In today’s spotlight I wish to discuss the idea of fantasyland. I recently read a book by that title that is without a doubt the best book that I have ever read, and the one that I most disliked. The author is absolutely an unmitigated atheistic know-it-all who finds anything but hard science non-sense, rubbish, and pure idolatrous fantasy! That said, his scholarship, writing ability, and arguments are very compelling.
500 Year History
When his 500-year history of the Americas is boiled down to a bottom line, we live in a world where fiction and non-fiction have become indistinguishable for many. We live in a world where right and wrong depends upon where you live and what you believe. We live in a world where everyone is entitled to their own truth irrespective of the facts or science. We live in a world where we can all become avatars living a life as heroes. We live in a world where anonymity makes it possible for us to behave in the vilest of ways and get a way with it. We live in a world where we have become dependent upon drugs to insulate us from reality with our head-trips and/or protect us from our own bad habits. In short—we are pretending to be something or someone else with our hair dyes, sexy automobiles, rugged outback SUVs, cosmetic surgeries, and the like. And what’s more—all of the pretending has a high cost to society!
Now the fact is, as much as I disagree with his many biases, he has hit the nail on the head. All too many of us are living our lives doing silly things for silly reasons and somehow pretending that they are important. We chase our tails to acquire things we later have no reason for owning. We dedicate our lives to a pattern of endless consumption buying disposable this and that’s. We can become immersed in the lives of celebrities and vicariously share the adventures of real people in so-called reality TV programs. We often argue with others about things we really don’t understand because we have not taken the time to independently investigate the matter. We share popular sound bytes based on our own biases and shout down anyone who might disagree. Bottom line—the last thing many of us do is investigate ourselves, our beliefs, our own fantasies and illusions.
One of my favorite authors, R. D. Lainge in the Politics of Experience, postulated many years ago that we live lives of alienation and that we train our children to become self-alienated and thereby normal. Indeed, in his words:
The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of the normal man. Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus normal. We are not able even to think adequately about the behavior that is at the annihilating edge. But what we think is less than what we know; what we know is less than what we love: what we love is so much less than what there is. And to that precise extent we are so much less than what we are.
The New Year is ever present in everyone’s mind and I would encourage you all to make this the year of self-discovery. This is the first year in the rest of your life—make it the year that you choose to become all that you are. Examine your life and life beliefs, take the necessary steps to engage with yourself and seek out the real meaning of your existence, work to maximize your experiences and talents, take nothing for granted—in short: become your authentic self!
My thoughts, what are yours?