Fantasy/imagination vs. belief/faith
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20-01-2013, 08:02 AM
Fantasy/imagination vs. belief/faith
This is something that has been in my mind for quite a while now and it certainly might leave lots of room for discussion and interesting insights.

As kids, we get tons of stories by our parents, family or whoever is near, let it be santa claus, the easter bunny, god, devil and whatnot. My parents never told me about the last two ones in detail, in fact, I only got to know that there is something called god in something similar to "Sunday school". I only went till my first communion, later my parents didn't subscribe me and I couldn't care less. The whole thing was mainly done due to "fit in", so we wouldn't get in more trouble as we already were by NOT going to church every Sunday in a very catholic country. As an adult, I know now that my parents, and pretty much the rest of my family aren't very religious, thank god I shall say. Dodgy Instead of a bible, my parents bought me fairy tale books, I have two of the few that were available at that time, one with a collection of tales from all over the world, one from Hans Christian Andersen. Some of those fairy tales were available as audio on vinyl, which I kept listening to over and over again, until I could recite and sing every single line of each tale. Smile Fairy tales were my "bible" which I used later as a base to create my own little stories and characters in my head. There were little alien creatures, fairies, all female with some kind of heroic traits. However, even as a child at a very young age, I knew that NONE of the stories were true or the characters were real. I KNEW that they were entirely a product of my own imagination and fantasy.

Nowadays, I am still into that kind of thing (mostly fairies), I express it mainly through art and sculpting. It is giving me comfort, relaxes my mind and inspires me. And of course, I still know that none of this is real or true in anyway, so you might be able to imagine how shocked I was to find out that people who are into fairies actually BELIEVE they really exist! Unsure So WTF is wrong with this picture?

I stumbled upon claims made by psychologists, where it was said that having imaginary friends or some sort of idol isn't a bad thing per se, as it can help to cope with difficulties and other struggles. Most of the time, traits that we already have (but haven't noticed them at that point), or we wish to have are being projected to the imaginary friend. This can also help us to reflect things and improve how we deal with life in general. But... only under the condition of being able to draw the line between imagination and reality.

What I can observe in adults who believe in a deity, by choice or indoctrinated, it seems that that line between imagination and reality is blurry, or even gone completely. I've once had a discussion with a catholic, they got extremely offended and accused me of insulting their intelligence by saying: "So, you think I make all this up?!" I decided to back off, as I knew that the discussion won't go anywhere. The fact that shit we make up on our own is no proof of any kind of real existence whatsoever, but why would those believers consider this as a bad thing anyway? Maybe it's some kind of laziness and tendencies to get things done the easy way, a trait shared by many humans, unfortunately.

During my thinking process on this subject, I have created a design case study, very simplistic and clear. If anyone is interested, I will post a link later. Smile But of course, I'm more than curious to read your thoughts and comments.

"Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself." (Carl Sagan)
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20-01-2013, 08:17 AM
RE: Fantasy/imagination vs. belief/faith
(20-01-2013 08:02 AM)pxlgirl Wrote:  they got extremely offended and accused me of insulting their intelligence by saying: "So, you think I make all this up?!"
It's even worse. Someone else made it up and they just fell for it, hook, line and sinker. I'd say that's even more embarrassing.

Weird, though, isn't? You'd think that with the advance of science and reason, people would start believing in less utterly implausible things, not more. Yet, people want to think vampires, fairies, elves, what have you, are real. I would've thought that the universe and everything it holds is far more amazing than our silly bedtime stories, but what do I know... (and that's coming from someone who loves children's books)

A very unrelated tangent. It kind of upsets me that one of Andersen's most poignant stories, The Little Mermaid, was maimed, dumbed down and drowned in corn syrup by Disney. They took its heart and turned it into a sickening mush No

Links are always welcome Smile

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20-01-2013, 08:25 AM (This post was last modified: 20-01-2013 09:26 AM by pxlgirl.)
RE: Fantasy/imagination vs. belief/faith
Ok, so here we go:
http://www.behance.net/designbypxlgirl -> project: "_____ exists*"

"Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself." (Carl Sagan)
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20-01-2013, 08:34 AM
RE: Fantasy/imagination vs. belief/faith
Call me crazy but I lived in a haunted house. I can't explain it but I know it wasn't just in my mind because I wasn't the only person that saw him. Just sayin. Wink

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20-01-2013, 08:38 AM
RE: Fantasy/imagination vs. belief/faith
(20-01-2013 08:34 AM)smidgen Wrote:  Call me crazy but I lived in a haunted house. I can't explain it but I know it wasn't just in my mind because I wasn't the only person that saw him. Just sayin. Wink

