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July 30, 2010


Drew Byrne

Relying on the principle of having the right to be obstreperous, I find this mini-essay upon the lack of believability unbelievably hard to get on with, or even believe in on principle; perhaps it is not “suspension of disbelief” here that is at issue, but one’s basic right to believe what one wants when one wants to wherever and whenever that may be, and however ridiculous, unproven, or unpopular that is, and then to do it anyway. Of course, my general right to say this, unbelievably, can be brought into question whatever I believe to be the case, once stated; but luckily, that will not stop it being posted here in the School of Life’s blog at least. However, suspending the non-belief that belief can be suspended is quite within the realms of possibility. As there nothing is certain, and if nothing is certain why not believe what you want? At least for a minute or two: it couldn’t hurt. Or not hurt you except that you did something stupid while doing so, in which case, you shouldn’t do it, either in the cinema or elsewhere. But, after all is said and done, it is not sure that amid the dull uncertainties and grey hues of thought that occur in the mind perused and pursued while committing the positive action of even trying to suspend disbelief, a deeper understanding of the story of life may not so easily resolve itself in reality – too bad, or not, whatever may be the case.

Margaret Gallagher

I agree also - and it was a joy to see this article in the ES on Friday. It is refreshing to discover more of us who are happy to be visible in this climate of fear of being wrong.
It is is the source of ultimate freedom to be unafraid of uncertainty; understanding the absolute necessity for it - seeing both the promise and the grace of that most beautiful, creative and peaceful of states.

Paul Lemmon

I whole-heartedly agree with this, although I don't think it's necessary to conflate the desire for facts eg in science, crime investigation, truths about history with a lack of imagination or ability to accept ambiguity and mystery about existence. Though I suppose one has an affect on the other.

I have to say I blame the likes of Richard Dawkins for this growing trend. The idea that absolutely everything has to be provable and evidence based has the potential for draining the colour out of life. Particle physicist Brian Cox is getting dangerously close to this too with his latest and most infamous assertions, implying that religious faith is unintelligent and anyone who thinks the Hadron Collider will create a black hole is a 'twat'. I found it fun to imagine the create of a black hole in Switzerland. I love Cox's work, but it's telling that he was the science advisor on Danny Boyle's Sunshine, which was, as a film and work of artistic vision, a resounding bore - lacking in flair, poetry or richness of imagination.

Careful, Big Dawkins is watching you.

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