On Turning Comfortably Numb: how “The Wall” Reaches Out to Our Vulnerable Self

Author: Andra Crăciun
University of Transilvania, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, Braşov, Romania
Email: andra.craciun@unitbv.ro

Far from claiming to penetrate an artist’s psyche and attempting to „translate” his profound contents to the readers, I propose an essay based on Roger Waters’ „The Wall” concept album and Alan Parker’s 1982 screen version, with a view based on the psychological content which might be triggered in contact with its bold lyrics and visuals. I also commit to the subjectivity that might come with such an endeavor, while referring to relevant concepts in order to come in touch with useful terms of reference. “The Wall” (released in 1979) still stands as one of the strongest, most vocal and deep creations offered by modern artists. Besides the evident imprint on popular culture, Waters’ work seems to bite into very personal aspects of pillar-relationships and individual expression. Even though several messages are clearly addressed to the public (regarding atrocities of war, giving a rap to educational rigidity, among others), the art which comes to complete these messages reaches out to the audient’s deepest and darkest emotional resorts. Despite the discomfort of facing “nightmares made true”, “The Wall” can be seen as a rather “safe space” where anger, despair, crippling loneliness are collectively displayed, looked at and shared within its own public.

Keywords: Self, The Wall, contrast, vulnerability, behavior, guilt