Thought for the Day…

There is at times some practical use  to looking at American society these days through the lens of “reality based community v. fantasy based community.”

Yet,  is there anyone on earth above the age of 16 who is so silly they do not know that even the most realistic of us humans has a few fantasies he or she swears are true?

The distinction between “reality based community” and “fantasy based community” cannot be based on whether someone fantasizes or not.  Instead, it should be based on whether or not their fantasies are harmful to themselves or others.

That, at least, is how I see it.

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13 thoughts on “Thought for the Day…

  1. I’ll not try to shut down the fantasy based viewpoints. Some, like creationism and birthers are offensive and simply wrong so these sorts of things are worthy of ridicule, but we might find some fantasies worth encouraging, even working to make realities.

  2. Panda, that’s a good question. I might suggest looking at it from an evolutionary standpoint to ask, “How did the behavior evolve in us? What were the advantages to our reproductive success of being able to fantasize?”

  3. Zeus #4: “…we might find some fantasies worth encouraging, even working to make realities.”

    Good point, Zeus. I think you have also suggested there a reason the ability to fantasize arose in our species. That is, I think there would be evolutionary advantages to being able to imagine a thing — and then make it real.

  4. Could it not also be a by-product of something else though? It could be more of a “symptom” of some other evolutionary mechanism. Though I do wonder if it is maybe a coping mechanism stemming from our need to see order and patterns in our surroundings.

  5. Maybe a fantasy become harmful to ourselves and/or to others when it is promoted as reality. Perhaps the harm comes when people are unable or unwilling to see the difference between what is hopeful fantasy and what is real … such that fantasy not only dictates one’s own conduct but is the basis for dictating others’ conduct.

    So for example, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Because God doesn’t sanction homosexuality. God says being gay is a choice, unnatural, a grave sin. No matter that no living person has actually had a reasoned conversation with God about this particular subject. “Not necessary!” exclaim the “moral” majority. Have faith! We know!

    But if we are going to have laws and regulations based on what God purportedly commands, God’s notable absence and failure to weigh in personally on the issue is terribly problematic for all those people who are quite certain they did not choose their sexual preference that feels quite natural to them.

    The problem is when the fantasy dictates reality.

    Much better if we — the rational people — enacted laws from a reality-based perspective. It seems such laws would be much more fair and humane than laws premised on absurd religious beliefs, unfounded fears and superstitions, and unfulfilled prophecies.

  6. I may believe in UFOs and that 911 was an inside job, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t understand that I am in the extreme minority. I also don’t go around telling people that they are wrong for disagreeing with me.

    Believing in fantastic ideas is just fine, but there has to be an understanding that those ideas are fantastic. You shouldn’t expect the general public to agree with you, especially when the preponderance of evidence disputes your claims. My crazy beliefs are supported by much more evidence than those of the birthers or climate change deniers, but I don’t see any groups of our leaders backing up either of those fringe issues I support.

  7. CD #1: “Define ‘harmful to themselves or others’.”

    I think, for one thing, we should be looking at what promotes or detracts from human well being. We might need other ways of looking at the issue, too. Yet, I think it’s mostly clear whether or not any particular fantasy causes undue harm to oneself or others.

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