Art is a platform that dares reality. It stretches the limits of reality and tends to over step these boundaries all to serve the purpose of the piece of art. This is where the suspension of disbelief comes in. One must set aside their typical conventions and ideas of society and accept the unusual; this allows them to explore literature, drama, and fine arts without having to be oppressed by actuality. Suspension of disbelief is a phrase the originated in 1817 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in which he directed towards audiences of literature. He preached the isolation of what is already known to imagine that the extraordinary can be endorsed. They key term here is imagine. We must imagine that the unconventional is conventional and we must imagine the surreal. The way of knowing used towards art when referring to suspension of disbelief is imagination and more specifically imagination out of the boundaries of reality. So it is crucial to include the element of omitting what cannot be accepted for art as an area of knowledge but how does suspension of disbelief apply to other areas of knowledge?
Religious systems do require the suspension of disbelief when it comes to the belief of these systems. The two areas of knowing included in this area of knowledge are faith and reason, but does reason compliment faith in religion? People must have faith in the religion systems, and this faith is usually derived from what people believe in with lack, in spit of or against evidence, hence excluding reason. When you have faith in any religion the ideas seem too abstract for the human brain to comprehend, even with explanation. Faith by definition is the “strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.” This does not mean that elements of religion are not real; it just means that the process of believing in these notions is similar of the one for the arts, thus requiring the suspension of disbelief. Meaning that faith does not necessarily need evidence within reality. So for one to fully believe in religious systems they must suspend their disbelief, and to believe in the surreal.
Some might argue however that reason and faith do go together, but to what extent? This concept is called rational faith and it is the belief based upon hard-based evidence. So it is not a matter of blind faith but a matter of having a real reason for ones beliefs. Lets take the Abrahamic religions as an example. With the explanations found in the Abrahamic books, faith can be fully employed because it is presenting reasonable evidence. But when one ponders over these notions they begin doubting the credibility and the truth of these concepts and they become skeptical. So to a certain limit suspension of disbelief can be applied here. But faith and reason do come hand in hand when dealing with religious systems, because they share a common goal, which is truth, and arriving at true knowledge.
Another area of knowledge where suspension of disbelief can be applied is the indigenous knowledge systems. These systems refer to the traditions and cultures of different indigenous societies. For a society to be considered an indigenous one, it must fall under a certain criteria established by the UN. For instance it must have a specific economic and political and system, it also must have distinct beliefs and cultures. These cultures may include traditions that vary from different rituals and ceremonies, and may seem unusual to other people. Some rituals may even seem unethical and immoral to other societies. Ones certain beliefs and emotions must be suspended when judging these traditions; this is where faith as a WOK comes in. So how can ones faith interfere in their judgment of ethics? Faith would naturally refer to ones beliefs and morals, which set a person’s standards for what seems acceptable and unacceptable. Another WOK that can be taken into consideration is emotion and how it affects understanding. Emotions are also a major component in judging a certain issue, or in this situation, a certain tradition. Ones feelings, if not controlled, could cloud their judgments and would then lead to irrational conclusions.
Avery controversial ritual that is still being practiced is self-flagellation. It involves inflicting pain on oneself using whips with attached blades. Sympathy and sorrow would first hit when ones learns about this tradition. They might disagree with its conventions for believing it is barbaric and goes against their beliefs, disregarding its value to those that practice this ritual. To be able to have a more holistic approach, and a more open-minded perspective of the issue, suspension of disbelief can be implicated, isolating sensitivity and individual morals from assessment to take accept and understand different societies and their beliefs.
Controversy sparks when discussing this issue. Some may associate acceptance as a betrayal to ones stance. Meaning if you ignore what you believe in to accept other concepts then that may come off as weak faith, with some malleability in it. How can the inclusion in shared knowledge appear to be betrayal of personal knowledge? Shared knowledge here refers to societies conventions, in this case certain indigenous traditions. And personal knowledge is an individuals beliefs and ideologies. If one accepts a certain tradition that opposes ones stance then that stance can be easily questioned if not abolished. For example, female gentile mutilation is practiced in Africa, if one were to acknowledge this tradition out of acceptance even though they themselves do not agree with such practices then it may seem as hypocrisy. The way to go about it is to not accept but to respect. And that will allow you to stand by your faith while respecting other cultures.
Overall when it comes to suspension of disbelief the application differs when referring to different areas of knowledge. In religious systems, it addresses putting reason aside as a response to faith, while in indigenous knowledge systems suspension of disbelief discusses faith along with emotions, and how perceiving foreign traditions must be done by accepting what may seem out of realities limits. Suspension of disbelief as a phrase means one thing, but when applied to each area it allows the exploration beyond the edge of reality.
Cite this Essay
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below