Instinct –About A Mere Illusion One of the two main characters in this movie is Dr. Ethan Powell, an anthropologist. The study of primatology is present in this movie, because Dr. Powell is shown several times living with the mountain gorillas. He gains their trust by adapting to the way they live and interact. I think a little bit of cultural anthropology is also present because although he is studying primates, I believe they have a culture and Dr. Powell has adapted to their nature. The second important character in this movie is Dr.
Theo Caulder, a psychologist. The first sub field of psychology that is present in this movie is cognitive psychology. We are introduced to Dr. Caulder while he is interviewing a patient who is delusional and tries to help her understand that she may be wrong. Another sub field of psychology presented is behavioural psychology. The inmates may not have acted the way that they did if it was not for the guards and Warden. Because of the excess cruelty, the inmates were brutalized and forced to re direct their negative energy to each other.
I think psychoanalytic psychology is also present in this movie. When Dr. Powell is captured by the poachers, the Silverback tries to save him. Similarly when Peter, one of the inmates is being beaten, Dr. Powell steps in to help him like when the Silverback did. I think this was unconscious motivation from the previous event. Dr. Ethan Powell and Dr. Theo Caulder have very contrastive ways of conducting and obtaining their research. Dr. Powell adapted into the forest to live with the mountain gorillas to observe rituals and group behaviour.
When he realized they were uncomfortable with the camera, he left it behind and started to see them for who they were for the first time. He was “a man living with animals” because the gorillas reached across and accepted him, a human. He started to care for the gorillas and they eventually became his family. Dr. Caulder on the other hand tries to understand the feelings and thoughts of his patients through a series of interviews. He tries to figure out why his patients (Dr. Powell and other inmates) behave the way they do and and what causes them to act that way, their mental process.
Dr. Caulder soon changes the way he interviews Dr. Powell by accommodating him in environments that are closer to him or that he would possibly feel safer in. For example, he takes Dr. Powell to the zoo to see some on the gorillas and then asks the guards to leave because he realizes it was making Dr. Powell feel uncomfortable. Frankincense, making both Dr. Powell’s and Dr. Caulder’ way of conducting research similar. I think humans are truly not in control of their own lives. If we were, everyone would be doing whatever they wanted to do and that would be “savage. Life is a game and sometimes we need to be taught how to play properly by a simple example of humanity. Dr. Powell proclaimed that you would find more violence in the city in one day then you ever would in the the forest and I agree. Humans are the only species that kill each other for reasons other than survival. I believe that control is merely an illusion that we like to believe we have. In one of Dr. Caulder’s sessions with Ethan, the guards are asked to leave and soon Dr. Caulder is held captive by Ethan and is demanded to write down what he has lost. Dr.
Caulder answers “control” but Ethan says no and asks a few more times. Finally realizing what Ethan is talking about, Dr. Caulder writes down “illusion. ”Ethan then explains how we only have the illusion of having power and control but none of it is actually there to begin with. Another example is when Dacks, on the of the guards, distributes the cards to determine who goes outside that day for a half hour. He always gives the Ace of diamonds to a weaker inmate so that the bully inmate can steal it by scaring them and getting the time outside every single day.
The guards determine who gets to go outside everyday and all the weaker inmates have to give up their chance because they are to scared to fight back. Thus, diverting all their negative energy towards each other and leaving all the guards at peace. Throughout the movie, Theo is asked by Ethan if he is really free? I think Ethan is referring to when he was living with the mountain gorillas. They were living at peace and harmony and that is what felt like freedom to him. They never fought with each other and only took what they needed, preserving the environment. He was asking Dr.
Caulder if living the way he was, was what he considered to be his freedom. I think that the movie’s focus on true nature of human existence was excellent. It portrays us just like we are in real life. We are arrogant and have a great sense of entitlement. Ethan has divided humans into two groups. There are the “Takers and the Tribesmen,” also referred to as the “Civilized and the Pre-Civilized. ” The Takers in the movie are the Guards, the Poachers, and the Warden (all forms of authority). They are dominant and have a God-like syndrome thinking they are superior to everyone else including other humans and animals.
The Tribesmen in the movie are Dr. Ethan Powell, the gorillas and other inmates. They could be living in peace if the influence of the guards was limited. For example, Dr. Caulder changed the way the person was selected for the half hour of time outside. “Everyone goes outside,” is what everybody chanted together forming a revolution. Dr. Theo Caulder is the exception. He was first perceived as a Taker. In the beginning he is shown to only care about his career and that is why he takes up Dr. Ethan Powell’s case in the first place, to further his career.
His superior believes he can write a book and become a famous psychologist. But soon enough Ethan is able to change Dr. Caulder’s mind and teaches him how to live. He starts to believe that he can actually get Ethan out of prison and prove that he has not turned into an animal, putting Dr. Caulder into the category of Tribesmen. This encourages me to believe that there is still hope for us to change our lifestyle and the way we think. It shows there is still hope to make us all less savage and make our progress as humans more positive. By. Tanvi Patel
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