Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Stretching Credulity

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We go through life constantly stretching our credulity and willingly suspending disbelief for matters both real and unreal. It’s not about believing everything we see despite contrary evidence but finding a sense of balance between receptiveness and skepticism, gullibility and cynicism.

We sit through a movie starring a talking spider, knowing fully well that what we see is entirely improbable, but we enjoy it nonetheless. We weep as we watch the elderly couple on screen as they die in bed, wrapped in each other’s arms. It’s just fiction, totally unreal, but we respond to it with real emotions. Going through the initial pages of a Kafkaesque novel whose main character turned into an enormous, watermelon-like breast with a nipple “that can hear and talk and feel sexual stimulation but never reach orgasm, forever howling "more!", we do not immediately dismiss it for sheer absurdity but go along with the author and let him stretch our credulity to the fullest. For works of fiction like Charlotte’s Web, The Notebook and Philip Roth’s The Breast, we willingly suspend disbelief. It is only through the willing suspension of disbelief that we can appreciate fiction and let it enhance our lives. Reason and critical judgment are suspended as we let our imaginations hold sway.

In real life, though something tells us that what we hear is just pure hogwash, we still give it some amount of credence. We say, "sige na nga", though we are not entirely convinced and want to say, "that’s bull", instead. I wonder why we do this. Do we always presume that what others say is true unless proven otherwise? Perhaps we’re just too polite to call into question the veracity of what the person says – to his or her face.

It is often the case that we see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear and believe what we want to believe, despite the red flag signals and contrary evidence. We fail to discriminate between what’s real from what's not. We fail to willingly suspend belief.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

"It is neither necessary or possible to educate someone who never questions anything."

-Joseph Heller, Catch 22

I never questioned the existence of Santa Claus and now Gagamboy. :)

Angeli said...

ergo, it is impossible or unnecessary to educate you? :)

Anonymous said...

Hah! said the mongoloid-looking moron. :)

Angeli said...

Downing people with Down's? hah! :)

 
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