Somebody asked what role fantasy has compared to reality and the question it asks is, what is reality? For example, a messianic Jew or a messianic Christian might believe that the world is heading in a certain direction and that certain things in the future will happen.
Ask someone on the street today and in many places in the world the answer will be that they do not know and have no idea.
An atheist might well believe that nothing is going to happen other than whatever is simply the outcome of the random generation of mutations that fit the environment.
But if you are an atheist then you have a problem, which is that you have still got to answer the question, Why?
An atheist might answer that that’s just how it is.
Others are going to say that that’s just not enough. It’s not satisfactory.
You could be an existentialist and take the view that you’re not going to bother your head with any of that metaphysics because it’s just going to do your head in.
If you are an existentialist, you could say you’re just not going to become wrapped up in versions of reality and the best thing to do is simply to look forward. The best thing to do is to look around, see where you are, see what you perceive, and just go on from there as your curiosity dictates. You might say that only the present moment exists, and whatever life demands – that is the reality you face.
But then a question comes up. Where does my ethic come from? Where does my morality come from? How come I won’t do this and I am prepared to do that? Is it all just from my experience of being here?
Now that doesn’t seem right either.
R D Laing talks about the reality of experience and the interface between inner experience and outward reality. He talks about what is considered normal and how in the 20th century one hundred million people killed and died for somebody’s vision of reality.
For many of those who killed and were killed it was almost certainly not their ultimate vision of reality. It was one that they walked into when they were born, when they were young, when they were growing up.
Laing talks about imagination, an inner experience as valid as the experience of a commonly experienced reality.
Some people let their imagination run riot. Others put a lid on their imagination.
Who among us explores with their imagination? Who has a sound grasp on how to use their imagination? Who has any kind of relationship with their imagination?