra’s ‘salad days’, I’m sure there was something more subtle about emotional combinations somewhere in A and C. I’ll have to keep on thinking and finding.  If I’m really stuck I can check out with Greg Hicks who has currently opened in the RSC season, which has transferred to the The Round House, in advance of going to New York, where he will be playing in ‘Lear’. His is a great and thoughtful Lear, it may not have the age of  the other current Lear but it does have great complexity and trickery. All traces of the mannerist Greg have been pared away, and who speaks better Shakespeare?  He is also the Soothsayer in Antony, and I had quite forgot, until I saw an excellent review in the papers today, that he has just opened in ‘The Winter’s Tale’ as Leontes. What a fistful, if not a salad bowl of emotions to juggle there. Surely, Leontes’ flayed and phantom immersions into those green eyed monsters of jealousy must have prodded at Proust in his immortal autopsy of what is possibly the most primal, when additionally linked not only with bodies but with territories, animal emotion.

The queues outside of St. Pancras Station looked as though they were for the ‘last train’. Undiluted chaos. At first I thought the people were queuing to see an exhibit at the British Library, at least two blocks away from the station, until I noticed that they were all carrying suitcases.

I know this won’t be popular but at the moment I’m finding Dorothea, who hasn’t yet departed for Rome, irritating and my sympathies are with Celia’s intuitive intelligence. I have also been castigated by ‘Prof’ for finding Norpois boring, and not understanding what Proust was doing. But, even though I knew that he was mimicking a salon style of parrot gratuity, and even though I think I knew that to some degree there was a conscious mimesis of Proust’s own syntax, taking place, I failed to ‘laugh out aloud’. Still, on the next reading I promise that I shall try to read more acutely.

I am also struck, watching my grandchildren’s turbulent and exquisitely painful experiences of ‘first love’ along with the liberties of adolescence, by what a terrifying business this encyclopedia of love is. What tremors, what annihilations, what sobbings of self do any other experience, except the challenge of death, throw into the insomnium of night. Or, is it all no more than ‘romance’: ” My lords if you would hear a high tale of  love and death…’?

My daughter tells me that I am naive; that it is because she understood all these scarred, or do I mean sacred, woundings of adolescent love, self-harming, body piercing and possession that she originally determined as a therapist, also to work with adolescence. Yes, love speaks with a warlike language, and all along the way, it twists, if not strangulates from desire to death, with passion. The God of Love is a blind archer, a magician of  projections, who only ever shoots fatal arrows, and his rites de passage seems to agony between one besieging and another.

Now that I cannot people watch in Paris, I don’t have any excuse not to meet the challenge of the contorted thoughts, digressions and arrogance of Denis de Rougement’s,’Love in the Western World’, whenever Dorothea exasperates me, and once I’ve found that Shakespearian metaphor of emotion…I’ve checked with the Concordance and it doesn’t exist. Must be another bard. I do like this:

‘Indeed, sir, she was the sweet marjoram of the salad, or rather, the herb of grace.’ Clown

Dan and Rose June 2010

Proust, Middlemarch and Mash December 19, 2010

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I’ve now spent two days reclining rather than declining on my bed, watching the snow fall and reading or re-reading ‘Middlemarch’. And worrying.
I worry about the birds, and the fact that I’ve recently learnt that they require fresh water to keep their plumage warm in this big freeze. I worry about my ferruginous dog Lucy and that at nine she is growing old and is troubled by low frequency sounds that are undetectable to me, which means that now she not only has a fly phobia but a DVD watching phobia. Rather, she starts to tremble whenever we turn our plasma on. I worry that I don’t have enough time to write this blog. I worry that the book that I am trying to co-author is not yet a book although I know it could be one. One of the things that I have discovered in researching for this book, which is an autopsy on doctors, or on one exceptionally distinguished one: ‘First Do No Harm: inside of the doctor’s head’ is that doctors are just as frightened of illness as me, and that most of them try to avoid, at almost any price, going to their doctor and all requests for testing, scanning, blood-letting and scoping. I worried, until I started writing this blog that I would never write another word.
I have reluctantly got up for meals and felt obliged – now that my rigorous work time table has stopped until January – to stay on after eating and sort the kitchen out, which is no easy task as my husband, John consults a variety of cookery books before he agrees to mash the potatoes. Not because he doesn’t know how to mash them, but because he still wants to uncover the very best combination. This combining also requires that he use every cooking utensil that we possess. At the moment he seems to move between Nigella’s practical and democratic ‘Kitchen’, where all the dishes work and ‘The Complete Robuchon’. How complete do you have to be to mash potatoes, and how many pots are necessary, and how many Michelin stars do you have to win, I sigh as it takes me much, much longer to clean up the dishes than to eat my delicious meal and mash.
In fact we are soon off to Paris to avoid Christmas…

