Sunday, July 22, 2012

TSS: It was like a movie

The Sunday

Super-rambly and pointless post this Sunday: I've been thinking about reality versus art a lot this past week. What, really, is reality? This is something I wonder about a lot. How permeable is the line between ideas and actualization, and how do movies and books influence how we interact with the world, not just as individuals but as a society?

Last month we had devastating wildfires, and I remember the newscasters saying, "It's like watching a movie." Did they make this statement to separate themselves from what was really happening, because they couldn't believe what was in front of their eyes, or because of the voyeuristic experience of watching something happen on a screen? I think it was probably a combination of all three.

Just for the record, I am 100% in support of movies and books feeling "real," and the audience moving that story forward. That's the entire point of telling stories, isn't it? No one wants to make a movie where the audience leaves thinking it was completely unrealistic, or to write a novel where the characters stay firmly on the page. People want to be transported through art, and generally the success of a film or book depends on how much they can pull people into the story and make them feel a part of that of that world. But the important element is they reinterpret the original through their own experiences.

To be sure, there is an objective reality, and what we personally observe constitutes our immediate reality. Stories aren't "real," but the experience of becoming involved in them and the emotions of the characters can be. I think it's definitely a part of our reality--not necessarily the strongest or most important part, and definitely not the most stable. You can interpret events in a lot of different ways. The goal of life should be to look at it from as many viewpoints as possible, and art can help us do that.

Are people sometimes unable or unwilling to face reality? Yes, but I don't think art or stories have much to do with that; it has to do with the individual and their situation. Maybe they can't face a reality because they haven't seen something that opens their eyes to it yet.

How much do you think books or movies impact reality?


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