Once upon a time a man was sitting at home, pondering his life, wondering if there was more to it than endless TV shows and bottomless bags of chips. As he pondered he heard a rapping at his front door. He slowly pulled himself up from his lethargy and answered the door. Waiting for him was a sharp looking fellow who told him that he had been selected to receive a wonderful gift from a famous movie executive. The sharp dressed man said the name of the producer, but the man, let’s call him Tim, did not recognize the name. The sharp dressed man, let’s call him Peter, pushed ahead with his offer. He told Tim that this producer had the answer to life and he was willing to let Tim in on it. All Tim had to do was watch a group of movies over the course of the next year that the producer had made. In fact, Peter told Tim that he was prepared to hookup a system in his house right that very moment that had 66 Blu-Ray players in it, along with a flat screen TV and a 7.1 surround sound system. All Tim had to do was watch each movie in each player and at the end of the year the producer was going to come to his house and ask him what each movie was about and what the big story was that connected all the movies. If Tim got this, he would have the answer to life. Tim thought this was a great deal so he had Peter install the system. What could be easier? Tim already liked watching movies, so how hard could it be to watch 66 movies in one year.
Later that day Tim said dow
n on the couch and started to watch the first movie. He watched for about 20 minutes and then fell asleep. When he woke up next morning he decided he would watch another movie, and just to keep it interesting, he would start the movie half way through. He watched about 10 minutes of movie #56 and then had to go to work. When he came back from work he settled in and watched a short movie, #65, before he went to bed. The next day he jumped to movie #14 and only watched 5 minutes, then he skipped to the last scene of the movie and watched it. This pattern continued all year as Tim jumped around from movie to movie, rarely finishing a whole movie, and often starting the movies somewhere in the middle. By the end of the year he had seen every scene of every movie. One year after Peter had given Tim the home entertainment system the producer showed up at Tim’s house to talk to him about the movies and the combined message of all the movies. He told Tim that he had hired several different directors to make the movies, and Tim thought that was so because most the movies had a very different feel from each other, but some were quite similar. As the producer started to ask Tim about the various movies it became clear that Tim was not sure what any single movie was about. He was able to talk about various characters in the movies and he remembered some of the scenes, but Tim could not make sense of the movies to the producer, and he was definitely not able to tell the producer what was the overall message of all the movies. Tim even blamed the producer for making movies that did not make any sense, if you can imagine that. The producer was quite disappointed that Tim had not watched each movie through in its entirety and he was even more disappointed that Tim thought the movies were unable to be understood. The producer noted that the problem might not be with his movies, but with how Tim watched them. Tim kinda shrugged and said “maybe,” but then he sat back down, turned on the TV and went back to watching what he had been watching a year ago, and what is interesting is that when he watched those movies and TV shows, he watched them from start to finish and they made such perfect sense to him.