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fantasies, dreams and escapism

Out of realism's realm by Ravi V. Chhabra


  Fantasies, Dreams & Escapism


ravi v chhabra-fnbworld

By Ravi V. Chhabra


why do we fantasize? -fnbworld-ravi v chhabra


“Fantasy is way more important than knowledge because knowledge is limited.”

― Albert Einstein

The debate about dreams, escapisms and fantasies is unceasing and an obvious one. It is perhaps, older than the modern civilizations that may never get to decipher the meaning, scope and even correlation. It has been one of the leading concerns of sages, thinkers, scientists and psychologists all around the globe since centuries. As is said and believed, one may forget the dreams sooner, however, the fantasy may linger for years or a lifetime, and for those who believe in rebirth, it may even pass on to the next life as much as desires!

Some people use lies and half truths to continue believing in the fantasies. It is a kind of escapism from a world they do not like in its present form, says a leading psycho-analyst on condition of anonymity.

Fantasy art-fnbworld

It is worthwhile to note that fantasy art is a genre of art  that showcases magical or other supernatural ideas, works in literature, creatures etc. While there is quite an overlap with science fiction, horror and other inquisitive fiction art, there are unique elements not generally found in other forms of speculative fiction art.

The standard dictionary meanings extol the words 'dream', daydream and 'fantasy' are interchangeable, but there is a distinct difference when it comes to pursuing them. A fantasy is a lopsided/warped perception. It is based on imagination and the obsession of feeling what may be impossible in real. Thus, it's half-truth. A dream in contrast is subconscious and is a balanced perception!

Therefore,  an example of fantasy in psychology: A person who is attracted to a beautiful woman but who realizes that she is unattainable fantasizes about wooing/seducing her (or being seduced by her). This leads to happiness and a 'real' feeling! Fantasy is an illusion, a drug? Perhaps, yes.

Also, noteworthy is the fact that creative artists like the artists, sculptors, and musicians to name a few, switch off the self-censoring area of the brain, so they can generate unique ideas without restrictions.  A free-flowing approach as they go into a calm mode. Interestingly, the improvising brain activates many of the same brain areas as language does, reinforcing the idea that the back and forth of improvisation between musicians is same for its own language

Dreams can be outlined as a series of successive and at times, recurring visions, images, and feelings experienced by a person during his/her sleep, while fantasy or fantasizing is imagining improbable things, which have no basis in reality but in both cases, the improbable may turn into reality by chance or as coincidence, so to say. Dreams can be good or bad. Fantasies are usually enjoyable, amusing and surreal in nature and lead to imaginary pleasures sensual, soulful and emotional.

Pertinent it is to mention that Sigmund Freud thought that dreams were the gateway to our unconscious mind. In the present times, many scientists think the opposite: that the dreaming brain is quite similar to our awake, conscious state. But dreaming is a very personal experience and one that we can’t share — making the phenomenon very difficult to study. We still don’t know for sure why we dream but surely some dreams are recurring, just as nightmares!

Dreams can be defined as a series of successive visions, images, and feelings experienced by a person during his/her sleep. Fantasy is imagining improbable things, which have no basis in reality.

Fantasy: Dreams are the sure-shot of a good night’s sleep. If a person is dreaming, then more often than not, he/she is experiencing a very sound sleep. Dreams rejuvenate our brain by de-cluttering it. Dreams and fantasies often help people experience the impossible in a subtle manner. Fantasy means the act of imaging things that are a departure from stark and existential reality.

Fantasies could be anything that is consciously or subconsciously deep-rooted in a person’s mind. They can range from being simple to being brutally complex or brilliantly inspiring. Fantasies often transcend the scientific barriers of sense and rationality, by involving themes like magic and supernaturalism. As an example, the Harry Potter series by the acclaimed author, J.K. Rowling, is a worthy example of fantasy.

"By the end of our lives, it is estimated that most of us will have spent 50,000 hours dreaming", says Chloe Nahum in one of her articles. That is six years spent amongst the night-time phantasms which disturb, delight and perplex us. Formed in our minds and yet alien to them, the dream's enduring mysteries have long captivated artists and writers.

Freud maintained that some part of escapist fantasy is a necessary element in the life of humans: "They cannot subsist on the scanty satisfaction they can extort from reality. "We simply cannot do without auxiliary constructions", Theodor Fontane, the German novelist and poet once said, "His followers saw rest and wish fulfilment (in small measures) as useful tools in adjusting to traumatic upset"; while later psychologists have highlighted the role of vicarious distractions in shifting unwanted moods, especially anger and sadness.

For many, as the inebriated of the unchecked imagination, the dream represents art's origins. To quote French philosopher Michel Foucault "every act of imagination points implicitly to the dream… the dream is the first condition of its possibility. No artists, perhaps, without dreamers". Thus, the debatable issue is: Can one enter the realm of fantasy in a dream and start living it forever?


Ravi V. Chhabra is a Senior Journalist having worked with leading newspapers and magazines in print and online media in India and abroad. He runs his features and business magazine since over 20  years:  {News for Soul}.

Note: The author has used certain random research material from various sources.

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