Suspension of Disbelief

We human beings seem to have an extraordinary ability to suspend disbelief. Especially when it serves our enjoyment.

For example, whenever we watch a film we suspend our awareness that the film is not real … that we are in fact watching actors represented by coloured pixels on a screen. We suspend disbelief in order to enter into and identify with what’s going on. Our suspension of disbelief is necessary for our enjoyment of the production. And it is achieved without any special effort.

I believe that suspension of disbelief comes so naturally to us because we are already ready doing it 24/7. For example, as spirit souls we are eternal, yet we readily put that awareness aside to identify with our temporary body, place of birth, favourite musician etc. It serves us to do so. It facilitates our enjoyment in the material world.

But what if we find ourself suffering? Going back to the film analogy … if we are watching a TV horror movie that gets too scary, we can always take a break … make a cup of tea. Can we adopt the same approach to life itself if our suspension of disbelief stops serving our enjoyment? For example, can we simply distance ourself from the illusion of our mortality when faced with our own death or the death of others?

We all know that in practice it’s not easy to do so. But perhaps that is because we sub-consciously resist our letting go of illusions that we have spent a life’s duration whole-heartedly accepting as real, rather than any flaw with the concept itself?

What do you think?