Fairytales, term to introduce a new idea or way

Fairytales, fictions and alternate realities. These concepts have become a large part of everyone’s story, whether it be a child’s bedtime story, or a film to keep us entertained for as short or long period of time. This is where we as humans have been utilizing an idea called suspension of disbelief without fully recognizing it. Suspension of disbelief, within arts and entertainment, is used quite commonly to help portray a false reality and make it more realistic for any viewers or the audience. Suspension of disbelief is, in the case of theatre and the general arts, when someone abandons their sense of reality to adopt concepts or ideas that seem unrealistic. Within reality we can see suspension of disbelief used throughout various areas of knowledge in differing ways.The first area of knowledge, the sciences, uses this term to introduce a new idea or way of thinking while the second area of knowledge, history, uses the idea of suspension of disbelief through differing views and beliefs on how historical events should be recorded and remembered. Within the sciences, new discoveries are being made frequently and will always be impacting the ever changing modern society in unpredictable ways that we always seem to be able to achieve. But, in the first half of the eighteenth century, which many consider to be the “age of reason”(8), including ideals based upon reason and logic. Later, in the last decades of the eighteenth century, when the philosophy of Kant(5) showed the general public the creative powers of the mind, imagination in all aspects of life began to be appreciated. With Kant’s aesthetics, he believed that our responses to beautiful objects, and the objects themselves, were involved in sense and feeling, “but were not cognitive”. This concept relates to the suspension of disbelief as these concepts directly reference the notion of reacting to beautiful images without fully recognizing that they are thinking and judging the object to be beautiful. Kendall Walton(1), an aesthetic philosopher, opposing Samuel Coleridge’s original formulation on the concept of suspension of disbelief, believes that if we were to truly suspend our disbelief, then we would shout out when we witness an endangered individual onscreen. Instead, Kendall Walton believes that his theory of representation or the make-believe theory is more applicable. This theory includes an idea to a philosophical problem called the paradox of fiction. The paradox of fiction is, essentially, the idea that we are moved by fictional realities, even though we recognize that they do not exist. How Kendall Walton addresses this paradox is by claiming that the emotions we experience are quasi emotions. Walton’s theory proposes that we are moved, but not moved so that we are entirely experiencing these emotions when presented with a fictional reality. These ideas can be related to the above situation as they relate to the way we think about, perceive and recognize emotions that could potentially be present with the surrounding environment and situation. In contradiction to this belief there is Frank DeFulgentis(2) and his book Flux. This book is based on the problem of persons with OCD forgetting irrational thoughts and uses the idea of suspension of disbelief to explain why this phenomenon occurs. DeFulgentis suggests that persons experiencing this phenomenon are only suspending their disbelief instead of the notion of forcing ourselves to forget. DeFulgentis also suggests that when a person with OCD is suspending their disbelief, these persons are dealing with their irrational thoughts the same way that we deal with a virus, putting it into quarantine, which allows us to focus on the events and activities that surround us in our daily lives while the irrational thoughts ailing these persons disperse upon their own time. As aforementioned, history only uses this idea of suspension of disbelief to an extent. History uses this notion, in the case of Herodotus in the fifth century B.C., to help catalog history. Herodotus cataloged whatever accounts of that period of history were told, whether they were believable recounts or not, which took an amount of this idea to both catalog and deliver these depictions of history’s events. Frank DeFulgentis’ perspective reflects the above situation as this philosopher looks into how the human mind perceives information that seems illogical in persons with OCD and how they use the concept of suspension of disbelief to forget this illogical information. Within history, records of wars and battles have been recorded differently throughout distinct cultures’ histories, such as in fifth century BC historians such as Thucydides(7) and Herodotus existed; cataloging history how they deemed legitimate. Herodotus(6) when recording history wrote both sides of an event, writes what he believes and leaves the final judgement up to the audience. While his writings weren’t proven to be completely true, a large portion of them were proven true by historians and archaeologists later on. In contrast to this, Thucydides only wrote politically leaving all geographical and ethnographic reports out of any of his writings earning him the name of the father of scientific history by the people who agree with his ways of recording historical events. Thucydides’ style of cataloging history left many events that left considerable impacts on society without a voice. This kind of cataloging allowed for fair judgement from both the catalogers view and the public’s, also allowing for the final judgement of what had legitimately happened historically within the hands of each person of the society individually. Herodotus’ first five of nine books on the Greco-Persian wars describes the geography of every state that the persians had conquered within this war, while the other four tells how the war had played out, describing every detail with equal importance. Samuel Coleridge(3), who had coined the idea of suspension of disbelief, believes that the perfect author-writer relationship is when the reader willingly suspends their belief to enjoy what the author presents to the various readers. This idea is seen, as mentioned above, through the various astronomers’ time from the seemingly preposterous and heretic ideas and claims that was later proven to be true. These notions about the Earth revolving around the Sun that put many astronomers in Galileo’s time in house arrest or death for heresy against the church have been made possible with this idea of suspension of disbelief whether we realize it or not. If this idea of suspension of disbelief wasn’t used by humans to momentarily accept a potentially false reality, then we may still believe in the geocentric system, or not be as far developed within the heliocentric system as we are today. As believed by Coleridge, suspension of disbelief has become an essential part of human life through entertainment, but it has always been a part of, at the very least to a limited extent, other areas of knowledge. Some authors, such as J.R.R. Tolkien(4), don’t believe that this system of suspension of disbelief is necessary and isn’t used within all fictions. Instead, Tolkien believes that secondary belief is used as long as the fictional reality created by the author remains consistent. Tolkien supports this belief with his belief that when a reader willingly suspend their disbelief, that the magic of the art the literature suspends on the reader is already broken by the reader having to willingly suspend their disbelief, breaking the state of mind that was originally created by the author. These perspectives are related to the subject of history, as when these historians catalogued historical events, they were writing a story, which can also be stated as a recollection of events; one perspective from every person involved in the event, and the other taking on a more political view, stating nothing about the effect on the civilian population or the geographical losses and gains of either side. Suspension of disbelief is not a notion that is used within every aspect of life, but is used quite commonly and without ever really realizing that this concept is being used throughout our lives. Suspension of disbelief has been used throughout humanity’s lineage and will continue to do as such as long as we are able to accept potentially false realities that, someday, could very well become a plausible reality, potentially changing concepts and ideas that we have accepted to be reality.