Suspension ofdisbelief is the capability to suspend one’s knowledge and knowing to believethe unbelievable, to put aside one’s logic for the sake of entertainment.Suspension of disbelief is an essential feature of theatre, the arts. Bysacrificing one’s logic to enjoy the fictional world. But is suspension ofdisbelief essential in other areas of knowledge? It could be argued that ‘disbelief’ is highly area of knowledge specificand changes depending the area of knowledge.
The term “Essential” is absolutelynecessary and extremely important. It is being fundamental or central to thenature of something or someone. It is the essence of something and it is themain part of the identity of the area of knowledge. In this case, it is saidthat suspension of disbelief is essential in theatre. As a matter of fact,suspension of disbelief is the very basis of theatre, especially when the storyitself is fiction.
The actors have to suspend their belief to get into the moodof the character that is fiction. The audience have to suspend their belief tooin order to enjoy the show. Disbelief in the arts could be a willingness toaccept the abstracted. Suspension of disbelief is indeed an essential featureof theatre, because without suspending our knowledge of reality, we wouldn’t beenjoying the show.
But suspension of disbelieve can also be applied in otherareas of knowledge. Thereare other areas of knowledge that is essential in suspension of disbelief, suchas Indigenous Knowledge Systems that uses suspension of disbelief as a centraland basis to the very definition of Indigenous Knowledge Systems. Not onlythat, but suspension of disbelief is useful in the conceptual representation ofplace of practical certainty in Natural Sciences. Suspension of disbelief isessential in Indigenous knowledge systems. The Indigenousknowledge systems is grounded by the idea of suspension of disbelief.
Suspension of disbelief is necessary in indigenousknowledge system for it suspending disbelief is central to the very definitionindigenous knowledge system. For example, the idea of “Feng Shui”. “Feng Shui” is an ancient Chinese philosophyabout how humans and their environments interact and have relationships. Itencompasses the principle that everything has energy and is connected toeverything else. It is stemmed in the belief that based on laws of nature,principles, theories and techniques we can understand how to create anenvironment that allows us to be in harmony and balance. It also can guide usto enhance certain areas of our lives. Examples of “Feng Shui” that is appliedto our day to day lives include: Keeping a good, clean environment to livein, which makes perfect sense.
Having furniture and things arranged to be ofbenefit to you and not cause undue stress, which also makes great sense. Sometimesthe orientation of a building and its location makes great sense too. Firstly,applying “Feng Shui” in our day to day basis will harmonize ourlife. There is no replicable scientific evidence that “Feng Shui” ‘smystical claims are real, but suspending our beliefs to believe in “Feng Shui”and applying it will bring harmony to our lives, because by doing so, webelieve that we are doing good and therefore increases our positivity. Suspension ofdisbelief is useful in the natural sciences.
Another example of suspension of disbelief is the theory of blackholes. Black holes are like unicorns; they are considered fantastical creaturesthat flourished on paper, not in life. But today, there are scientificconsensus that black holes are real. Even though black holes can’t be observeddirectly and there is no evidence, astronomers can conclude that black holesare real, they believe that black holes are hidden but present.
Theexistence of the “Black hole” has further developed science and technology to awhole new level, and even though further research is being conducted for theexistence of the so called black hole, by believing its true, it has helpeddeveloped into science and has changed lives. By suspending our believes intosomething that we certainly cannot prove its existence has helped a lot ofscientists and astronomers out there. Suspending our disbelief is not a way to put asideour reasoning to the point of permissiveness in emotion; it just means thatemotion works together with reason in the idea of suspending our disbelief,there is no emotion without reason. Suspending our disbelief or just engagingout empathy on its own is not enough in pursuing knowledge.
Suspension ofdisbelief needs to be connected in real life experience. There is no empathywithout reasoning. The major point of science is not to suspend disbelief, butit is to question things that does not make sense. This is why scientistsexplore particular phenomena’s and patterns to make knowledge. They experimenton their surroundings to make data that will prove or disprove the theoriesthat are already based in our world. Disbelief is skepticism.
There are the benefits ofgently pushing that skepticism to the side and considering that something mightbe true even when you have no evidence of it. Healthy skepticism is the base ofnatural science. The goal of a scientist is to falsify hypotheses. If we’reconstantly looking to confirm of suspend our disbelief in science, then we’renot necessarily going to be super critical or making progress necessarily.
Butat the same time, at what point in the knowledge process does a little bit offaith in science actually help us. Can suspension of disbelief can lead tobelief? Because Einstein didn’t have evidence of gravitational waves when hefirst proposed the theory a hundred years ago, and now the Nobel prize winnersare winning a price because they found evidence. So, suspension of disbeliefcan lead to belief.