Don’t Watch The Projector!


Here’s a theory.

We all have an internal movie screen. Projected on it are abstract and mystical sensations — something beyond us. It’s like a sensor that only detects the secret, underlying messages in art. It filters out the crisp details, the literal meanings of words, and what we’re left with is a strange and compelling dream viewed by a child-like caveman. Maybe we can never understand the contents of that movie with the conscious, rational, analytical mind.

Is that OK? I think it is.

Plato believed in something called The Theory of Forms. That everything we see in the real world is only a “shadow” of reality — they are only archetypes or abstract representations.

Whether you agree, it’s an idea worth exploring. Instead of claiming one mode of experiencing the world (and yourself) is morally superior, maybe you can learn to switch between them voluntarily. Maybe they are both meant to be used together for a holistic experience.

I’ve found that as I learn the science behind things like music, screenwriting, and cinematography, it’s easy to forget about what’s playing on that internal movie screen. Instead of suspending my disbelief during a film, I see acts, camera angles, and exposition.

The problem is that this can be fascinating, at least at first.

Over time, technique develops into its own language. Is that the language you want to translate all art into for the rest of your life? Maybe disassembling the machine kills it.

Here’s an exercise: when you experience music, try not to listen to the notes, scales, chords, or instruments.

Don’t watch the projector.

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