What’s with the insistence on the reality of reality? What if the only reason people don’t achieve fairy tale feats is because of having fallen prey to the limiting cynicism branded as realism? What evidence is there that a pragmatic way of living leads to greater fulfillment than an idealistic way of living? There’s billions of data points on this earth to suggest that ordinary lifestyles yield ordinary results. But what of the extraordinary people out there? How many people who are living their dreams got to where they were through ordinary means?
What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ (and most every religion) but an insistence that the fairy tale world is the real word and the world around us the illusion? Without rejecting the meaningful opportunities presented to us in this world, what if we lived by the logic of the fairy tale world? That is, what if we really believed that true love conquers all, and good will always overcome evil, that divine assistance will aid heroes on their quests, that true power is virtue and bravery?
It’s typical to dismiss fairy tales as out of touch with reality. But if this is true, why do our souls connect so much with fairy tales? What if our souls were trying to tell us something? As Plato illustrated, if we had spent our whole lives wandering in a cave, we might assume that the whole world is the cave, that we know the ins and outs as well as is possible to know. Of course, we’d be dead wrong.
On the other hand, it wouldn’t make sense to base our lives on an exterior reality we know nothing about, ignoring the reality before our eyes. So, one might ask, what’s wrong with accepting the reality presented to us for what it is? My response is that God is in the details. From superficial glances, we may think reality has everything to do with commutes to work, social media, and kitchen sinks. But if we’ll call upon our other faculties, i.e. our hearts, we may also discover that the reality we care most for has everything to do with swashbuckling heroes and beautiful maidens. And in comparing the findings of our various faculties and sorting by priority, we may then discover that there is, in fact, a practical means for achieving the mystique of swashbuckling heroes and beautiful maidens. We may indeed discover that our failure to live the fairy tale life is in fact a failure to see reality for what it really is.
As far as I’ve been able to perceive reality, this much I’ve concluded: the soul is immortal. Goodness will previal. Wrongs will be rigthted. Love really does conquer all. And the universe is absolutely amazing. So amazing, in fact, that there’s no god reason — no reason at all — to make tomorrow’s chapter of your fairy tale anything less than fantastic.
2 thoughts on “What’s with the insistence on the reality of reality?”
I see at least 4 distinct attitudes (I’ll call them fantasy, idealism, realism, and defeatism) here, under the banners of only two names. It seems that fantasy has been historically tied to idealism, and realism to defeatism, leading to the never-ending tug-of-war you highlighted so well. You are certainly right that conviction cannot be denied, for all the reasons you identified, but neither can science, for a host of evidence that you know could be cited. Therefore, I don’t think the matter can be settled by merely championing just one side. I think it is necessary to part some of these historical unions.
For example, isn’t there idealism in a simple equation that explains the behavior of natural physics? In reducing the world to something we can understand, man seizes a power for himself that previously belonged only to God. And, isn’t there a degree of defeatism in magic? How miserable our lots would be in this world if it were dominated by forces we could never even comprehend, and therefore never hope to rise above.
I am convinced that good prevails, love conquers all, and the Universe is amazing. I’m not (yet) convinced that any of these things necessitate a hidden reality. I haven’t yet conquered the one I experience with my physical senses.
For precisely the points you make, an essay I’ve been wanting to write for a while is why the muggle world is better than the wizarding world.