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Keep Those Neurons Busy!

Watched North by Northwest last night. I’d never seen it before. I liked it a lot.


There’s a story about how North by Northwest came to be written.

Alfred Hitchcock had actually hired screenwriter Ernest Lehman to adapt a novel called The Wreck of the Mary Deare, but after laboring over the script for several weeks, Lehman found himself horribly blocked.

Lehman went to complain to Hitchcock. “I can't do this,” he said. “I want to make the ultimate Hitchcock movie.

Hitchcock thought for a moment. “I’ve always wanted film a chase on Mt. Rushmore.”

“I could do that!” Lehman said.

“And a homicidal crop duster. And a murder at the U.N.”


North by Northwest’s plot—such as it was—was entirely incidental. Merely a framework for the images that bubbled up from Hitchcock’s brain.


That’s more-or-less the way narrative works in real life, too.

Your sensory apparatus takes in a constant stream of images, sounds, tastes, smells, tactile experiences, and the neurons in your brain process this data into mental constructs like memory, identity, hierarchy.

Other neurons spin those first-degree mental constructs into second-degree mental constructs called narratives. Narratives include stuff like ideology, religion, ethnicity, social roles.

Then there are all the collaborative narratives like religion, money, governments, politics, laws, language.

None of these narratives actually exist in any real sense of the word. But because you think they exist, you can be easily distracted—simply by adjusting the narrative.

Just one more thing to think about. Keep those neurons busy!

PS: North by northwest isn't a real direction.

This entry was originally posted at http://mallorys-camera.dreamwidth.org. You may leave comments on either Dreamwidth or LiveJournal if you like.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 25th, 2018 05:13 pm (UTC)
I'm surprised that you had never seen the movie. It's a favorite of ours.

You should give a class on writing.
Aug. 25th, 2018 11:44 pm (UTC)
Ditto. What she said. :)
Aug. 26th, 2018 04:31 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it is weird that I'd never seen the movie. Hitchcock is a big favorite of mine. I've seen Vertigo at least 10 times.

I'm a great editor, which would probably make me a good writing teacher. :-)
Aug. 26th, 2018 04:27 am (UTC)
Even if it's fiction that doesn't mean it also isn't (possibly) unreal.
Aug. 26th, 2018 04:29 pm (UTC)
Not sure I follow you, Cryptic One.

By definition, if it's fiction, it's unreal.
Aug. 26th, 2018 04:43 pm (UTC)

Hm. Not sure this comment is going to the right place as this app doesn't give much feedback. But. What i all saying i mean to be literal. Categorically you are right fiction is independent of reality. But because it is independent that there is a possibility what is made up by neurons could happen to also coincide with reality.

So just because something is fiction doesn't mean it isn't unreal. It's less likely though that the direction of that fiction is equally applicable but that could turn out to be true too. Also to finish off the square, the fiction might not be true but the prediction implied by the fiction may turn out to happen, for reasons god knows why.

I'm not sure I'm clear. Its like Trump lies about South Africa.

Maybe he thinks and knows he is lying. But the tweet could turn out to be accurate.

Maybe thinks he is telling the truth. But The tweet could turn out be false.

Maybe he thinks he is telling the truth but he got his facts wrong. The tweet could turn out to be false or true...

That's all I'm saying.

Edited at 2018-08-26 04:50 pm (UTC)
Aug. 26th, 2018 04:31 pm (UTC)
About North by Northwest?

I would have taken you for a Vertigo man. :-)
Aug. 26th, 2018 04:49 pm (UTC)

I thought both movies were interesting.

Actually for my comment, NxNW might apply. Through coincidence the spies made a connection of mistaken identity.

Factually speaking they got the wrong man. But their fiction forced a reality to happen. In that sense they got the right man.  He didn't know it yet, and we audience didn't know it yet.

Many stories are like this. Main character falls in love with the wrong person who turns out to be the right one. Villains mess with the wrong dude but neither side realizes that it's the right dude in the sense that this person will bring them down...

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )