Fantasy vs. Reality — Everyone Draws Their Own Lines
I’ve thought about this topic often in the past, but the shooting in Colorado last week brought it back to mind. My heart goes out to those victims and families whose lives will be forever changed by the actions of an individual. One whose perception of fantasy and reality tragically blurred together in a way I’m sure we’ll never fully understand.
On the surface, this may not seem to be a debate at all. Of course, we all know the difference between fantasy and reality! But, let’s dig a little deeper. What is fantasy?
Merriam-Webster.com defines fantasy this way:
a creation of the imaginative faculty whether expressed or merely conceived
So, fantasy is something created, or inspired by, our imaginations. If we accept that definition, then things become a little murky. Many people believe in things that others feel are pure speculation, or fantasy. Which perception of reality is correct? Let’s look at ghosts as an example. Lots of people think ghosts, in one form or another, are real. Many claim to have experienced them, either visually or with another sense. There are many television shows and books dedicated to the subject. Are ghosts reality or fantasy? I’m sure anyone who has had a firsthand experience with one would think they are very real. We’re left with two different versions of reality: one in which ghosts exist, and one in which they don’t. Is one reality more valid than another?
The conclusion I draw is we all create our own reality, to a great extent. Sometimes that reality will conflict with someone else’s and we are forced to choose between two options: adjust our own version of reality to incorporate the change, or discard the foreign idea as fantasy. The notion seems strange, but children do this very thing dozens of times a day. Think back to when you were very young. At one time or another, many of us believed we could fly if the circumstances were right. Maybe we’d need a cape, like Superman, or a pair of wings that fit under our arms like a bird, but we knew it was possible — until some smart aleck came along and told us, “No, that doesn’t work.” Most of us then incorporated that tidbit into our realities. “I can’t fly, even with a cape.” Others, however, don’t accept the change and persist in their belief. How many kids are injured jumping from trees or rooftops each year attempting to fly with a sheet tied to their backs?
Fantasy vs. Reality is generally treated as a black and white argument. I think there’s a whole lot more gray there than most folks are comfortable admitting. What do you think? What other things in our daily lives that we feel are real might come under the category of fantasy to someone else? I’d love to hear your thoughts!