Emotional Attachment Clouds Our Judgment

There was an aspiring filmmaker whose only concern in life was to watch and make films. He had made filmmaking his mission from his earliest childhood with posters of superstars in his room, and when teachers asked him what he would want to be when he grew up, ‘a film director,’ he answered, astonishing everyone else in the class who wanted to be either a doctor or an engineer.

His family wasn’t financially great so they made this guy their vessel for a better life.

‘One day he will earn and give us a good life,’ they thought and said. Our guy knew this.

‘One day I will make films and earn and give myself and my family the life they want,’ he thought and said to himself.

He walked the talk too, as he took notes from the films he watched and even went to watch a couple of film shoots. He was dissatisfied with his country’s films, so, ‘I will change the course of films here,’ he said to himself.

Time passed, he grew up and the world changed.

After high school, he joined a filmmaking college — to the dismay of his family members.

‘We could have afforded your engineering in a nice college,’ they said.

‘I will make films, he said to them with a nod of his head.

He graduated from the film school with a great reputation and good friends. Everyone there was inspired by his passion and awestruck by his execution.

‘You are good,’ they said.

‘I have to be,’ he said to himself. He decided not to work anywhere and go full throttle on his mission of making films.

His projects began circulating around and mostly got good reviews.

‘I will surely get to make a film with this credibility,’ he said to his best friend at the college, a screenwriter, as they decided to work on a film proposal together. The screenwriter was tasked to write something ‘world-changing’ that could be made in a low budget, while our guy was to direct it. They were ready within three months within which they rewrote the screenplay more than ten times and made thousands of changes. They were now finally ready. They began looking for agents and producers.

But to our guy’s surprise, no one cared about their film.

‘Who will watch this! No one will put money on something like this’ they were told.

‘Why don’t you get into TV shows,’ his teachers suggested.

‘No…I think in an uninterrupted sequence that lasts at least 90 minutes,’ he said.

…and so they persevered. They even added elements of mainstreamness…to no avail! Soon they go dejected. The friend left and started a YouTube channel. Our guy was left alone with his dream and hope (and a little suspicion about something.)

‘When will they call you for a film-award?’ his family asked. He had no answer.

One morning, however, when he was taking a shower, he had this realization:

What was I thinking! Films are dead. Look around, the internet has arrived. There is YouTube and there is TikTok! Nobody has time and patience for films anymore! That’s why mine didn’t get made. It’s not because I don’t have talents…it’s only because I have been trying to make a corpse dance! Films are dead…It’s the age of geeks next door! It’s the age of vlogs and shows. What was I thinking!

It took him a few days but finally he convinced himself that filmmaking was a waste of time and life — a lost cause. With a heavy heart he decided to look for work and given his talent, he didn’t find it hard. He started working as a video editor for an advertising agency.

A few months passed. He had forgotten all about filmmaking and had begun enjoying his editing work.

One day, however, it all changed when a superstar actor visited the advertising agency. All his colleagues — including the girl he had a crush on — gathered around the superstar as he signed autographs and gave kisses. The superstar’s hands unintentionally touched his crush’s intimate part too!

Our guy was devastated. He turned around and searched for that superstar on the internet. Apparently, his latest movie had been extremely popular and made a lot of money!

What was I thinking! Our guy thought:

Films aren’t dead. Look around, look at the relevancy of this superstar. Yes, there is YouTube and there is TikTok…but 90% of their content is dependent on films! Films can’t die! Mine didn’t get made because the story was loose, not because I don’t have talents. Films aren’t dead…It’s not just the age of geeks next door…even geeks watch films! Films are eternal. What was I thinking!

He decided to pursue filmmaking as he wrote a new script and passed the idea around.

RESULT: THE SAME AS BEFORE:

He couldn’t get his film made!!!!!

What was I thinking! Films are dead. Look around, the internet has arrived. There is YouTube and there is TikTok!…he thought as he edited an ad.

Once when the ad video director was out absent, our guy was given the task of directing. And while he was in the studio directing it and surprisingly to himself, even enjoying it, he had an idea:

‘What if I begin making ad length films with depth as much as full-length? Just like Haikus?!!’

