I noted a comment on Facebook the other day that said that we all need a dose of fantasy now and again to cheer us up (I paraphrase). This was in the context of the royal pageant of Friday.
I had to disagree. Fantasy, I said, is what’s the matter with the economy. Fantasy is what the bankers did with our money. They pretended there was money in funds when there was none. They bought and sold toxic debts over and over pretending that those packages didn’t matter and that the debts would never be called. They printed money in effect – fantasy money. The fantasy is that everyone can own the fantasy, the big car, the beautiful house, the yacht, unlimited resources,whatever…
NO. Reality is the richer the few are, the poorer the many will be. And are we poor? Are we who live in sanitary conditions with clean fresh water on tap, heating and air-con systems, plenty to eat and spare cash poor? There are those whose fantasy is a tap flowing with cool, clear water, whose dream is a flushing toilet, whose only wish is for a bowl of food.
This is what we need to realise. Fantasy is what is driving teenagers to suicide. Society holds up to them a world wherein they must have the latest gadgetry and fashions to ‘succeed’ and then makes those goals impossible to attain because the fantasy is NOT for everyone. It’s for the rich, the well placed in society. Their hopes of even a good education dashed by fees they cannot afford. Their hopes of good health dismantled in favour of making profit out of health care.
And then there is the desensitising fantasy of the escape into virtual worlds. Worlds where, if you hit that person hard they bounce back. If you kill them you can reset the game. A world of avatars and fantasy skills and false communication and artificail highs where you can reach the top.
I’m not talking about fiction here. I am not speaking about imagination. There is nothing healthy about fantasy. It is as divorced from reality as romance is from marriage. Fantasy is instant gratification. It requires no commitment. It offers rewards based on no effort – not the effort to create wealth, not the effort to learn, engage, communicate, commit… It is purely spectator – a hungry man watching a fat man eat dinner on the big screen.
We don’t need their bread and circuses!
What we need is to get rid of all that and deal with reality in such a way as to really make the world a better and more equitable place because I tell you what – if we don’t start dealing with the world the way it is, the reality of the future is going to be pretty harsh.