Explore: The Diderot Effect

I’ve been wary of the attempt to secure identity cohesion through aesthetic means ever since I read Carl Jung’s work on individuation. We are attracted to symbols of stability and cohesion because we think that symbolic unity will lend itself indirectly to our own psychological unity. The mandala, for example, is psychologically soothing to those seeking out more a more secure identity. Much in the same way we are attracted to symbolic equilibrium, our brain assumes that if the things that are near to us or clothe us or house us or transport us are clean, rigorously designed, meticulously organized, that somehow our identities will mimic those qualities. I love observing the implications of this effect in myself and others…

We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self, this accretion of sensory experience and feelings, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody’s nobody. – Rust Cohle, True Detective


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