Minds work in mysterious ways, eh? Wink

"Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself." (Carl Sagan)
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20-01-2013, 08:45 AM
RE: Fantasy/imagination vs. belief/faith
Interesting thoughts...I find that very most very religious people I know are quite rational in most areas of life except religion. They can do their jobs well, function well, and don't (that I know of) have imaginary friends or believe in fairies. This is in the southern US, which is of course predominantly Southern Baptist and evangelical. I'm a civil engineer and work with many other engineers who are brilliant at their work, yet still fervently believe god personally works in their lives. I have known doctors, nurses, attorneys, truck drivers, accountants, you name the job, who are quite grounded in reality except for the god thing. Many dont believe in the woowoo or things Iike fairies because they say god and Jesus are the only supernatural things they should look to. Of course this is general and based on my experience, and there is much more out there. My BF is a Christian,can blacksmith, flint knap, is an expert in history, builds exquisite musical instruments, and can play several musical instruments very well. These things he approaches rationally and hones these crafts with much practice and technique, no magic. He Iikes good fantasy novels and movies and books, but is aware that hobbits do not exist and that Lord of the Rings is pure entertainment. I don't see that the the line between reality and fantasy are blurred at all in most of life. These people are not idiots or teetering on the line of a psychotic break, they are intelligent, rational, nice people who love life. They believe god wants them to love life since he gave it to them and they should contribute their gifts to better the world. After Hurricane Katrina, many church groups helped, even taking in refugees into their homes because they thought it their Christian duty. Church food banks feed many. My point is that most Christians I know are wonderful people, and very psychologically healthy. They just think, as our board theists do, that we atheists are hellhound.

I think the reason is that the peer pressure is so strong here and people grew up being indoctrinated in that one area, and they stand to lose social standing, family approval, and community. Many of them earnestly believe, maybe some dont and are keeping up appearances. But they are perfectly able to distinguish reality from fantasy. So it seems here to be a selective thing.

I don't know if this is what you were asking, but I hope it helps. Very interesting topic.

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20-01-2013, 08:58 AM
RE: Fantasy/imagination vs. belief/faith
(20-01-2013 08:38 AM)pxlgirl Wrote:  
(20-01-2013 08:34 AM)smidgen Wrote:  Call me crazy but I lived in a haunted house. I can't explain it but I know it wasn't just in my mind because I wasn't the only person that saw him. Just sayin. Wink

Minds work in mysterious ways, eh? Wink
I don't know. I just know that after friends started seeing this little boy in my house the neighbors told us about the boy that died in a fire in the house and how he scared the previous owners away.
I don't know. Stranger things have been know to happen. I just know I put a really big question mark on this kind of stuff. I have a theory there is some kind of "spirit world" but that it has nothing to do with heaven or god. But hey, like I said, it's just a "theory". Rolleyes

On another point. I did enjoy your post. I've had this attitude recently about all my friends that say they talk to god and jesus. I just know that if I talk to invisible people they would lock me in the nuts house. That's why I like the whole religion is a mental illness thing. lol

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20-01-2013, 09:10 AM
RE: Fantasy/imagination vs. belief/faith
(20-01-2013 08:58 AM)smidgen Wrote:  I have a theory there is some kind of "spirit world" but that it has nothing to do with heaven or god. But hey, like I said, it's just a "theory". Rolleyes
You should not call it a theory, it's rather a hypothesis, if at all. But as far as I know, there phenomena you describe has already been explained by scientists, not sure if I'll find something from the web instantly, I guess others might be a bit faster than me.

"Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself." (Carl Sagan)
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20-01-2013, 09:16 AM
RE: Fantasy/imagination vs. belief/faith
Your link requires me to login.

Anyway, here's the thing:

I think fantasy and imagination are very important and valuable things. When I grew up, fantasy and imagination were all we had to work with to entertain ourselves, no tv until I was some 10 years old and then it was limited to an hour on saturdays when they had a kid's program. Certainly there were no computers, video games etc etc. We simply went outside and played - whatever we came up with.

Imagination is one of the bases of science - you have to be able to look beyond the tried and true to make progress.

The trouble arises when people forget that it's just imagination, but take it for real. The things you imagine may be useless, or they may be testable and can be developed to become reality. Starting with being able to create light when it was dark out all the way up to smart phones - it all started with imagination.

Religion is full of imaginary things, people have created a whole environment and life based on imaginary things that can never become reality. Same with people who believe in fairies or unicorns or whatever. These are worlds that have been created to avoid the real world. They are escapes, not advances towards something.

You have to dare to dream, but you need to be aware that you are dreaming and that sometimes you can make a reality of the dream (with lots of work) and sometimes it's all pipe dreams.

Sometimes I wonder about the current young generation - instead of spending some 10 or more years making up imaginary games, they use someone else's imagination to play, in video games, tv etc.

How inventive will they be ?

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20-01-2013, 09:25 AM
RE: Fantasy/imagination vs. belief/faith
(20-01-2013 09:16 AM)Dom Wrote:  Your link requires me to login.
Try this: http://www.behance.net/designbypxlgirl -> The project name is obvious. Smile I've edited the link above as well.

"Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself." (Carl Sagan)
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