Friday, June 28, 2013

How to Watch a Movie (Part II)

All things as is, how could mass media ever be viewed as harmless? Consider that for most of us, the foundation of our thoughts, feelings, and knowledge is overwhelmingly shaped by someone else's recorded information and experience. 

[What is right; what is wrong...what is good; what is evil...what is desirable; what is shameful...who is beautiful; who is ugly...the past; the present; the future; history; your nature; my nature; what is real; what is fantasy...the words one uses and what they mean – and more – each aspect of our lives, directly influenced by movies and all forms of common media.]

TV/film/music/radio/literature/internet/video games only serve to build upon this outside-dependent, inside-deficient, non-reflective, pro-submissive, response to stimulus. All forms of graphed or recorded materials function as propaganda: tools designed to program minds.

Propaganda” as a term tends to stir up unease - and with good reason - however as with any tool, it is not inherently helpful or harmful. The problem with popular programming today is the potential side-effects. Viewed responsibly and with restriction, there isn't much danger. Where there is habitual consumption, void of consideration and discrimination, there is a real danger of becoming a second-hand person, living almost solely thru simulations, rather than actual, engaging life experiences. What's the harm in enjoying a safe virtual world? Unlike the actual world there are no consequences; without consequences, there is no learning. Living without learning betrays both our nature and our purpose behind being here. 

Without realizing it, most of us watch TV and film in order to not think. After this, our thinking - now tainted by these impressions - becomes accustomed to assuming information from a third party. Essentially, someone else is living and acting through our [now dormant] consciousness. It's telling that so many individuals will say they hate being told what to do, yet will willingly sit somewhat still for hours at a time watching someone's else story, and then accept and agree with whatever they saw without question! Rather than trusting the innate sense of right and wrong that is graciously given to all conscious souls, some have come to rely on and endorse the definitions, allowances and expectations set by movies and other media.

This is not by accident, but by design. The most dangerous lies shroud themselves with shreds of truth – just enough to resonate with its receiver, but not enough to negate the lie. Every major motion picture displays images and invokes sounds based on actual things - even the most surreal science fiction or thriller. Much as been said about the heavy use of symbolism in “The Matrix”, but it is not unique there. As quoted in another popular film: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist”.

There is a “hands-washing” technique employed through media, where something is shown as sensationally as possible - “aliens” is one popular subject – and later treated to little credibility or serious discussion outside of the media in question. It is shown in such a way where the film first asks you to believe in its validity for the entire length of the picture, which typically happens without question. Then, after ending, it asks viewers to disregard what was just watched, and carry on as if it carried no significance or relation to anything taking place in the world today. This practice encourages passivity – but if the proverbial shit ever goes down, few will be able to say with sincerity they weren't informed.

[One example is a current TV show: “Revolution”. The premise is based upon the ramifications of modern America losing access to electricity. How many will watch an episode and, rather than simply shrug it off afterward as mindless entertainment, think something like: “...we're so dependent on electricity for energy; if we ever lost power indefinitely I wouldn't be able to make a call, drive, or even feed my family. Maybe I should...”]

Another common technique is to have profound truths or statements layered with deeper meanings spoken by characters who are portrayed as evil, insane, dangerous, flashy, ungroomed, or otherwise unsympathetic. Coming from an unflattering persona, the substance behind what was said either goes missing or ignored. Movies are messages, and as their messengers (i.e. screenwriters, producers, and directors) are flawed and biased, so are they. All the same, it would be wise for the watcher to think critically on the messages shown and what they have to say. 

There are some unwritten, understood rules within this universal reality. One of them seems to be a guard over our will, prohibiting any being or entity from usurping the will of another without their permitting. This may seem untrue, but reflect thoughtfully on any life moment, and see how directly one's own mindset affected the experience of a situation. For this reason, most media carries a warning for those who pick up on it. While much film and TV seem geared towards simply keeping as many people as possible locked in the gaze - distracted and docile - there definitely seems to be a peculiar strain of programming armed with a simple slogan:

                                    Your future is undecided; deal, or be dealt.

Preparation is both a personal choice and any individual's privilege. 

There is an art to every activity, including watching movies. When it's showtime, think about what you're seeing – don't just “take it in”. Be willing to reflect on everything seen, not becoming caught in the web of vicarious living that now has many plugged in, tuned in, and tapped out. And until confirmation is received, assume that anything shown onscreen is based on actual persons, objects & events - no matter the genre, media, or target audience. Also assume anything being presented is heavily edited and structured to appeal to those specific audiences in a most specific way. Also assume that if it's made to cater to you, it is incomplete and potentially misleading.

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