We were finally to have sampled the mythic Yannick’s table as hitherto our visits have always coincided with his absence, or the legendary restaurant being closed for tile restoration. I could just as easily sit and look at the fabulous tiled floor, or imagine Proust flirting with the waiters, ah, but that was just around the corner, as eat any meal, that is except breakfast when I still watch the waiters, but we have now cancelled our legendary booking because our grand children do not approve of lunch. In fact they are not out of bed, and would be most indignant at breakfasting before noon, even at ‘Angelina’s’ and there is no way we could justify the mythical price of even one a la carte Yannick asparagus in the evening. My comment is not fair to Dan, for if there is one thing likely to make him rise before noon, it is Paris. And, worrying about the result of his Trinity entrance and discussing which restaurant he wants

Grandad, the 80's

‘Grand Dad’ to book for dinner. While I’m happy to stay hotel-home, eat club sandwiches with Portia, and people watch. But she’ll no doubt want to go clubbing with her mum. In fact we’ve all agreed to go clubbing together.

In a way I rather wish I hadn’t started re-reading ‘Middlemarch’ before we are due to go because whenever I am properly committed to reading a novel, which isn’t that often, other than when I’m re-reading Proust’s ‘Recherche’, I become anti-social. I’m finding with ‘Middlemarch’, and I cannot remember when I last read it, that although I do not have any memory of the plot at all, my brain still seems to know what is going to come next, not in advance but only page-by-page. I have no idea what will happen to Causabon, but I rather think he will have to die, and with any luck he wont return from Rome. I don’t know who bores me most: Causabon or those relentless foreign policies of Monsieur Norpois. Only last week I should never have dreamt that Proust’s ‘Recherche’ would drop off my linguist-deaf tongue – or rather my pen in such a languid manner – as I should never dare pronounce it, but since my Proustian partner managed to inveigle me, except he doesn’t inveigle – and would I think detest the word – anybody into doing anything. But, it was through his magic that I ended up, far less reluctantly than I could, to begin with, have imagined, doing a gig on Proust at the Royal Society of Literature, and being privileged to hear Christopher Prendergast and Ian Patterson jousting over whether Proust and Art were, or were not life savers and could, or could not, redeem the Time. And, just for your benefit Christopher, oh heavens I can’t even initial your surname because they both start with ‘P’, so just for your benefit Prof, I don’t believe in Redemption either, well not through Proust, nor Love, not through anything except perhaps Individuation and the Self.

Is enthusiasm the opposite of depression… August 15, 2010

Posted by janehaynes in : Atomies of love, Becoming..., dogs, Holistic health, Thinking skywards, Uncategorised, Uncategorized , 2comments

I haven’t felt like sharing my thoughts or logging in for months, but today there is something I want to share.

I have been struggling, wading or fumbling into the pages of Love in the Western World by Denis de Rougement. His thoughts are dense and intense and it’s easy to give up the effort to think these sentences through. But twice now he’s thrilled me and most recently it was with his elucidation, via Plato, of the original meaning of the word, ‘enthusiasm‘. It seems that to be enthusiastic is to be possessed by the Gods, I love that thought and get it because at the same time it fires another unthought thought in my head, and my sensory memory confirms it. When I am enthused about something I’m inhabiting my environment, I’m being fed by the universe and the mortal world is enough. I sparkle and my enthusiasm might even be contagious. The other thought is that when one stops being enthusiastic, one is, if not sad, depressed and I have been trying to figure out for a long time what might be the opposite of depression, which I often elucidate to my clients as losing desire for the world, and that explains to me why enthusiasm is so irrepressible and when something is irrepressible, whether it’s my dogs enthusiasm for her walk, or my irrational devotion to my dog’s feelings, it means that repression is absent. And, repression, whether it is anger, or denial, or love, yes we so often repress our love in the fear that it will not be returned is a broad walk to depression.

