Suspension of disbelief” is an essential feature of theatre. Is it essential in other areas of knowledge? The title states that ‘suspension of disbelief’ is an essential feature of theatre, a discipline within the area of knowledge of the arts and it includes “suspending” our own awareness of this unreality, in order to be immersed in and enjoy the story we are reading, watching or listening to. Therefore, it could be argued that “suspension of disbelief” is essential in the Arts and other areas of knowledge, because in order to be immersed and have a deeper understanding you need to “suspend” your own thoughts of the unreality of what you are interpreting or visualising. Whilst theatre is one of the disciplines in the Arts, which like other subjective areas of knowledge such as Religion provide personal and subjective knowledge through the suspension of disbelief, it could be argued that suspension of disbelief is also essential in other more objective subjects, such as Maths and Science.
Whilst the Arts and Religion, heavily rely on interpretation of symbolic and figurative meanings, which cannot be evidenced through a direct correspondence with reality, Science and Maths also rely on abstract concepts that create a visual representation of reality through symbols and equations, rather than a reality that can be directly observed. It could be argued that suspension of disbelief is, an essential part of knowing in so much as knowing is a process of joiningbetween shared and personal knowledge sectors. In particular, the suspension of disbelief would be a necessary part of the either modifying or promoting personal knowledge. On the other hand, it could be argued that suspension of disbelief is essential in the construction of knowledge as suspension of disbelief is required to test, hypothesise, accept, experiment.Throughout my essay, I will be answering the knowledge questions, how can we measure suspension of disbelief? How does suspension of disbelief play a role in imagination? I will look at whether ‘suspension of disbelief’ is essential or not for these areas of knowledge. Is suspension of disbelief essential for religion? Coleridge states that “transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith”.
“Faith,” in a religious context, does not refer to an abstract sense of hope or confidence but to a particular sort of belief – a belief in something not sufficiently supported by evidence.In Religion, it could be argued that before consuming yourself in a Religion or Faith, you have a realist view on the world. However, once you have immerse yourself in a Religion and you ‘suspend your disbelief’ it allows you to accept what you believe in is real. As in a Religion, much what you believe in is invisible or abstract and it isn’t until you see it acted out in front of us that we start to suspend disbelief.
Evidence for this is looking at the perception of the ‘kingdom of god’. The kingdom of God which is related to the kingdom of heaven in the gospel of Mathew- is one of the key teachings in the New Testament. This states that during life if you believe in god and you are faithful, after death you will spend your afterlife in the ‘Kingdom of God’ or in other words the “heavens”. However, whether this is correct, is not justified or certain because it has neither been fully proved nor disproved with hard evidence. Additionally, people who are religious believe in this, even despite not being able to physically see it. This is therefore an example were ‘suspension of disbelief’ is essential for religion. Another example which could be used is Jesus Christ’s birth. In school or when we were younger most children were taught that Jesus was born in a manger in a stable on the 25th of December and who was a product of god.
Even though we don’t have any proof or visual evidence that this event is valid, most will still celebrate this event. Is suspension of disbelief essential for science? It could be argued that “suspension of disbelief” is essential for Science as it is made up of theories which are either proved or disproved by various scientists. The essence of the power of Science is its predictive power. Science allows us to make predictions about what will and won’t work in terms of technologies and in medicine and the natural world. Science is great at overcoming personal biases or incorrect beliefs. Specific instances of scientific insight can be generalised, using inductive reasoning, to derive general principles of how the world works. Scientists are expected to record and share both their results and their methodologies.
This means that new findings are shared widely and mistakes can be identified. However, some would perceive ‘suspension of disbelief’ an essential part of science. One example of the use of suspension of disbelief could be Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution, as he challenged religious theories, by stating that species evolved over a long period of time; this is how the theory of the evolution of living organisms came about. His theories were quickly rejected, because of the religious values and beliefs of people at the time and the fact that other scientist believed it couldn’t be plausible. This means that Charles Darwin would have had to ‘suspend his disbelief’ so that he would not have doubts about his theory and believe that it is valid, when other scientist contested his theory. Another modern approach could be atoms in chemistry. In Chemistry we are taught that there are atoms which contain electron orbiting around them, and they made up most of our atmosphere.
However, we are unable to actually visually see these, so again we are suspend our reason in order to visualise them and learn about them. You could also link ‘suspension of disbelief’ with the evolution of the dinosaurs. Throughout many centuries the perception of dinosaurs have changed dramatically dinosaurs’ size, posture, lifestyle, colour, and physiology have all changed and developed over the decades. What we first thought were slow, cold-blooded lizards turned out to be agile, warm-blooded birds. This demonstrating that by accepting certain paradigms in Science, we are suspending our disbelief, so that one can make further discoveries, often finding out later that this results in a paradigm revolution where those assumptions become challenged. Furthermore, in order for scientists to determine what the d