Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Suspending disbelief.

For many people it is very frustrating to watch movies and TV shows about topics which you have intimate knowledge.  For me, when I watch survival shows or military themed movies I spend most of the time shooting them down.  At least that used to be the case!  I have discovered the secret to enjoying media entertainment. 

When you sit down to watch a program what you may not know is that there is a contract that you are entering into.  The contract is one sided and the responsibility lies entirely with the viewer.  Your role in this contract is to suspend your disbelief.  If you can put aside the deeper knowledge of the subject matter and effectively suspend your disbelief in the dialog, contents, methods, and story of the program it will become enjoyable.  Evidence of this is the popularity of the prime time cartoons and especially SciFi programming.  Horror films can accomplish the same if the production company does not try to be to serious.  When the entire premise of the program is absurd from the start it is easy to suspend disbelief.  The simple act of sitting down to watch this is a willingness to put logic aside.

The other side of the coin would be a serious film about a topic which you know well.  Do not enter into that contract expecting to gain new information on the topic.  If you do, you will almost always walk out disappointed.  In my case I would rather watch a bad show about survival than a good one about a boring topic.  I realize that it is a form of entertainment not a resource for education.

How the hell does this relate to survival?  Well, referring back to my earlier posts on patterns. If you observe the sort of ques that let you know it is time to suspend disbelief, you will find that those same ques appear during cons and scams.  Do you have shallow or no knowledge of the subject?  Is it unlikely or unrealistic to expect the desired outcome? Is the advertised reward much greater than the risk?  All of these are desensitizing techniques to ease you into suspending your disbelief.  When that is complete the scam is over and you may not even know that you were conned as you walk away with the euphoria that you felt the first time that you watched your favorite movie at the theatre.  Be warned, patterns repeat themselves in all of life's functions and even sitting down to watch a bad TV show is training; in Survivology 101.