Tuesday, 10 June 2014

What is Fantasy? Truly?

Athena, the patron goddess of Athens virgins, wisdom and heroes who, fought her way out of Zeus's head at birth.

I am generally a patient person when it comes to respectfully listening to people's opinions and sides to their stories because, hey, I wouldn't be an observer if I couldn't do that.

Except when certain buttons get pushed. Then I go into defender knight mode. Well, there are different levels to it, but essentially, there are a few things that you do not push with me the wrong way; unless you want to get your ear ranted off.

Female empowerment, rights etc, Tolkien as himself, his works, and anyone who plays with it (ie: movies or fanfiction), ancient and modern Greece/Mediterranean culture and anything to do with fantasy or storytelling.

Now, all that quite briefly said, you are perfectly and rightly entitled to your own perspectives, judgements, whatever. Frankly, so long as we coexist without blowing each other into oblivion, then it's a live and let live world. Being impeccable with your word, no judgements, assumptions and always doing your best, remember?

That said, I am no perfect warrior of peace either. I have my fair share of judgments, assumptions and the like but I am human and I am practicing. That is all we can do.

To me, fantasy is a place where a great amount of that practicing can take place. Yes, getting out into this reality, interacting wih others and having experiences is the ultimate and main method, but when you are at home, in bed, about to go to sleep or moping about on a rainy day (if you are that sort), then reading fantasy allows for you to drop another lens over the reality we all live in by taking us to other lands and other persepectives. In short, I see fantasy as the first step to being able to live the Four Agreements, a bit like moving from training wheels to two wheels on bikes.

So following in the points that fantasy is just another lens over our reality (which is already an illusion in and of itself) and that fantasy is like training wheels to the full bike riding life of the Four Agreements then why is do people sneer at it, call it for children, for people afraid of "reality" or as something utterly fake?

First of all, labelling something as fantasy does not give either the author or the reader the right to be disrespectful to the cultures being borrowed from, the histories or people you are flashing a light on, Nor is it perfectly fine to not give any basis in realism because, "hey it's all made-up, for fun!"

Think of literary fiction for a moment. Is that made-up? Yes. Definitely. The only thing you might ever read that is not made-up should be non-fiction or articles of some kind. Then again, even those can have elements of storytelling or "selling" in them. People want you to read their words so they will go to all lengths to ensure you do. Think, click-bait, but in all forms of media.

So then, why, because something has the label of fantasy on it do people sneer at it?

In my opinion it goes right back to fear. People fear what is different, new, has no right or wrong answer, and what, in general, makes them question their belief system.

That is fantasy. It makes you face your fears. It makes you confront the reality that this world we live in is wholly fabricated by our perceived social and cultural values and mores. When really, at heart, we are just creatures of the Universe, beings of light, as much walking sticks of matter as the stars are great balls of it.

So the next time you label something fantasy, don't do so to worm out of your lack of research or respect of the human condition and the Universe.

Always fantastical because reality is the same.

PS: Pandora had a jar, not a box, that whole kerfuffle came about because of a basic little mistake in terms of translation between Greek and English back in the 19th century.

Also, see the below image of a fresco once adoring an ancient Greek temple? Yeah, those pretty and austere white columns and statues were originally a playground of prime-colours. Brightly.

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