Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Movie Enthusiasts might have Better Imagination than Book Readers

Source: GeekDad
Relax. I'm not here to ruin the books' reputation. Just like you, I do enjoy reading but I'm also a movie enthusiast and the debate for which is better makes no sense to me. I'm still wondering why some book lovers can't take it if someone thinks or states that a movie is better than a book or vice versa. We can think about it like this: if someone preferred ice cream rather than a cake for dessert, would you get mad or think less of that person? You see, both movies and books are great sources of ideas and entertainment just like any sweets are good for dessert. It all depends on their content and how you absorbed it.

To try stopping this 'Movies vs Books' mentality, I'll cover every argument I know stating why one is better than the other. I'll talk about the possible reasons why we think that way and I'll try to convince you why we shouldn't or why it's not worth debating. Let me start with this statement:

Books are better because they exercise your imagination where in movies, it's not even required.

At first glance, it seems absolutely right. Movies show us how the characters look like, how they move, or how they react. Visualizations were already created for us: the scenery; the environment and its effects on the characters. They give us hints about minor details that can trigger a twist in the story. Everything is laid out in front of us; all we have to do is watch.

Isn't it almost the same with books? The characters and sceneries are described in detail. The events and twists are carefully planned. Every moment in the story: the ambiance; the emotions that build up are creatively written and presented. Through words, everything is laid out in front of us; all we have to do is read.

They differ on approach but they both feed us information that enables us to picture out everything. In this sense, it seems that watching a movie and reading a book both requires passive imaginations. Of course descriptions were written only for introductions while in movies, they were repeatedly being shown but let me ask you; once you pictured out a character or a scene, can you take them out of your mind? Do you have to actively think about their looks every time they are mentioned in the book? I think not.

You may say, "At least we're the one to visualize the characters and the events."  Again, how did you came up with those visualizations? You did not use your full mental capacity just to create those characters and backgrounds in your mind right?

Well, it's easier to visualize things from a movie but it doesn't mean imagination is passive or not required. We know with books, we're not just reading the story, we're living in it. Same with movies, we're not just watching; we think of the characters' points of view; we try to visualize different perspectives of the current scene; we create a connection with the movie by trying to feel what the characters feel; we're not just watching the story, we're living in it.

I think I have established the fact that imagination, passive or active, is required for both reading and watching. How visualization is done and the duration required to complete it is dependent on the person. Given these facts, it still seems that reading gives you better imagination than watching movies. It's true that readers imagined their own image of what's in the book while viewers already know how the scene might look like thus making imagination unnecessary.

Example for unique visualization of an existing one. Illustrated by Arvalis
Here's a situation, what if we are to create our own version of the characters? For readers, it should be easy because you start from scratch and with the author's guidance, you can create your unique version of the characters. For a movie fan, it would be harder because you already saw the movie makers' version of the characters. Creating a unique visualization from a set of descriptions of things you haven't seen yet is way easier than creating your unique version of visualizations you have seen.

Here's a different idea; developing your creativity doesn't have to be from books you read. Your inspiration could come from what you see: your surroundings; photographs; paintings; drawings; and of course, movies. Just like a book can increase your vocabulary, a movie can widen your imagination.

These are the reasons why I think movie enthusiasts may have better imagination than book readers. It doesn't mean that movies are better than books. I just want to disprove the thought that reading a book gives you better imaginative skills than watching a movie. It's possible but it's not absolute.


How about you? Are you in favor of 'Movies vs Books' or 'Watching vs Reading' debates? What other statements do you think is common regarding these debates?

Feel free to share your thoughts below.

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