Documentaries & Understanding Reality

Documentaries make you understand reality much better, especially those made by reputable producers who have a good understanding of filmmaking, directing, science and art. Documentary films are nothing more than a montage of sights and sounds relating to the subject. Their contents, however, and the way they are processed to form a montage, convey lots of information in a very a short time, in a way that no book or newspaper or any other source of information could ever dream of doing.

Speaking of books and newspapers, let's compare them to documentaries to see why the latter is so much better. First of all, documentaries appeal to all of your five senses, namely sight, sound, touch, taste and smell, which all have so much more to say than mere words. The last three are a product of your own imagination, which could be considered a welcome side effect of documentaries. Even your experience of time becomes distorted as you virtually travel huge distances and completely become absorbed by the material. Your brain fully engages with everything it sees, because there is no room for any distraction at all. The flow of information is much smoother and faster, and as a result you get more out of your time. This also makes watching documentaries a pleasurable experience because you no longer have to spend hours of reading books to understand a certain subject.

People observing fish in huge aquarium Carefully observing fish. A great way to complement your reading about them.

Second, your experience of the world is much more direct, realistic and firsthand. People and events suddenly seem to be in your backyard! Experiences are much deeper, and in turn, your opinions are heavily influenced by the resulting emotions as well. In my opinion, this is the best way of forming opinions: The more we experience, both emotionally and in a purely informative sense, the more we are in touch with ourselves AND with reality at the same time. Both are needed to form a well-thought-out opinion. In addition, documentaries usually have a tendency to reinforce emotions much better than books, in the same way movies do. Lots of beautiful images, music and narration can be artistically interwoven with the reality-documenting part to bring about sparks of imagination and emotion in our minds.

Third, documentaries do great at summarizing huge subjects within only a couple of hours! When you're reading books or newspapers, you almost never get the backstory or an overview of what's going on. With documentaries, there's not only a better storyline experience, but you also have a great sense of subject coherence, even of very wide subjects that would take years to form a general understanding of. Thanks to documentary films, you'll always have a bigger map of the world of possibilities, so that you no longer feel tiny and lost under the huge range of complex material.

As a final note, I'd like to add that I'm definitely not picking on books or newspapers or any other source of information. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, but clearly, when it comes to presenting reality in the most lifelike way, there's none better that documentaries at the moment.

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