Once upon a time, I was a movie buff.
I kept tabs on all the latest releases, read the critic reviews, and so on. I was raised on The Lion King, Toy Story, and the rest of the lot. My greatest love in the world wasn’t a person or place…it was Star Wars (kidding, but you get the idea).
What drew me in to film were lights, colors, and sounds. What held my interest were characters and stories. But what really kept me around was the social benefit. Being up on the latest movies made me feel “cool” and in the know.
A shift occurred in me when I began learning about personal development and human psychology. I became aware of the impressionability of our minds. I started questioning things I had previously taken for granted as “normal” or “just the way it is.” I learned that the visuals and ideas we feed our brains actually color and create our entire experience of reality.
One day, I asked myself, “What impact are movies having on my mind?” Sitting in a movie theater is a powerful experience. Think about it. You sit in a pitch black room and stare at a giant screen, which, coupled with stereo-surround speakers, blasts your visual and auditory inputs, causing you to experience dramatic shifts in your thoughts and emotional state. Consciously, you know it's just a movie...but your subconscious has a harder time making that distinction.
After some deep inner exploration, I came to profound revelations. I concluded that movies shown in the typical theater are more about indulgence and distraction, than real meaning. I realized that I was being told how to think and how to feel by people I don’t know and who don’t care about my wellbeing.
When I decided to take a more authentic approach to life, I decided I can be social without having seen the big new movie release. On rare occasions, I still watch movies. But I no longer actively seek them out. I steer completely clear of theaters, except the local one on Broadway that shows indie films. I sold my DVD collection, including Star Wars (gasp!), and haven’t looked back.
Just as I now closely investigate the ingredients in food before eating it, I research movies before watching them to make sure I know what I’m about to put into my brain. Hollywood films are to the mind, as candy and junk food are to the body.
Of course, movies are not inherently wrong or bad for us. Every once in a while, I happen across a film that was created as an artistic expression, rather than for entertainment. Plus, I love movies that encourage me to think and question reality. I love movies that tell an important, authentic, and deeply meaningful story. I love movies that use visuals and sound to showcase beautiful and unique perspectives on life.
What do you think? Are movies a form of art, or are they self-indulgent distractions? Where do we draw the line? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below!
Thanks for reading, friends.
Ethan Small has been posting to Friendly Warrior since 2013 with his experiences and wisdom to inspire others to improve their quality of life.
First time here? Start with these posts:
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