10 septembre 2012

Shortcomings of Subjectivity

... and the benefits of rational education, investigation, larger context, critical thinking and objectivity.

Why would you blindly trust your subjectivity???

People believe what they want to believe, not necessarily what is the most probable, or the most likely...
But sometimes things are a little more complicated than what they appear, or slightly different when you change your vantage point, or more complete when you take the time to reflect.

You gotta wonder why anybody would put so much blind faith into their own personal subjectivity as if it was infallible, unique to one single person, characteristic to one's personality, superior to universal knowledge, objectivity... while in fact, experience proves that EVERYONE falls for the same tricks of the mind, optical illusions, that we are slaves to our whimsical taste for random reasons, and entertainment relies on collective conditioning to get programmed responses from us (because that's how our system, our senses, our brains are built). Why on Earth would you reject culture, knowledge, science, technique, canons, standards, education... when your subjectivity is prone to manipulation (voluntary or not)? 

Entertainment is conceived to elicit predicted emotional responses in its audience. The fact that you respond strongly to certain cues is more indicative of an efficient job on the part of the creators than an intimate connection between you and the movie. What happens inside you is what your emotional capital allows to happen. The movie is merely the trigger there at the right place, at the right time.
The regular movie goer agrees to suspend disbelief, plays the game, falls for it, draws satisfaction from it, and asks for more. This relationship is purely subjective, and should remain that way.

But when you postures as a film critic, you CANNOT limit your "critical appreciation" at whatever you felt under the magic spell of dramatic manipulation... you need to snap out of it (possibly on second viewing), and observe from an outsider's perspective whether the tricks are fair or not to the viewer under dramatic hypnosis. Does a movie work only because it's impossible to escape its spell (i.e. hyper-editing that never allows you to judge your state of mind), or because its content is profound and its art is powerful? That's what a critic is useful for.
If you believe that a movie reviewer is only there to take the drug, get an automatic high, and tell everyone that this drug is the gate to Heaven... you're just another average movie goer, victim of marketing propaganda and dramatic manipulation. Everyone can do that if they are allowed to watch movies in advance and give that superficial feedback. A film critic is a little more special than that, or else the critic's opinion is worthless. Thus the importance of education, to bring an independent scrutiny to whatever filmmakers decide to put their audience through, to look through the tricks and ploys instead of blissfully falling for it without an ounce of evaluative ability.

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