Saturday, November 22, 2008

A skewed view of the world

Last week I mentioned there was a particularly great line in High Fidelity I wanted to explore.

Bec, in her comment on that post, was on the same wave length, beating me to my follow-up post! (Just trying to squeeze two blogs out of one book :) )

The line involves Rob’s musings about how people whose lives are closely bound by music (or other forms of emotive storytelling) can end up with a skewed view of the world, particularly when it comes to relationships:

Maybe we all live life at too high a pitch, those of us who absorb emotional things all day, and as a consequence we can never feel merely content: we have to be unhappy, or ecstatically, head-over-heels happy, and those states are difficult to achieve within a stable, solid relationship.

Is that true?

Do great stories skew the way you see the world and live your life?

Whether it’s because you’ve read too many romances and no partner can ever measure up, or one too many crime novels, and you live in a constant state of fear, or one too many downbeat literary novels, and you feel there’s no hope to ever find happiness because the world is so flawed?

I know the books I read can colour my mood for hours, even days, afterwards (rarely more than that, unless I’ve deeply connected with the story), but I think my reading material is so eclectic that I’m generally not overwhelmed by one particular emotional theme.

I have a tendency to over-analyse most things, and I tend to experience emotions in their extremes, but I don’t think that’s because of my reading material, but more something in my own personality (or was it created from absorbing so much emotional material vicariously, in addition to my own emotional reality?)

OK, I’m going to stop now, before I hurt myself with over-analysis…

Anyone else given much thought to this topic?


Linda Jacobs said...

Interesting! I think that is why I prefer fiction to nonfiction; I'm able to tell myself that it's just a story and not real so it doesn't affect my mood for very long, if at all.

the ink-stained toe-poker said...

I agree.
I think you'll hurt yourself with over analysis.

here I came on to point your regular readers to the homeless world cup. This is an awesome clip...

and you can learn more about the actual tournament here...

Homeless World Cup

or on my own blog.

I hope you buy an issue now Westie, thanks for the comments.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I think I've spoiled myself with idealistic fiction. Especially when it comes to politics! But maybe I like those kinds of stories because I'm naturally idealistic...

That's an interesting point about relationships - I mean, how often do you see a stable, happy, lasting relationship on TV?

I also worry that watching too much TV and reading makes me less inclined to work for the happy ending because I'm used to it just happening in front of me.

Bec said...

Wow, now you know just how super-behind I am, but I can't help leaving a comment for this one. Even if it is 3 weeks late....
I personally think that a life saturated by music would have more of an effect than one saturated by reading. Mostly because with music you get a two-fold effect. With a story, you simply have the words, and the story itself, which conveys the emotion. However, with music you get the double whammy of words/story as well as the emotional content of the music itself (do you know, as a child I would always turn the TV over when the theme song to M.A.S.H. came on, because it made me want to cry and I found it so so depressing. And it was just an instrumental. Only years later did I discover that the name of the piece is "Suicide is Painless"). Anyway, back to my argument, I also think that the lyrics of songs fit more emotional content into a short space, as they read more like poetry than a story. So you get a concentrated dose of 'intensity'. I know what you mean about a book colouring your world for a period of time after reading it, but I think these instances are rarer than if you listen to music every day...but that's just my opinion.. XXX Bec