Inquiry: It’s just entertainment!

It’s just entertainment!

When folks get worked up over things that, to me at least, seems to be just entertainment, that thought sometimes surfaces. And is sometimes made into a position.


I watched a couple of episodes of Man vs. Wild and enjoyed it, and then realized that there is some controversy around how it is made – specifically certain situations being staged, shooting in places not quite as remote as they may seem, the host staying in motels occasionally and so on. But it is just entertainment so why not? It seems the most practical way of shooting such a show, especially considering time constraints and the crew that is needed. If I produced such a show, I would (most likely) do it the same way.

The same thought comes up at times when folks complain about the quality of the media and news coverage. Mainstream news coverage is entertainment too, so why expect something else from it? It is designed to entertain us with drama, disgust, righteous indignation, suspense, humor and so on. And they do a pretty good job at it, most of the time. (If you are looking for the real thing in terms of news, that is available too, usually from smaller and more specialized sources.)

And at times, the thought comes up around spiritual teachings and practice as well. That too is really entertainment – the whole drama around awakening, figuring out the “right” path and so on – so why take it too seriously? Or at least, why get stuck in that one view on it?

Of course, the advice is for myself, but it can also be interesting to explore it in a little more detail. I also notice a slight emotional charge around it, which is a clear indication of a hangup and not being as clear about it as I can be.

This inquiry is about Man vs. Wild specifically, keeping in mind the other situations where the same thought has come up.

  1. True?
    Yes. Seems true.
  2. Sure?
    No. Just an opinion. One viewpoint out of many possible.
  3. What happens when I believe that thought?
    • I dismiss views that don’t fit.
    • I tend to polarize in my own mind, taking “my” story as true and “theirs” as something I don’t need to look for validity in. I split the world into us vs them. There is a slight tension. A slight sense of precariousness that comes from a sense of having to defend a position, and knowing that I can’t really defend it. There is a lack of kindness and wisdom.
    • In short, I take the viewpoint of the story and make a position out of it.
    • I notice these symptoms of a belief, recognize I am caught up in a belief. And either fuel it anyway knowing it is a position I can’t defend. Or shift into allowing experience and more receptivity to a range of viewpoints. Or take it to inquiry in this way. All depending on the situation and where the impulse goes at the time.
  4. Who would I be without it?
    • More receptive. Curious about how it is true when people act as if it is something else than entertainment. How is it true for them? Can I find how the same is true for me? More friendly.
  5. Turnarounds.
    • It is not just entertainment.
      • No. It is serious business for the ones involved. The ones creating it get paid. Discovery Channel makes money on it. It is the livelihood of some, and part of the livelihood of many more.
      • When people have beliefs about it, it is serious business for them too. They may have certain ideas and expectations of the show, there is a clash between (their stories of) reality and these expectations, and they react in certain ways. For them, it may be experienced as serious.
      • I also recognize that misleading the viewers can be seen as serious, although it may not be what is happening in this case, at least not in a very serious way.
    • It is serious business.
      • Yes, for the reasons above.
      • In a conventional sense, it is (also) serious business, with money involved, reputations at stake, ethical questions and so on.
      • And when people get worked up and distressed from believing stories, I can take that serious. I wish to take that more serious, in situations where it is easy for me to dismiss it. I can relate to it with more kindness, recognizing it from myself.
    • My thinking is just entertainment.
      • Yes, that is the most true so far. My thinking is just entertainment, including my thinking about these things.
      • My thinking is one of the ways I keep myself entertained. I get absorbed in self-talk. I write stuff in this blog. And it is all ways to keep myself entertained and amused.
      • When I believe stories, that too is entertainment. Entertainment with the drama of true vs false, right vs wrong, us vs them, emotions, reactivity, tension and so on. That is a juicy and familiar form of drama and entertainment.

2 thoughts to “Inquiry: It’s just entertainment!”

  1. As I recall, the credits of Man vs. Wild say that he is with a crew and that the situations are designed to illustrate survival skills (i.e., somewhat contrived/staged), so I never got the impression that the producers were attempting to deceive the audience. If you’re interested in the “real thing” check out the show Survivorman

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