Short & Deep | Watch To See or Not To See on NFB.ca

Introducing Short & Deep, a fresh new blog series highlighting NFB films that get you thinking about stuff that actually matters… in record time.

Today is the Fall Equinox, which means a) party’s over and b) it’s officially time to stash our sun visors, cantaloupe daiquiris and “summer readings” and go back to enjoying our amazing brains.

To ease back into things, check out To See or Not To See, a partly silly yet thoroughly thought-provoking 14-minute animation by celebrated Czech animator Bretislav Pojar (1923-2012.)

To See or Not to See, Bretislav Pojar, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Presented as a “scientific inquiry into a modern psychosis”, To See or Not To See is an amusing study of how from innocent children, we become sheltered, terrified grown-ups. As the film shows, it all boils down to the defense mechanisms we resort to to avoid pain. One dog bites us, and we become wary of all dogs. One police officer arrests us, and we start fearing all police. Anything to avoid re-experiencing the sting.

A natural reaction, perhaps, but is that a reasonable way to live? Can one ever reach happiness that way? As any motivational speaker will tell you, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear”…

So what’s the solution?

According to Pojar’s doctor, the solution is a pair of “reducing glasses.” A pair of glasses that “scales down” the size of your fears so you can see them for what they really are: petty, and tiny, and ridiculous.

And while we agree that the whole magic of life lays in our capacity to alter our perspective, we would never ever condone kicking dogs, or acting like a jerk as a result of having shed one’s fears. There are better ways, people.

Just saying.

Check it out for yourself, as well as some stills, below.

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