He then got excited, and when he returned home, called his YouTube friend (who was still struggling to reach his 1000 subscribers) and told of his plan. The friend agreed. They wasted no time and began making mobile-films. They went out each weekend and shot…and shot and shot…came back and edited and edited…and edited….and posted and posted and posted….

A few months later, they both got popular from their channel. While the money wasn’t much, they got to participate in a film festival where they were even nominated for innovation. Our guy continued his job.

One evening, as our guy looked out from the bus window, these thoughts occurred to him:

Films have changed. Look around, the internet has arrived. There is YouTube and there is TikTok! It’s hard for people to enjoy films now as more concise forms have appeared. Nobody has time and patience for films anymore, just like theatre became unpopular after the arrival of films and TV. It’s natural. That’s why mine didn’t get made. It’s not because I don’t have talents…it’s only because I tried to make a corpse dance! Films have changed…Yes, it’s the age of geeks next door, but one day even these types of content will fall out-of-trend. We are a creature of experimentation and I am glad I am doing one. That superstar was relevant because he is a hangover from the past. Once that generation goes, 90+ minutes of films go too!!! My generation is supposed to try to create Tarkovskian depth in under 2 minutes…

I wrote this story to show how our emotional attachment towards something clouds our judgment towards it. The color of grass is based on how we feel about the grass. The grass is either yellow, green or both.

When our guy had his first realization in the shower that films were dead, his was the case of grass being yellow on your side. This was because his life depended on filmmaking and he was anxious lest it be irrelevant. He was financially, morally, ethically, socially, culturally, nationally and more important — emotionally — attached to filmmaking. The case of not valuing what we have.

When he saw the superstar, his was the case of grass being yellow on your side. This was because his life no longer depended on filmmaking and he was anxious if he missed something huge. The case of valuing what we don’t have.

And finally, when he began making short films and continued his job, his case was the case of grass is both yellow and green — which is what reality is! In this scenario, while he still cared about making films, he wasn’t emotionally attached to it as before as he had no emotional pressure arising from financial, moral, ethical, social, cultural, national factors. He could see the film market as it really was.

Legend has it that our guy still directs advertisement, goes out for mobile films each weekend and has so far directed two art-films, winning four awards — all for experimentation and innovation.

‘This guy has challenged the essence of films…he has understood that 90 minute films are no longer enjoyable and sustainable…and — as much as I hate to agree — he seems to be right. Films needed massive change in order to survive, and this guy has taken a bold step in it…,’ said one of the announcers pointing at our guy.

This is how things are with us all. When we are on the verge of possessing something we have long aspired to, we tend to get doubtful about its value. Similarly, when we are sure that we will no longer pursue such things, we feel like we’ve let go of something valuable. On both occasions, we miss the true information about the thing. It becomes about us and our desires.

But it doesn’t always have to be about possession, there’s a lot simpler love-hate dichotomy. It applies to people, places, concepts, etc. We pull or drag the bulkiest of logic to see the things we love and hate exactly the way we want to see them. The fun part of it is that we are not conscious of the process of our reasoning and we get certain that what we are looking at is the truth! Just look at the way we perceive our loved ones and hated ones. This applies to nations and religions too, just look at the way people with nationalist sentiment defend their nations and condemn their enemy.

Emotional attachment in this way is a tricky thing with enough subtleties and complexities to cloud our perception and judgment.

While it is great to love or be emotionally attached to things, it is not a great idea to try to look at the truth of those things. They should be limited to feeling and should be enjoyed. There’s no point injecting intellectual judgments into them.

Q: So, what about conditions where we want to see the truth of those things?

A: We need to probably take a short hiatus from attachment and go try what Nietzsche suggests:

Do not stay in the field!
Nor climb out of sight.
The best view of the world
Is from the medium height.

Q: What about beauty? Isn’t beauty = truth?

A: I say, beauty > truth.

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Adesh Acharya

Adesh Acharya

Author | Mind & Human Study, Direction | Think, See, Experience Mind-Life-World (with me). Subscribe to me via email. More at https://fradesh.com |