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Feeling Down? Well, if You're in the UK That Makes Sense: It's The UK Mental Wellbeing Ranking Has Fallen! One Nations Misery Is Another One Nations Happiness, Right?  Let's face it, life here in the UK isn't always sunshine and beer gardens. A recent study ranked us second to last in terms of mental wellbeing—ahhh! But before you book a one-way ticket to Benedorm, there's more to this. . .  The Telegraph points to a few possible culprits we could blame for these collective blues. One big finger points to the internet and social media  with its constant barrage of negativity and unrealistic portrayals of perfection. It aided the economic woes that put retail mostly online, providing many thriving towns into empty building projects and charity shop high streets! That's before we even get into culture wars, and wokism. It looks like we're turning into a  digitised national echo chamber, teeming with  screen addicts, who, on average, now spend less time making

Do transformational archetypes reflect who we are?

To what extent are we moulded by our movies? 

Films, Books, T.V Boxed sets, have so many transitional archetypes, such as the bibles fall of Lucifer, along with the spiritual transformation of the disciples, there's the u-turn of Saul to Paul, who was temporarily blinded by the divine light of the alleged resurrected Christ. 

We see change themes in various super hero origin stories, including that of Bruce Banner/Hulk or Bruce Wayne, the Batman.
Avengers hulk
Other examples include Beauty and the Beast, or the story of Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader, and everyone knows Doctor Who, the regenerating time lord. Our mythology and lore across Europe, has shape-shifting pagan gods along with werewolves and vampires. Further east the narrative of the Buddha's awakening is easy to find. We could compile a huge list. 

However, transformation, the complete alteration of a person in the mundane world we live in, doesn't usually involve super powers, gods or aliens, but onset mental illness can feel just as dramatic. Sudden mental illness can be one of the most life changing experiences an individual might undergo. Anxiety disorders, diagnoses of mood or thought and other conditions of the mind, can re-write someone's world. 

Films such as a beautiful mind, help depict our struggles with Mental illness fairly. It follows Professor John Nash of Princeton university who had a significant diagnosis. Another interesting example, is the 2002 film, The Hours, starring Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman. It portrays the lives of three people from different times, in various parts of the world, all of whom are connected by Virginia Woolf's fictional novel, Mrs Dalloway. We see key historical moments of Virginia Woolf's transition into illness, while she tries to write the book that impacts on the other characters. It is chaos theory, showing the interconnection between fact and fiction; overlapping time and distance. 

When creative teams within the art's use story arcs, archetypes and play on scenarios wisely it can result with direct change in the real world.

The Buddha
No matter what torments us, learning to be self-reflective and able to recognise our own unhelpful beliefs or ideas, is good for personal growth. 

I'd like to think that most of us have our journey-like processes; not unlike those transformational archetypes we see in fiction

Actors study and imitate people in hope of nailing that Oscar winning performance; likewise, on the other end of the spectrum, when we feel deflated, we tend to watch them to feel better. Empathic creatures we are; our brains are packed with mirror neurons and as individuals we might borrow another persons idiosyncracy, buzz phrase, mannerisms or jokes. It's fair to suggest single guys have tried the Eugene Fitzherbert smoulder from Disney's Tangled. Maybe Disney took insiration from from them?
Fitzherbert doing the hero look
Adopted mannerisms that hold charm or sexual appeal may well be recycled. However, these bevaviours will more than likely furnish us with a temporary sense of self, the sort we look back on with embarrassment. As a kid I modelled myself on Rambo. I tried invoking his accent as well, to become just like the war hero, but the head master asked my mum if I'd acquired a head injury!

Han Solo types are imperfect personalities or the 'lovable rogue' or an 'anti-hero,' a non-conforming rebel, with a flawed character. Ignorant of norms and appealing to the empathy (and sometimes the envy) of the viewers. Growing up in the eighties, it was clear how many boys wanted to be Han Solo or Indiana Jones. It wasn't just me who wanted to be like my hero. 

Han Solo pulling off the hero look
Alan Watts, omnist and modern philosopher said: 

'Our normal sensation of self is a hoax, or, at best, a temporary role that we are playing with our own tacit consent, just as every hypnotised person is willing to be hypnotised. The most strongly enforced of all taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask of your apparently separate, independent, and isolated ego.' 

Watts illustrates how 'the feeling of' who we are, in itself, is a self deceptive illusion. Through time, who we believe we are, morphs into something else; I certain don't want to wear a red head band and kill soldiers for the US anymore! Self image is malleable. This is just our outer superficial self, and we pay it lots of attention. 

Unnecessarily, certain people work outside of contracted hours for free, because of their corporate identities. Concerning themselves with business matters of Chief Execs and upper management who earn way above their pay grade. A cage of ones own making. This is an example of when redifining yourself as person who is not you, is unhealthy and goes against the current. 

Phoenix Joker dancing inbthe toilet
As we see with Arthur Fleck/Joker the anti-hero, but also a victim of societal injustice. In reality, here in the UK, the unfair distribution of wealth is also a daily torment; tired, numbing psychiatric treatment that Fleck righteously perseveres with, earns him the audiences sympathy. Our mental health care is awful, viewers can resonate with this film. The transforming factors of Fleck/Joker rests on his limited life chances and the harsh existence, which the corrupt city provides. Thomas Wayne is the face of the super rich and surrounded by politicians, businessmen, and subordinates, who unapologetically, live extravagantly well in the presence of poverty.

Wayne thinks nothing of speaking out against the under-privileged on television. In the DC comic books, the philosophy of the Joker, in essence, explores how it only takes one truly bad day to become like him, a super villain. In the 2019 movie, Joker, Fleck experiences something akin to this process—like many people today. This anti-hero is the largest grossing movie; is this because the Joker resonates with our modern world? I believe so. 

A modern scrooge
The redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge
A lonely, isolated, miserable, penny-pincher who undergoes an awakening and begins to live with compassion. The Charles Dickens novella, A Christmas Carol, was carefully written. Described as hard and sharp as flint, we see Scrooge follow a karmic arc of change, a 'we reap what we sow' moral. The name Ebenezer Scrooge was chosen wisely because of what it signifies. It's a Hebrew place name meaning 'help-stone,' a monumental type stone of religious significance. 

In the book of Samuel, Eben-Ezer is where the Israelite's fought the Philistines. It's as if Charles Dickens was seeking out a name that showed conflict; battles were fought at the religious help-stone, the duality of Ebeneezer's nature is sealed in his name. Weird right? 

In Old English, the word Scrooge means 'to squeeze'. This is exactly what he did through the story. He denied his employee, Bob Cratchet time off for Christmas and paid the man very meagre wages, giving no festive bonus for his poor family. However, this conflicted help-stone, the sharp, hard flint of a man, did not start out this way.
On one, well all know, he is visited by what Dickens described as ghosts. If we peel back these dramatic embellishments of the misers experience, we're left with something different entirely. A lonely, isolated and stubborn old man, who lost friendships and family. Haunted by his mistakes and regrets, but too hard faced to accept them. He seems to be experiencing a crisis. 

In the solitude of his house, he can hear the city celebrating outside and he resists, and he denies the sentiment, bah humbug! Memories and personal truth are his only company. Scrooge is not the person he thinks he is, but instead, he became someone who identified with a life-style he justified with poor reasoning. The three ghosts are polished and fanciful in the Novella and T.V productions for entertainment purposes, but; on a more realistic note, what Dickens described here is a man re-discovering himself and his life! A man reflecting on his ruined past; an old unpleasant snarler finding self-liberation and piety through self realisation. Do you know who you are? This is what some mystics call awakening.

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