Willing Suspension of Disbelief – what is it?


The release of the movie Avatar had stirred the world. While watching the movie, people (most of them) were actually connecting with all of Jake Sully’s (the protagonist) emotions. At times people had teary eyes and the next minute they were filled with joy to see Jake run. This kind of connecting with fiction and drama has been a part of humanity since eons.

It happened with many more movies, many more television soaps, novels and theater acts. Take for example; mythology, promotion and advertisement, fiction or the large industry of entertainment, we see this everywhere. Remember the first time when television stepped into the houses of people? If you were a part of that era, you will know the reactions of people watching T.V soap on that idiot box.

All the work of fiction actually works because we simply suspend the disbelief we have for the act. We willingly accept it and enjoy the work of fiction which most of the time lacks logic. If we have to talk about the mythological characters and the stories that revolves around it, for example, in Mahabharata, the act of Draupadi’s cheer haran where the saree had no end is somewhat difficult to believe however, we take it with a pinch of salt.

We have seen the use of this philosophy in advertisements and promotions as well, one such ad is the Happydent White ad that has won Cannes award for its action. Though it is impossible to have such super sparking teeth (as portrayed) that can be simply used to light up our houses when there is a power cut, even though it might just talk about slavery but we keep those logic behind and still enjoy it thus bringing in the philosophy of ‘willing suspension of disbelief’.

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