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Showing posts from December, 2010

The Willing Suspension of Disbelief

The English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge said  in 1817 that reading required a "willing suspension of disbelief" from the reader. In other words, the reader must voluntarily and consciously agree to believe the author, no matter how fantastical the plot or unlikely the outcome.

This willing suspension of disbelief--this voluntary pretending--allows us, as adults, to experience the world the way a child does. You see, children start out believing in the impossible. They believe the world is good, and wonderful, and that magic lurks around every corner. But children are in a hurry to be adults. They quickly become jaded and caustic. Teens, especially, are eager to be more "grown up." They don't realize that in growing up, they're sacrificing the most precious gift they're born with: the gift of belief. An easy ability to believe, to hope, and to have faith. The ability to get totally and unabashedly excited about something.

Of course, we adults still do t…