The film industry is a significant and exciting creative aspect of modern culture that has a powerful influence on our perception of self and the world. Presenting concepts, ideas and propositions in a strong visual and often emotional context they can touch us in ways that can trigger positive or negative responses in us. The movies can take us places that are beyond our conscious reach or where we, emotionally, do not dare go. Watching a movie can be a very private experience as they often bring up feelings we would normally block in the presence of others. Movies can excite, embarrass and frighten us but they will always hold our fascination.
Our relationship with films is complex and an emotionally very intimate one. Where at one time a storyteller would use colorful words and metaphors to allow them to create their own imagery, a film presents a story in a prescribed visual form. However, we still impose our own values, standards and not to forget, our belief systems on the final product but it also carries the risk in how the experience any media such as film, news stories or advertising could influence how we think and feel. The individuality of our experiences is a good thing and important to our psychological and spiritual growth. What would our world be like if we all were identical in our opinions and choices, likes and dislikes and needs and expectations and so on?
Even though the mind has the innate capacity to distinguish reality from fiction, it is also vulnerable to being influenced by visual and auditory input — something that the political spin-doctors are all too well aware off. Even though ignorance can play a part, our issues and fears are by enlarge responsible through their capacity to distort our perception and therefore the interpretation of what we experience. Fear- based belief supported by emotion can make us accept any concept that supports it. If you believe you in some way powerless, a movie that plays out your fears can reinforce that for you and cement that what you believe is true. The capacity for the media to create a reality that conforms to your fears is great because of the context in which the information is delivered — through audio and visual means.
When the intent is to provide pure entertainment the effects are generally innocuous or even enlightening but they can just as easily be deliberately or unintentionally be a negative or controlling influence. As such a filmmaker does carry a certain amount of responsibility to what they will expose an audience. Particularly if that audience is inexperienced or lacks the capacity for judgment of the experience they are about to have.
The unique psychological make up of the scriptwriter, the producer and other major influencers will decide what and how a movie is ultimately presented on the big screen. Their fears and insecurities cannot be excluded because these will also be apparent in the end result. This will also play a part in shaping the type of audience that will be attracted to have this particular kind of experience.
Each genre has its own fans which each have their own emotional qualities — attractions and dislikes, fears and insecurities whether justifiable or not. This makes understanding what underpins our belief systems so important because once we are adults we are responsible for how we are in the world and influence we allow the media can have on us.
Movies like Avatar challenge our perception of the nature of reality. It makes us challenge our relationship with our natural environment. This can emphasize our ‘disconnected from nature’ and provoke a sense of unfulfillment and perhaps even loneliness. At the same time the story line makes us to question the nature and intent of big business and government, which can bring up a whole number of trust issues in us. The violent solution chosen by the corporation appears to justify the violent response from the planet and every living creature on it but that becomes confusing because it does not fit in with the overall nature of the non-violent care-taking mentality of its population. Our sense of powerlessness in our own lives can make us cheer for such an outcome because we see others triumph over an aggressor from an initially hopeless position.
Many of us wish we could do just that because we cannot see any other means of achieving change in our life. The majority of action movies in particular demonstrate that a violent solution is the only way to get justice. Even if you do not believe that to be true you are not presented with an alternative to arrive at a positive outcome. Young people who in childhood have learned to believe they are powerless and then grow up on this kind of entertainment can be extremely vulnerable. They may emotionally justify being violent as a means to find a solution for their problems or, if they cannot allow themselves to be violent there is no solution for their issues. The result is usually a deepened sense of powerlessness in life because both behaviours will ultimately not get the desired outcome.
There is much more to this than this short article allows me to convey but it serves to remind you that you are in everything you create and experience. What you do with that knowledge is up to you.
For more information on this subject read
The Truth Of Love and Fear
by Rudy Eckhardt
Meta-Credo Pty Ltd