My enthusiastic dog, Lucy the Viszla in Regents Park, 2009. Copyright John Haynes

Finishing Proust and the experience of things November 1, 2009

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Proust doesn’t often do tenderness: he is as ruthless with his readers as he is with the unmasking of his characters. He does sentimentality, but then some of us know that sentimentality masks sadism and Proust is a creative if deadly sadist, which is also what makes him such a corrosive witted satirist. The nearest he comes to tenderness is through his observations of Nature but even then he’s carrying out an autopsy as his eye dissects any object only to expose a time lost iridescence. ‘Real life, life finally uncovered and clarified, the only life in consequence lived to the full, is literature. Life in this sense dwells within all ordinary people as much as in the artist. But they do not see it because they are not trying to shed light on it.’ Proust.

Finishing Finding Time Again on Friday was traumatic and I’ve only just recovered from vertiginous sensations of inspiration and despair at my own mortality. I think that the first time around I read the masked ball sequence I couldn’t have been ready to embody – and that is what Proust asks his reader to do, to embody and not observe or applaude art – the physical impact on my own descending mortality of Time’s fickle glass, his sickle hour. How can one read Proust’s dissection of mortality without Shakespeare’s monument to time chiming into consciousness?

Proust makes it clear that there can be no escape from the masked ball of time and organic decay and it’s my guess that he would see our present day obsessions with Botox, liposuction and cosmetic lasers as futile cul de sacs of vanity. Although, that’s not to say he might not have recourse to them himself. As he describes, the longer anyone remains looking ‘Good for their age’, the worse is that final descent into their failure of helplessness, sans eyes, sans teeth, sans everything. Yes, everything, except perhaps time, wears out.

Oh, Heavens, I could write for hours on my experiences of reading Proust but I wanted to write about other things, like falling in love, even in its non refulgent state, with the young maple sapling my landscape gardening friend, Special Branch bought me last Wednesday. Its full name is Acer Palmatum Westonbirt Red. When Special Branch left Westonbirt Aboretum he told me that the sapling was still in an open-leaved crimson glory. He had a shock when he opened his van for by the time they had made the short journey to London its maple sensibility had been compromised and its leaved tendrils were contracted into what might be described as an arthritic screetch of bruised agony. 

Its demise provided me with an example of what Proust is always writing about: ‘because at that moment when I perceived it, my imagination, which was my only organ for the enjoyment of beauty, could not be applied to it, by virtue of the inevitable law, which means that one can only imagine what object is absent’. Now, I could not perceive, but only imagine, what my sapling had looked like before it went into shock and I shall have to wait for another year to pass before it finds its time again.

I don’t think there’s going to be much time today to write about finding the experience of things, but I have almost caught up with my Proust reading partner who has embarked on William James, The Variety of Religious Experience without waiting for me to finish Proust, (and it’s possible that he only finished first because my handbag was stolen and I didn’t have any reading glasses for a week and my brain anyhow felt like punctured seaweed).There are two thoughts that have come to me from James’ first lecture. First of all I should declare that even though I am an experienced psychotherapist I am also still a neurotic, but in Proust and James’ company that’s no bad thing to be. And, there is a caveat: I am a conscious neurotic and it’s in unconsciousness that the cliff falls of much of our un-deciphered neuroticism and depressive sufferings reside.

I adored James’ image of religion as a perversion of the respiratory function. The Bible is full of the language of respiratory oppression: ‘Hide not thine ear at my breathing; my groaning is not hid from thee, my heart panteth, my strength faileth me; my bones are hot with the roaring all night long; as the heart panteth after the water brooks, so my soul panteth after thee, O my God.’  And, as James goes on to say, the foundation in many non-Christian countries of all religious discipline consists in the regulation of inspiration and expiration. It might also be true to say that these two involuntary and mainly unconscious acts are, when brought into mindfulness, also at the foundations of psychological health.

We can never escape our breathing, after all it’s the first and last thing that any of us ever do, our greatest commonality, and yet too many people expend their lives forgetting that they breathe. Not only is its perversion the loadstone of James’ metaphor, its health is also the foundation of any meditation. In the search to understand beyond the mechanics of consciousness more and more neurobiologists and psychologists are being drawn towards the study of meditative practices and the conscious orientation of our bodily dimensions. Children need to be taught how to orientate themselves in space, to use their body compasses of cognition. 

