The Movie Screen

Back to movies again. This consciousness is like the screen at the movie theater. During one movie the screen may be covered with pictures of glorious landscapes, and lovely people. The audience becomes mesmerized by the story, identifies with the action on the screen. The screen itself is forgotten.

In the next movie the screen is covered with images of blood and violence. The screen itself, however, remains unchanged. It is untouched by what is shown on it. The audience, of course, again gets identified with the scenes on the screen, and forgets the screen.

If the lights in the theater were raised just enough the screen would become visible; the illusion would be broken, the audience would remember the screen and the identification would broken.

We can improve the analogy a little by thinking of the screen as projecting the images on itself. Now it is aware of everything taking place on it, but is untouched by any of it. It is aware of itself as the screen and of the images on it.

And let’s talk about the actors on the screen rather than the audience. The actors appear to have five working senses, plus their thoughts. They see and hear things (some of which are off the screen). They also appear to have thoughts which influence them, they exercise free will and they observe the effects brought about by various causes.

Of course the screen knows that none of that is real.