People go to watch a scary movie that they say kids should not see. Perhaps nobody is truly immune from the effects of violence on screens.
When we humans sit down to watch a movie – a section of our mind may be aware that we are now watching a flat image and hearing prepared sound, but I’m beginning to think other parts of the brain are taking notes as if everything was real.
The way I understand it: The prime directive of our brains is to regulate processes in our bodies while collecting data about the exterior world, and from this data try keep us safe from harm. Of all our senses, the eyes have given us reliable information about the physical world around us for all since creation. The brains of humans, as well as insects, animals, fish, fowl have trusted the eyes to tell what is real in the world, what was good, what was dangerous, etc.
Only in the last 20 years humans have habitually been staring at moving images that are not real.
A part of us think we know the difference, but other parts don’t: Notice that when we sit in a movie theater and the camera takes us for a roller-coaster ride we instinctively hold on to the armrests, because parts of our brains don’t want to take the chance that the building we are in has secretly been put on rails and are going down. Another example: People who watch a porno-movie can get charged up as if they were on the set.
Part of our brain knows we are watching a screen, but to the rest it makes no difference. It will take notes, fire off adrenaline and when we leave the theater we take a bit of the personalities we saw with us. We also take with us ideas and conclusions that we learned from the movie.
Kids at an early age learn that it is good humor to drop an anvil on someone, shoot them with a cannon, or blow them up with dynamite. We adults then act surprised when their play becomes real violence. Each day millions watch soap-operas, in which the characters cheat, steal and have affairs as a rule. Do we really think this has no effect on how we interact with each other? If so why are advertisers paying up to half a million dollars for 30 seconds of airtime during the Superbowl?
Perhaps visual & audio input is a little like food. We may eat junk-food and think that the body will understand the concession we made due to time, cost or convenience – but the body still looks at every molecule with the greatest of interest trying to incorporate it into our organism. The data stored in our minds from a violent movie is incorporated into our system. Usually our brains will conclude that in order to survive we must be aggressive and ruthless. The producers movies know what strings to pull to give us an “experience”, but the role-models they present to the unsuspecting subconscious mind probably not helpful to create trust between human beings.
My hope is that we collectively will soon tire of “junk-info” and find other ways to experience life fully. Our bodies have no choice in accepting the air, the food and also the data that we feed ourselves.
Once something has entered our system, we have very little influence over how it is stored and dealt with. If you want to have a healthy mind, choose wisely what data you give it.