I’ve been re-reading the archives of The Last Psychiatrist as I work on a screenplay about a man that struggles and procrastinates with something important in his life (writing a play). No, it’s not autobiographical; I write every day for an hour.
Anyway, I rediscovered this quote. The bold is mine, and it ties in with the theme of the film:
Self-loathing is the defense against change, self-loathing is preferable to <mental work.> You choose misery so that nothing changes, and the Ambien and the drinking and the therapy placate the misery so that you can go on not changing. That’s why when you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, you don’t immediately crank out 30 pushups, you open a bag of chips. You don’t even try, you only plan to try. The appearance of mental work, aka masturbation. The goal of your ego is not to change, but what you don’t realize is that time is moving on regardless.
A common piece of advice is “just start!”/don’t procrastinate, etc.
Let me explain, however, why this is a cognitive necessity.
No matter how carefully you plan something in your mind– work through details, procure materials, etc– it can’t take into account everything that happens. Try imagining having sex with Paz de la Huerta; and then try actually having sex with her. The first is masturbation, the second is very tricky, although rewarding, business.
Every creative idea is a dialogue between you and yourself (masturbation); every creative act is a dialogue between you and reality (sex.) You can’t account for that other half of the dialogue until you begin it.
Reality takes many forms: the light of a computer screen, the need for the “great phrase” to be surrounded by words that are less inspired; hunger, the need to pee, fatigue, caffeine headaches, hangovers; relentless, crippling, blackening self-doubt. You can never account for these except through action. I don’t mean they are necessarily obstacles– they don’t necessarily hold you back– but the are real success of any creative act is that it transcended reality not by bypassing it, but by going through it.
Or you can just go back to masturbating.
…Happy New Year. You’re running out of time.
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