Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME ENTER FORUMS OUR BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:02 pm





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 19 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page Previous  1, 2
Silent Snow, Secret Snow by Conrad Aiken - a short story discussion 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 5362
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1896
Thanked: 1818 times in 1381 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Silent Snow, Secret Snow by Conrad Aiken - a discussion
Taylor wrote:
The snow is opaque...its a veil...a mystery. …the mental thing is very subtle and I agree that a great many are unwitting.

I keep liking this story more and more the more I think about it. It reads to me as a parable for the operation of delusion in religion and politics, in the pervasive ability to exclude unwelcome perceptions. So your description of the snow as a subtle opaque mystery veil helps to see how similar psychological problems operate more broadly.

For an example from current politics, the false belief that the Paris Climate Accord is needed to keep warming below two degrees is like a comforting imaginary blanket of snow upon the social discussion of climate change, a delusional mass fantasy that conveniently removes all need for its sufferers to engage with evidence and logic and reality and facts. Equally, the views of climate denialists that climate change is not due to human emissions, or that massive sudden warming is okay, are similar comforting mass delusions.

In the Paris case, science shows that all commitments will deliver warming of four degrees, barely different from business as usual, and causing massive economic dislocation. The collective hope for a two degree result leads people to claim so many people can’t be wrong and Paris was a great triumph. People then convert a fervent hope into a firm belief, rather like religious faith in Jesus Christ.

Where everyone thinks that the silent secret snow job is a good thing to avoid the trauma of cognitive dissonance, it is very like the emperor’s new clothes in the famous story by Hans Christian Andersen. Any critics are just hounded away using ad hominem fallacious reasoning, to avoid confronting the basic assumption that makes life possible, if only temporarily. It occurs to me with the Emperor’s New Clothes, it would be great to write a sequel in which Macchiavellian plotters use the obvious fact that the king is a loony Lear to depose him.

In the case of climate, the decisive false assumptions are that humans can continue to exist on our planet without major economic change, and that emission reduction could stabilise the climate. With Paul’s secret snow fantasy, he assumes it is possible to sink deeper into the comfort of his personal mental blizzard. Such fantasies are not sustainable. Paul’s blocking reaction to his parents in Silent Snow is a great model for how people suffering from a collective schizoid dislocation find their fantasy preferable to reality.


_________________
http://rtulip.net


Last edited by Robert Tulip on Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:44 pm
Profile Email WWW
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Platinum Contributor

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 5878
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Thanks: 1513
Thanked: 1603 times in 1247 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Silent Snow, Secret Snow by Conrad Aiken - a discussion
Now you've gone overboard, Robert. The analysis fails on the simple factual point that Paul alone, not the rest of the world, is having this fantastical delusion of snow covering the world.



Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:42 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 5362
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1896
Thanked: 1818 times in 1381 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Silent Snow, Secret Snow by Conrad Aiken - a discussion
DWill wrote:
Paul alone, not the rest of the world, is having this fantastical delusion of snow covering the world.
An individual pathology can provide insight into how a comparable pathology can affect a group. In this case, the sickness is psychological fantasy, presented in a simple imaginative individual model.

Modelling how fantasy can harm a group is a worthy psychological goal, and can start by looking at how fantasy can hypothetically affect an individual. Models are intrinsically simplified descriptions of the actual operation of processes on larger scale in the real world. In the case of Silent Snow, Secret Snow, Paul's stubborn refusal to abandon the security blanket provided by his snow fantasy is an excellent model for broader social processes that exhibit comparable fantastic pathologies.

As Paul Simon put it in his well known song The Boxer, 'a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.' This describes a universal problem in social psychology, well illustrated in this story as a parable of the effects of mental delusion for individual and society.Image


_________________
http://rtulip.net


Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:19 am
Profile Email WWW
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Platinum Contributor

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 5878
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Thanks: 1513
Thanked: 1603 times in 1247 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Silent Snow, Secret Snow by Conrad Aiken - a discussion
It's clever, Robert, but I'm not buying it as being interpretatively valid for this story.



Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:48 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 19 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page Previous  1, 2



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:

BookTalk.org Newsletter 


Recent Posts 
• End Times

Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:29 pm

Robert Tulip

• Expat Memoir Living in Italy - free preview

Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:36 pm

stef7sa

• POLL: Countdown to Impeachment

Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:26 pm

DWill

• Ch. 7: The Cosmos on the Table

Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:07 pm

Cattleman

• Poem of the Day

Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:30 am

Litwitlou

• Song Lyrics Good Enough to be Poetry

Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:20 am

Litwitlou

• The Left Hand of Boredom? LOL

Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:35 am

Litwitlou

• Chapter Eleven: The Two Ivans

Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:47 am

Robert Tulip

• The Art of No Deal

Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:04 pm

Litwitlou

• Is it time for James Lee Burke to hang it up?

Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:22 am

Slaverz_Bay

• Carbon Mining

Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:57 pm

Taylor

• "Holding Hope In Our Hands"

Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:45 pm

kristinskenderi

• Woman at the Well (Venerable Fulton Sheen)

Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:53 pm

Jan_wow

• Ch. 5: Dark Matter

Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:44 pm

Harry Marks


Site Resources 
HELPFUL INFO:
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!

IDEAS FOR WHAT TO READ:
Bestsellers
Book Awards
• Book Reviews
• Online Books
• Team Picks
Newspaper Book Sections

WHERE TO BUY BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

BEHIND THE BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

PROMOTE YOUR BOOK!
Advertise on BookTalk.org
How To Promote Your Book

Featured Books

Books by New Authors


*

FACTS is a select group of active BookTalk.org members passionate about promoting Freethought, Atheism, Critical Thinking and Science.

Apply to join FACTS
See who else is in FACTS







BookTalk.org is a thriving book discussion forum, online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a community. Our forums are open to anyone in the world. While discussing books is our passion we also have active forums for talking about poetry, short stories, writing and authors. Our general discussion forum section includes forums for discussing science, religion, philosophy, politics, history, current events, arts, entertainment and more. We hope you join us!



Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2017. All rights reserved.
Display Pagerank