“Fantasy mirrors desire. Imagination reshapes it.”
Contrasting fantasy and reality via physicality
In Part 1, we took a step into the imagination to see how we could entertain the possibility of utilising our minds to help bring only what we truly desire into our reality.
As adults, we would ideally like the ability to have a clear distinction between fantasy and reality while also having the ability to let our imaginations play with possibilities, especially when probabilities might be holding back our enjoyment.
Before jumping into that, let’s briefly look at some definitions of fantasy.
- Imagination, especially when extravagant and unrestrained.
- The forming of mental images, especially wondrous or strange fancies; imaginative conceptualizing.
- A mental image, especially when unreal or fantastic.
- Psychology. An imagined or conjured up sequence fulfilling a psychological need; daydream.
- A hallucination.
- A supposition based on no solid foundation.
- An ingenious or fanciful thought, design, or invention. (Fantasy definitions taken from Dictionary.com).
As you can see, there is a broad range of definitions to cover a balance of what is in a person’s imagination or in the outside world. I would like to expand on item four by looking at two aspects.
The first is ‘conjuring up a sequence’. Say, for example, that someone’s first date goes well. They both have fun, feel safe enough to enjoy each other’s company and they are excited – and uncertain – enough that they do not know how things will turn out. This could be the beginning of a great love affair! That first date could well lead to a beautiful romance, just like a great love story. Do you see how that sequence is very important and how real-life experiences can be read as a narrative?
Now let’s move on to ‘fulfilling a psychological need’. It as if we need to have a certain level of fantasy in our life to experience a healthy and balanced mind. I only wish someone had told my schoolteachers that daydreaming was healthy; it could have saved me a whole load of after school detentions!
Fulfilment versus fiction
I propose that we work with two categories of fantasy.
- Category 1: One which stays totally private in the confines of your own mind as this then allows imagination to run away with itself.
- Category 2: An area where you can envision a better you in real life. Here we use our imaginative abilities to not just see what would make our lives better, but also what actionable steps would allow that to happen in a way that we can enjoy the process just as much as the destination.
Category 1 might include what we want to experience at some stage and we are looking to have a useful measure of control over that happening but only when we get better at discerning how we use our powerful imagination. When a person is too busy and stretched, they might cross over from conscious engagement with their fantasies to fantasies run on autopilot… and that could lead to all kinds of trouble.
Now I would like to introduce three types of fantasy that expand on the two categories I’ve just been talking about.
Type 1: Fictional fantasy
We all have a memory-based mind; what happens outside of our senses takes an amount of time (fractions of seconds) to be picked up by the mind’s circuitry. We could therefore say that what we operate on the delayed pictures in our minds rather than the actual real world. So we do tend to live in our own imagination to a high degree.
If we reduce physical movement the human mind is even more strongly held in the fictional domain. You see, movement assists the senses in making something real at a physiological level. In essence, the more the body is switched off to movement, the more the imagination is able to play and even run amok. Our night time dreams could be an indicator of this.
Type 2: Fantastic fantasy
We all have fantasies that stretch the imagination. Some are pretty far-fetched and so they are deemed low in terms of potential to be experienced in real life. However a ‘fantastic’ fantasy might well have something to offer us, something that we might feel drawn towards.
Each year at the Oscars the winning lead actor was usually starring in a movie based on a character making good against all the odds. Slumdog Millionaire was nominated for 10 Academy Awards in 2009 and won eight, including best picture. The movie covers a young Indian man’s experience on a notorious game show that is also called Slumdog Millionaire. We see how he tackles each question not so much from intellect as he is just an ordinary guy in an ordinary day job in customer support in a telephone call centre. We soon realise that he has the experience and wisdom of someone much older as his harsh life as an orphan gave him lessons that were both harrowing and valuable. The game show provides the backdrop of the movie and shows how he faces life and how he grows rich from each and every life experience.
When we watch movies such as this, we might find ourselves being absorbed into it especially if it has some resonance with our own personality. The movie experience allows us to feel and integrate the learnings of the movie character into our own life. We get to learn vicariously.
The ‘fantastic fantasy’ is where we see the best of ourselves more clearly. We put aside what the rest of world would say we should be and do and, instead, act from our own sense of integrity.
The adolescent mind-set looks to take the freedom of childhood into an adult state where there is a bringing together of possibility and probability. George Lucas’s direction of Star Wars started some years earlier when he created the far less well-known THX 1138. The movie wasn’t a great success but its emphasis on cutting edge special effects provided him with his preparation and apprenticeship for making Star Wars. Ironically Star Wars as a whole focuses a lot on the apprentice/internship stage of life where the child is shaped into becoming the best adult they can be.
Seeing as I’m talking about Star Wars and while we are on the topic of fantasies, I don’t think I will be alone as a guy in noting how in the second Star Wars movie Princess Leia changed from the ‘pretty girl’ compartment in my mind to quite a different one! I nearly choked on my popcorn when I saw her and this picture is etched into my memory for all time…
Type 3: Fulfilment fantasy
We will look into ‘fulfilment fantasies’ more in Part 3 of this article. Generally, Type 3s have some element of a person seeking fulfilment by discerning between what the rest of the world expects of them and what they should want… versus what it is they truly want to experience. There is usually also an element of learning to get more skilled in managing risks. This could at times involve throwing caution to the wind.
To briefly change topic, virtual reality (VR) headsets have advanced so much in recent years. People notice that when they have a headset display operating, it is the movements of their head and even their whole body that makes the imagery more realistic. When the eyes, head, and body move in unison, the mind imagines the experience to be more real. For example, the science shows that heartbeat variations of participants wearing a headset are much more varied when the person naturally moves their head to follow images. Those who are fixed in a position where only their eyes can move do not have such variations in their heartbeats.
So what does this tell us about using fantasies to help us achieve more of what we want in our lives? Well, we could work with the idea that if you want a fantasy, a figment of your imagination, to become a reality and to be fulfilling, you can increase the probability by a huge amount by involving physical movement.
We will look at ‘fulfilment fantasises’ more in Part 3. Table 1.0 below helps give us an overview of the three types of the fantasies we have covered in this article:
Part 2 summary points:
- A useful definition of a fantasy is ‘a conjured up sequence fulfilling a psychological need’.
- We can break fantasies down into three types that assist us in seeing how to apply our mental efforts to bring only the ones that we wish to experience into reality.
- The use of our physical bodies can assist us in distinguishing which fantasies we want to stay in our imagination and those we want to manifest in the real physical world.