Perhaps, we need to return to Leonardo. Of all of Leonardo’s known discoveries, his discovery of the cause of heart disease through a build up of cholesterol could have saved millions of lives. This would have happened if his discoveries were ever taken seriously at the time and published by his peers. Leonardo had worked out that a substance carried though the blood and produced by what we eat imbeds itself in the arteries and blocks natural blood flow.

Like Proust we need to remember to look forward and backwards. 

leonardo-da-vinci-anatomy.6

Carnival, Ligeti, and James Ensor October 11, 2009

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Self-Portrait-In-A-Hat-With-Flowers,-1883Not feeling like blogging  – perhaps too much heady food is still being metabolised … Le Grand Macabre by Ligeti , whose life experiences are painfully tragic to read about and seemingly without much respite but  from out of his cauldron of  sensation emerged so much creativity, wit, love and subversion… and then in the same week even anticipating watching Tristan and Isolde  on Friday induced a physical vertigo.

Ligeti  has drawn me, or rather my Proustian partner who inducted me, has inadvertently drawn me to the surreal dramatist Michel Ghelderode.  I have been trying to memorize his name by imagining that I am riding a geldered stallion, along with Keats’ Bright Star, and hope that I have got the spelling right  and then galloping off  to Amazon Prime for the catalogue of James Ensor who was as fascinated by Carnival and Masks and Love and Death and Anxiety as I am, except Ensor painted them and I try to get behind them….many of his works remind me, and are I think, indebted to Goya’s black paintings. (Retrospectively, I also feel that Paula Rego must feel indebted to his visceral imaginings and teasing.) I wish I knew where those black Goya paintings are hidden as so few of them are displayed in Madrid, unless they are stored away in unnamed archives.

Even before these artists, discovered  by courtesy of my  Ligeti-trail, came  as a gift into my vision I was intending to blog about Carnival and the Death of  Tragedy, and Rio de Janeiro, and my Capoeira thrusting Berimbar drumming friend Greg Hicks whose life embodies Carnival and who next year will be playing King Lear at the RSC, and then another unexpected pleasure, to revel in the fact that Rio and not Chicago won the Olympic bid, which is what made me think of Greg because he has a flat in Rio at the foot of  the statue of Christ the Redeemer …  but for now I still need to absorb and metabolize rather than write.  And then last night – at my grandson, Dan’s direction – I watched the documentary Gonzo and discovered the death driven genius, the carnival energies, the insight and death-sight. of  Hunter S. Thompson, the beauty of Johnny Depp, and  today I am still more undone and I don’t,  after watching the inspiring and fittingly minimalist staging while listening to the frantic and god-like desires, demons and visions and woundings, or should I write wounds,  of  Tristan and Isolde – with my Wagnerian loving/ Proust reading partner – where nothing remains black or white, but returns to shadow, have much to spare.  

34104898James Ensor: Pierrot and skeletons.

The mobility, the anxiety and the waivering of his nature explain at once the feverish searches,the steps forwards, the steps backwards, the brusque advances and the sudden retreats, in a word all the unevenness of his art. Emile Verhaearen, 1908

The intrigueThe Intrigue.

And Self Portrait at top of the page.

‘For the times they are a-changin’: John Haynes photograph of the week South Bank/ quote of the week October 4, 2009

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Come mothers and fathers

Throughout the land

And don’t criticize

What you can’t understand

Your sons and your daughters

Are beyond your command

Your old road is rapidly agin’

Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand

For the times they are -changin’.

Bob Dylan

(I  much prefer Dylan’s version to Larkin’s poem.)

 

 

Big Ben 002 copy copy

 South Bank, John Haynes copyright 2009

John Haynes’ photograph of the week: Mahatma Gandhi September 17, 2009

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IMG_0027 copy

Statue of Mahatma Gandhi: Tavistock Square, London. (Copyright John Haynes 2007)

 

Word/quote of the week September 17, 2009

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Word of the week: Meme  A unit of cultural transmission; meme includes stories, songs, skills. Culture, according to a theory of memetics, evolves by the process and selection of the memes.

Quote of the week:  “I don’ think life has a meaning beyond what we put into it. It’s like vision. I mean one only projects colours onto objects – they’re not, of course, themselves coloured -one also projects meaning onto things. If you look at a painting, the viewer is projecting his own meaning into the paint, whatever the artist wants. And ditto with an oak tree; whatever God or Darwin decreed for it, you project meaning into it.”  Richard Gregory

The lineaments of gratified desire. September 10, 2009

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What is it men in women do require?


The lineaments of Gratified Desire
.

What is it women do in men require
?

The lineaments of Gratified Desire.

William Blake

Until I started writing this blog I thought I had memorized this quotation years ago and that Blake was right, although he was a gnomic who never quite meant what you think. But, I’ve just found out, after many years to my shame that firstly I didn’t know what lineaments were – I thought they were linty and comforting bandages – worst still that I had substituted a ‘most’ for the ‘do’: What is that men and women most require…which has dented my blogging because I was going to argue that what ‘we’ most of all require are healthy levels of self esteem, and the courage to be ourselves. I’ll come back to that after my desire diversion.

 Despite these reported lapses, I have worked out a paradox of desire, or perhaps that’s not true, I’ve worked it out in conjunction with an absent friend who’s still watching seals on that distant seashore and pondering the meanings of the universe, which is that the essence of desire’s compulsive energy to connect is met, no not met but fulfilled in the obstacle to its connection. Gratified desire is doomed – sooner or later to become dead desire, or domestic desire. It is the obstacle rather than the object that fertilises desire.

In the romances of archetypal lovers like Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet, Hero and Leander, Venus and Adonis and Achilles and Patroclus, desire is challenged by separation, suspended and then immortalised by death. I find Venus and Adonis the most tragic scenario because of its lack of symmetry between the lovers and because Adonis is adolescent he feels himself to be invincible to danger and as immortal as Venus. It’s still true that it’s the most original, beautiful, brave and intelligent adolescents who wont listen to their elders. (Which brings my grand children Dan and Portia instantly to mind.)

This paradox of desire is true of Amaldova’s  latest and perhaps greatest – although I have heard as many say his least successful – erotic testament, ‘Los Abrazos Rotos’, or ‘Broken Embraces’, where the collision of obessional desire(S) are suspended and then ruptured by violent acts of  sex, death and blindness. Here, there is no light; except with Almodovar there always is more light, but I don’t want to write a review of Broken Embraces although I am still thinking of little else, except that Penelope Cruz’s symphonic Spanish beauty stops me thinking at all. (Her Hollywood performances don’t work so well outside of her mother tongue, which enhances her sense of timing and wit.)

A link between Coriolanus and Almodovar’s film is that they both reveal the suffering of men whose parents have refused to recognise them, let alone love them for who they are. Isn’t that what we all desire most of all, to feel that we have been unconditionally loved.  Or is that just another unrealisable myth that keeps us in a state of longing. There is so much unconscious narcissism in love.

In my ‘Mother’ blog I talked about the elusive elixir of self-esteem, which I would identify as the lubricant of becoming oneself, and which is almost impossible to manufacture artificially. Some few do manage it but if you miss out on feeling unconditionally loved in childhood then it’s a lifetime’s work and hard going all along the way.

I’m drawn to the observations of ethologists, who were inspired by the ideas of Conrad Lorenz when he uncovered the concept of an ‘innate releasing pattern’ to explain our instinctive behaviours which are often only accomplished at specific life stages and afterwards become notoriously hard to recapitulate.

It’s one of the great wonders of life that self- esteem is so vital to human wellbeing and yet it is so often absent even where you would expect to find it. Success is rarely related to self esteem, but often grows out of its absence and an inflated desire to get the zeitgeist to prick up its ears in compensation for the absence of a more private gleam of admiration in the parental eye.  

In ‘Broken Embraces’ what I understood to be personal clues from Almodovar’s life are barely concealed within his maze of imagery;  an underplayed moment of personal pathos and revelation was costumed in the geeky  and sexually ruined son of the tycoon Ernesto Martel, whose life is fuelled by revenge for  humiliation at the hands of his father for being unworthy of his loving embrace. That’s why unconditional love matters: it is the antidote to stunted emotions. And then, I thought of Almodovar’s compatriot Lorca and his torment at disappointing his father and then, how astonishing it must feel to grow up knowing that you are unconditionally loved, and then how terrible it is to know that so often, but not always, because nothing is for always, that broken embraces are so easy to contaminate one dysfunctional generation with another.

