Thursday, September 6, 2007

383 Seeing what isn't there -- The PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

Message no. 383[Branch from no. 374] Posted by Thomas Culhane (1311520071) on Friday, February 16, 2007 3:39pm Subject: Seeing what isn't there -- The PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

Hi! Reading your posts I couldn't help but think of that charming scene in the Will Smith movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" when he and his little boy are homeless and they have to spend the night in a subway station bathroom. They use the virtual reality fantasy that children are so good at to pretend that the bone scanner Will Smith is a salesman for is a time machine, and it takes them back to the time of the dinosaurs. Once the child engages in this fantasy through "cognitive reappraisal" he doesn't mind being "homeless" -- he believes he is a caveman, and it makes sense that the world is "cold and dangerous" but he knows he can be safe if he can just find "a cave" (which turns out to be the subway bathroom). I found this scene charming and informative -- perhaps one reason that children are so good at believing fantasy is that it can aid in survival by replacing true stressors with manageable stressors.

This theme is also played out in the movie "Pan's Labyrinth", where the little girl survives the torture of the Spanish war by imagining she is in mythical Greece. I haven't seen that one, so if any of you have and it relates, please let us know!

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