“Distance not only gives nostalgia, but perspective, and maybe objectivity.”
– Robert Morgan
We were sitting in my friend’s living room back in ’09. It was winter and we’d left a bunch of Coke cans out in the snow on the backyard. Three TV’s were set up and we were playing GTA IV online on our PS3’s.
One of my friends went to grab a few cans and I looked at his screen to get a better view of where the other team was since I was sitting pretty in the back of the chopper.
I suddenly remembered this “car simulator” toy made by Tomy back in the 80’s.
When my friend came back I said: “Do you guys remember that car simulator thingy from the 80’s? It’s the same thing with this game. It isn’t the character that’s moving. It’s the world around it.”
Everyone groaned and one guy said: “Thanks for ruining it! Jeez, I’ll never be able to look at the game the same way.”
I just laughed it off. But it did kind of break the immersion for a while.
Weird how such a little shift in perspective can completely alter our experience of something.
But does understanding how something works really “ruin” the experience?
I was talking to someone about how much we both loved the Scorpions (the band, not the arthropod). When I started talking about how certain riffs and songs were construced he stopped me.
“I don’t want to know about that stuff. I want it to remain a mystery.”
A little bit surprised I asked him what he thought would happen if he did.
“If I understand how they actually did all that stuff I’m afraid the magic would disappear somehow.”
I could understand that.
What if the Road Runner had known that it was only paint?
That’s actually what I feel everytime I unlock something that’s been a mystery to me.
I remember when I had film class in high school and the teacher explained which effects, camera angles and techniques were used in movies.
It took me 6 months to be able to enjoy movies without going “Oh, that’s how they did that”. Effectively this understanding “ruined” my experience of movies for a while.
But once I got over that hump I could actually appreciate it on a much deeper level. The craftmanship behind constructing a narrative through writing, lighting, editing etc. All designed to make us feel a certain way and to tell a story. It was powerful.
It’s all done to fool our eyes and mind into believing that we’re taking part in something that we really aren’t. But it also requires us to suspend our disbelief about how things are or ought to be and simply accept what is. Now, that takes some convincing.
When we choose to learn how something is crafted it’s hard to fool ourselves back into believing the trompe l’oeil. We might simply know too much. However, with time we can be a little more detached and merely wonder at what’s been brought into being and also appreciate the craft behind it.
Maybe it’s OK for us to be Wile E. Coyote and slam into that wall once in a while.
I found this poem by Robert Morgan. It got me thinking about how we’re all in the middle of the infinity symbol (∞). The future is this big bubble to the right narrowing in on us and the past on the left expanding and then contracting.
All we’ve got is this moment.
This little pool in the air is not a spring but sink into which trees and highway, bank and fields are sipped away to minuteness.
All split on the present then merge in stretched perspective, radiant in reverse, the wide world guttering back to one lit point, as our way weeps away to the horizon in this eye where the past flies ahead.
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!