And that is why learning how to live and love matters more than anything.

The lineaments of gratified desire. September 10, 2009

Posted by janehaynes in : Atomies of love, Becoming... , 1 comment so far

What is it men in women do require?


The lineaments of Gratified Desire
.

What is it women do in men require
?

The lineaments of Gratified Desire.

William Blake

Until I started writing this blog I thought I had memorized this quotation years ago and that Blake was right, although he was a gnomic who never quite meant what you think. But, I’ve just found out, after many years to my shame that firstly I didn’t know what lineaments were – I thought they were linty and comforting bandages – worst still that I had substituted a ‘most’ for the ‘do’: What is that men and women most require…which has dented my blogging because I was going to argue that what ‘we’ most of all require are healthy levels of self esteem, and the courage to be ourselves. I’ll come back to that after my desire diversion.

 Despite these reported lapses, I have worked out a paradox of desire, or perhaps that’s not true, I’ve worked it out in conjunction with an absent friend who’s still watching seals on that distant seashore and pondering the meanings of the universe, which is that the essence of desire’s compulsive energy to connect is met, no not met but fulfilled in the obstacle to its connection. Gratified desire is doomed – sooner or later to become dead desire, or domestic desire. It is the obstacle rather than the object that fertilises desire.

In the romances of archetypal lovers like Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet, Hero and Leander, Venus and Adonis and Achilles and Patroclus, desire is challenged by separation, suspended and then immortalised by death. I find Venus and Adonis the most tragic scenario because of its lack of symmetry between the lovers and because Adonis is adolescent he feels himself to be invincible to danger and as immortal as Venus. It’s still true that it’s the most original, beautiful, brave and intelligent adolescents who wont listen to their elders. (Which brings my grand children Dan and Portia instantly to mind.)

This paradox of desire is true of Amaldova’s  latest and perhaps greatest – although I have heard as many say his least successful – erotic testament, ‘Los Abrazos Rotos’, or ‘Broken Embraces’, where the collision of obessional desire(S) are suspended and then ruptured by violent acts of  sex, death and blindness. Here, there is no light; except with Almodovar there always is more light, but I don’t want to write a review of Broken Embraces although I am still thinking of little else, except that Penelope Cruz’s symphonic Spanish beauty stops me thinking at all. (Her Hollywood performances don’t work so well outside of her mother tongue, which enhances her sense of timing and wit.)

A link between Coriolanus and Almodovar’s film is that they both reveal the suffering of men whose parents have refused to recognise them, let alone love them for who they are. Isn’t that what we all desire most of all, to feel that we have been unconditionally loved.  Or is that just another unrealisable myth that keeps us in a state of longing. There is so much unconscious narcissism in love.

In my ‘Mother’ blog I talked about the elusive elixir of self-esteem, which I would identify as the lubricant of becoming oneself, and which is almost impossible to manufacture artificially. Some few do manage it but if you miss out on feeling unconditionally loved in childhood then it’s a lifetime’s work and hard going all along the way.

I’m drawn to the observations of ethologists, who were inspired by the ideas of Conrad Lorenz when he uncovered the concept of an ‘innate releasing pattern’ to explain our instinctive behaviours which are often only accomplished at specific life stages and afterwards become notoriously hard to recapitulate.

It’s one of the great wonders of life that self- esteem is so vital to human wellbeing and yet it is so often absent even where you would expect to find it. Success is rarely related to self esteem, but often grows out of its absence and an inflated desire to get the zeitgeist to prick up its ears in compensation for the absence of a more private gleam of admiration in the parental eye.  

In ‘Broken Embraces’ what I understood to be personal clues from Almodovar’s life are barely concealed within his maze of imagery;  an underplayed moment of personal pathos and revelation was costumed in the geeky  and sexually ruined son of the tycoon Ernesto Martel, whose life is fuelled by revenge for  humiliation at the hands of his father for being unworthy of his loving embrace. That’s why unconditional love matters: it is the antidote to stunted emotions. And then, I thought of Almodovar’s compatriot Lorca and his torment at disappointing his father and then, how astonishing it must feel to grow up knowing that you are unconditionally loved, and then how terrible it is to know that so often, but not always, because nothing is for always, that broken embraces are so easy to contaminate one dysfunctional generation with another.

And that is why learning how to live and love matters more than anything.