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"Suspending Disbelief"

This is a question often asked:
How can you believe in something with no proof?
It’s the basis for agnosticism and atheism.
It has occurred to me that we can start by suspending disbelief.
Whether we realize it or not,
we do it every day.
It’s easy.
Every time we watch a movie or a play,
we suspend our disbelief.
We push it into a corner of our mind
so it doesn’t get in the way of our enjoyment of the story.
During the opening credits
we are more aware that it’s just a movie,
and the people are only actors.
After a few minutes our disbelief fades,
and we begin to believe the drama playing out in front of us.
We get into it
because we want to.
Especially good movies can stick with us for life,
almost as though they are memories of our own experiences.
In a way they are.
In 1969 we were feeling pretty insecure
and were helped by a book titled: “The Magic of Believing”,
by Claude Bristol.
The author lays out a formula for suspension of disbelief
in real life.
He claims that if we can convince ourselves of something
it increases the odds of it coming true...
that it generates a psychokinetic energy that can change things.
Like Uri Geller bending spoons with his mind.
Pushing aside our disbelief, according to Bristol,
shifts our mind into a more powerful gear.
OK, back to us in 1969.
We were renting a comfortable old house,
driving an old car,
and worrying about old bills.
As prescribed in the book,
I started picturing things I wanted to happen.
I even practiced by looking at the sky and moving clouds
by picturing them moving in a way I chose.
I thought I could do it.
Sometimes I would draw pictures of things
to help embed them in my brain.
On Christmas morning 1969
(about three months before our first big hit “Tennessee Birdwalk”)
we had a new Corvette in our carport,
wrapped in a red holiday ribbon.
A couple of years later,
while moving to a different house,
I was going through boxes of papers,
and found the worn copy of “The Magic of Believing”.
Inside the back cover of the paperback
I was surprised to find a drawing of a new Corvette.
I must have drawn it months before it became reality,
in an effort to cram it into my head.
To “believe” it.
Over the years
I’ve just about lost the knack of making myself believe.
I went back and read the book again,
but the impact of first discovery was gone.
This morning I was scanning some pictures
to load into my computer
and I came across the photo of Misty and me with the new car.
It made me think.
I’m going to try harder to get that feeling back.
I think that sometimes miracles can happen.
Click for pictures:
October 1969...
Christmas 1969...

Copyright © March 6, 2004, Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.


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