Scripted And Unscripted Realities

There’s a movie shooting outside the coffee shop I work from these days. Just across the street from the coffee shop there’s a park, and somewhere on the right there’s a relatively large open space used for weekly flea markets. In that space there’s now a filming setup. Catering cars, electric material, some lightning devices and, of course, an entire team buzzing around. I assume they film in the park, in front of the coffee shop and also in the open space. That’s actually a good spot, because it cut costs significantly. You can shoot different parts of the screenplay without physically moving equipment, just set up slightly different scenes and turn the cameras in the right direction.

As I left for lunch yesterday I caught live the shooting of one of the scenes. There was this director guy saying “cut” and “rolling” out loud (in Portuguese) and the team on the field was following him. There was a group of actors right across the coffee shop, surrounded by another group of camera people. I couldn’t quite hear what they were talking about, but, from afar, they all looked very natural. That’s the whole point of being an actor, I assume, the ability to look natural even when you’re relentlessly told when to start and when to stop, while being surrounded by a bunch of guys filming you.

In about 15 minutes the scenes (because they filmed various parts) were ready and the team took a break. I continued my walk, passing by the movie setup and thinking how we’re all part of these overlapping realities.

If I would have to zoom in the actors group, that was a valid reality. People talking, very natural, their reactions predictable, and their discussion probably making sense. But zooming out, you see all this setup, and you realize they are performing. Zooming even more, you see the director and you realize their performance is not improvised, but scripted. They’re told what to do, how to behave.

Suspended Disbelief

That’s a less popular name for hypnosis. It’s a state in which your natural defenses are low and you are inclined to believe, for instance, that some colored pixels moving on a flat screen are actually characters, engaged in a love story, and you’re even emotionally participating in their reality.

Suspended disbelief makes it possible to engage in scripted realities, like a movie.

But scripted realities are way more pervasive than experiencing a movie, while knowing that’s actually a movie.

To a certain extent, almost all our so called “reality” is scripted. We get the “rolling” and “cut” from our boss at our job, for instance, and we do what we’re told to. We learn some skills and we deploy them in a controlled environment, more often than not artificial. An office, a factory, something that was previously set up, just like the setup outside my coffee shop. We “take cues” from our life partners, or we try to create stories for them to engage in.

Knowing that almost our entire reality is, to a certain extent, scripted, makes it easier to navigate it. All you have to do is to zoom out. Try to understand where are the scene boundaries and who, from the outside, is calling the shots. Try to understand who the actors are. Hint: we are all actors, playing certain roles, it’s just the compensation that differs: it’s not always money, most of the time it’s safety, predictability, self-validation. And the directors, the ones calling the shots, well, there are more than one. For some of the scenes, it’s easy to spot them. Like in our job, the director is our boss. Or in our relationship, we’re both taking turns at being the boss (or at least I hope that’s how you’re doing it). But for other, larger scenes, those calling the shots are hidden deep down in the fabric of society, propagating their orders via layers and layers of scripted reality on top of scripted reality.

All this process of understanding the scripts behind scripted realities is a form of reverse social engineering, which means it’s not easy. No reverse engineering process is, being it social or not. But it’s well worth it, especially during times in which mass hypnosis is prevalent.

In case you didn’t realize it yet, we are in times in which mass hypnosis is prevalent.

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