What actually happens when we go to the theater and watch the latest science fiction movie? To tell you the truth, it’s been my experience even when I just view the trailer to some of these new very high tech movies such as the latest “Transformers” film or the offerings of more “Spiderman”, “X-Men” sequels that my senses tend to get overloaded with the very loud sound in the theater and the ultra-dramatic visuals that my eyes are treated to from the makers of these blockbuster films.
That doesn’t bother me all that much. I’ve learned to tune out, slightly, all of the sensual stimulation coming to me as I’m seated in the theater so that I can avoid being overstimulated.
Whenever I go see a movie, one, I make sure I go on Tuesday night so that I can take advantage of the $4.00 deal. Anything to take the bite out of what could be serious hit to my wallet. Two, I definitely get a box of popcorn and a cold drink. The cheapest popcorn and smallest drink are usually exhausted by the end of the trailers. My reasons for doing this is to ensure that at least my taste senses thoroughly enjoy themselves while my eyes and ears are subjected to a barrage of punishment and abuse.
But, how could I consider any moment spent at a movie theater to be anything but an enjoyable experience, you might ask. Precisely for this reason: I abhor having my emotions manipulated by film media even when its supposedly a night out for fun.
This might be a little confusing to you so let me explain.
As far as I’m concerned, whether I’m watching television or a film at the movie theater, what I am watching, technically is not real. Now, I’ve gone into what I mean about this to a certain degree with other examples but it still holds true here. In much the same way as we can not trust any of our five physical senses to actually depict what is true to us from reaching out into the world around us through them, we had better realize that this is the case with every single solitary experience that we have in this world we are living in. How can we? Every piece of physical thing we are witnessing at this moment, whether its a tree, a television or a train, also exists on a very microscopic level. And at that eternally microscopic level all of the atoms making up those molecules of that matter have so much space between them that most of what makes up matter is empty space.
Principally speaking, and from a strictly objective viewpoint of reality, nothing exists independently of you outside where you are viewing it from. It can’t. That’s empirically proven and you can skirt around it and pleasantly deny that fact but when it comes down to it you might as well accept it because you cannot escape it.
Well, the purpose of my article isn’t to annoy you with such unforgiving facts as this. I mention this only as a means with which to make a point.
Therefore, based upon what I’ve said, the movie being projected upon the screen in the theater is nothing for you to be taking seriously. Granted, you may choose to enjoy this splendid entertainment being fed to you if you please. I will not take that away from you. What I would like to impress upon you is the reason why I would rather not have my senses overstimulated by whats on the screen at any given time.
Rather than being at the affect of any given movie that I happen to watch in the theater or on the television, I always like to make sure that I’m having some sort of give and take going on in my thoughts when I engage in watching a movie. To my girlfriend’s chagrin I sometimes slip into making running comments about whats going on in the movie at any given time. Its purely a defensive measure for fear of being too overly stimulated by the film. Then, like, I’m waking up in the middle of the night from nightmares about the horror picture I just saw.
What tends to help me avoid all of that nonsense is that I do not take what I witness on the screen of a theater or the television seriously. It’s entertainment, make believe, a specter….NOT REALLY THERE. And if its not real then how or why should I take it seriously? And if I am not taking it seriously then it remains as it is, a form of entertainment and nothing else. The movie begins, the credits and soundtrack prepare you for what comes next, the plot of the movie unfolds, characters are introduced, developed, tension is created and alleviated and the unexpected or expected ending is unveiled, the scene fades, the credits roll once again and we leave and go home.
And for all intents and purposes, you probably got what you paid for…..but all that you experienced was ENTERTAINMENT and nothing else.
You might have experienced some scary moments in that horror film. You might have cried a few times during that emotionally packed romantic scene or when the character you identified with experienced some traumatic loss. There probably were some cliff-hangar scenes which took you breath away but you came out of the theater unscathed, didn’t you? The movie ended and you’re pretty much the same as when you went in. Except for the fact that now you have been clearly very emotionally impacted by this film which you choose to release yourself from by discussing it with the person you shared the viewing of the movie with. It was all very interesting but now it is over.
What I’m trying to get at is simply this. Why not, instead of being at the affect of life all of the time which is often hard not to do, why not instead, choose to be an observer at least initially, to a small degree to begin with? In this way you are not experiencing your life subjectively but from an objective viewpoint.