Theater of Dreams
October 23, 2006 12:55 PM Subscribe
Is there a term for this particular philosophical phenomenon?
posted by hermitosis to Religion & Philosophy (29 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Virtually every single time I watch a movie or a play, something strange happens about halfway through after I've becomed fully absorbed in the plot. Suddenly my mind pulls free from what I am watching and I become hyperaware that what I've been watching and "experiencing" is just a story, as opposed to my life which is very real. And then I am immediately stricken with a reminder that my life is finite, and that the seconds that pass even as I think this are being subtracted from the total sum of my life's moments. I usually sit there for five minutes or so, totally overcome by this awareness, shocked at the reality of life and of my own story, of world history and the lives of my loved ones. Often this is followed by a meditative state filled with uncomfortable existential concerns, or feelings of closeness to whomever I am watching the movie with. And then ultimately it passes as I am drawn back into the world and story of the movie or play that I've been watching. When it's over I usually have forgotten that it happened at all.
This happens no matter where I am, whether I love the movie or hate it, whether I'm alone or with a whole group of friends. And it happens every time. It isn't bad, but it is intense and haunting, and it's gotten to the point that I have started limiting the amount of movies I watch, in favor of more interactive pasttimes. However, this never seems to happen to me when I am reading books, for some reason.
I rarely drink or ingest anything that is usually associated with these philosophical revelations. I first noticed this happening about five years ago. Does anyone else experience this, and is there a name for it?