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  • Hey, is it too late to do a Halloween episode?

  • 'Cause, like, we all got costumes already, and- oh, we can! Cool. Okay.

  • ["Penguin Cap" by CarboHydroM]

  • We desire a rational world.

  • A world where things make sense,

  • where even the most horrible events jive with our understanding of reality.

  • If we have that, we can maintain some sense of control,

  • some rational framework for what's going on around us, some hope.

  • But in the world of horror, that very desire is turned against us.

  • Horror turns against us our most powerful tool,

  • the tool with which we have tamed the world,

  • with which we've made a dark and scary place very comfortable to live in in the last 200 years,

  • our reason.

  • Horror presents us with the extraordinary, with things beyond reason,

  • things that a thousand years ago we might have called demons or spirits.

  • But today, our great strength, our reason,

  • our belief in a rational world, causes a very different reaction,

  • one which the best horror writers and designers play on to

  • the fullest. Because today, instead, the

  • extraordinary fills us with self-doubt.

  • How many times have you seen or played a

  • character who witnesses the horrific, who

  • witnesses a monster, or an apparition, or

  • a shade, and shakes their head, doesn't

  • believe what they've just seen? They'll

  • say, "Oh, it must have been the Sun, or

  • maybe a distorted reflection off of the

  • water, or just some kids dressing up

  • pulling a prank." Dismissing the horror

  • when they could be preparing for it. Go

  • back and watch your favorite horror

  • movies, or play your favorite horror

  • games, and think how differently the

  • whole story would have gone if, instead

  • of throwing out their first encounter

  • with horror as a mere illusion, the

  • protagonist took it at face value and

  • began to figure out how to thwart it. So

  • many of these stories would have turned

  • out much better for the protagonists, but

  • that's not the root of why this is so

  • important for horror.

  • Yes, playing on our dismissal, on our

  • sense of a rational world is essential

  • to holding many of these plots together,

  • and it's an excellent plot device, but

  • horror is about feel as much as it is

  • about plot, and the best horror creators

  • use this conflict with our understanding

  • of the world, this conflict with the

  • rational, to build the feeling of horror

  • as much as they do to shore up their

  • stories, for the most fundamental belief

  • we have is the belief in our

  • perceptions.

  • A hundred million years of evolution

  • cause us to trust them. We may know

  • they're flawed, we may know that they

  • have weaknesses and offer us the

  • occasional error, but they're the system

  • by which we judge reality. They are the

  • system by which we differentiate the

  • sane from the insane. When confronted

  • with things so wholly beyond our

  • comprehension, so grotesque or impossible,

  • so antithetical to how we believe the

  • world is supposed to work that we can't

  • rationalize them, we start to question

  • our own senses.

  • "Was I dreaming?" "It must have been a

  • hallucination." "Just a trick of the mind

  • created by fatigue."

  • These are the sorts of things that

  • you'll hear our horror protagonists say

  • to rationalize what they're experiencing.

  • Then comes the breakdown, where what

  • they're facing is too insane and they

  • can't trust their senses, where they're

  • faced with the panic of not knowing

  • what's real and what's some mad delusion,

  • and they can't escape this feeling

  • because, like us, like the very audience

  • they're playing to, they've been trained

  • to believe in a rational world, and so, to

  • these characters, "I am insane" is an

  • easier answer than, "The world is insane",

  • or to put it another way, they are more

  • ready to believe that they themselves

  • are going mad than to believe that the

  • world is radically different than what

  • we understand it to be, and the panic

  • this causes is real, because they're

  • perfectly rational, but think they're

  • going insane.

  • They're trapped in this rational box,

  • having all of the faculties, all of the

  • ability of analysis and reason that

  • they've always had, but they're watching

  • themselves, as they think it, going insane

  • and they can't do anything about it.

  • Unlike the madman who, in most stories,

  • believes his fantasies are realities and,

  • thus, doesn't see his own insanity, the

  • characters in horror are acutely aware.

  • They know they're going mad. They are

  • forced to feel that descent, to feel the

  • rest of the world judging them, making

  • assumptions about them, because they

  • aren't actually going mad, but even they

  • don't believe it.

  • That is the greatest horror trick with

  • our belief in a rational world, to use it

  • to have us doubt ourselves, to isolate

  • our character from the rest of the world,

  • to disempower them by making them doubt

  • their sanity, and to disassociate them

  • from their friends, because the moment

  • where the character finally faces the

  • possibility that what they're seeing and

  • experiencing is real, the moment where

  • they have to ask themselves, "Do I hope

  • I'm going mad?"

  • because the alternative is worse. That is

  • the quintessence of horror.

  • So next time you're playing a horror

  • game, or watching a horror movie, check.

  • See if you see the characters ever

  • doubting their perceptions, see if, rather

  • than immediately springing to action

  • against whatever horrible things entered

  • their world, they instead withdraw into

  • disbelief, unable to square what they've

  • seen with the reality they know, see if

  • this slowly build into the fear of the

  • descent into madness, or, instead, forces

  • us to face the true dread of confronting

  • a world that isn't as known as we would

  • like to think of it,

  • see if this makes others doubt the

  • character, pulls them away from the

  • people that could help them be it friends

  • or authorities like the police, and see

  • if, in the end, this rational world that

  • is our greatest strength, that we truly

  • believe, and that we think we know comes

  • to be one of the character's greatest

  • weaknesses. I hope you all enjoyed your

  • All Hallows, and, don't worry, that

  • probably wasn't really a monster you saw.

  • See you next week! Probably...

  • ["Spooktune (Chiptune Remix)" by LemonDrop]

Hey, is it too late to do a Halloween episode?

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最根本的欺騙--恐怖和理性如何背叛我們--額外學分。 (The Most Fundamental Deceit - Horror and How Rationality Betrays Us - Extra Credits)

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    李俊德   發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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