Alternate Title: The narrative we’re told leaves an impression that shapes our perspective
Inspired by this Ted Talk about the danger of a singular narrative.
[And I’ll probably turn this into a series called the Narrative Collection.]
[Reoccurring Thought: As long as you’re a part of society, there are expectations pressed upon you.]
The media we consume can have a life-changing impact. And if you wonder why, consider how you react to it. A deep analysis or quick judgment call you make about a character can be applied in real life.
Just because media can create fantasy worlds, doesn’t mean we don’t find connections and lessons to apply to real life. [Fiction is a great educator and storyteller.] Sometimes, just watching a character with a certain struggle is enough for us to empathize with their real-life counterparts. And this is one of the most noteworthy effects of media. Something doesn’t need to be real for us to empathize. And so while we know that real life and fiction are different, it doesn’t always cause us to respond differently.
For example, if every romance movie you watch has the awkward guy get the quirky girl, you’ll expect it to keep happening. And even if you know it plays out differently in real life, you will still expect it to some degree.
Once we’re used to something, it usually settles in as our default expectation. And any new possibility we encounter often gets questioned, dismissed, minimized as a rare exception, or cautiously accepted. Unless, of course, the new possibility is something we desire. Then we might accept it quickly and with open arms.
This is how we typically live life. Until something broadens our horizons, there’s no rush to look past expectations. And we have a ton of expectations. Whether it involves which character gets a happy ending, the actor who seems to play certain roles, or why that stranger is tweeting about their life at 3 am… we often already have preconceived ideas and expect them to be true.
Simply put, humanity is really good at being judgy.