As I sit in front of my computer with only the table lamp on and the rest of the room immersed in darkness, I close my eyes trying to think of something on which I should write. I had felt the urge strongly since I have been silent for a long time may be suffering from a writer’s block. One word had kept recurring frequently in my thoughts for the past few days – ‘Fantasy’. I could only presume that this may have been due to the fact that I had restarted my paintings after a considerable period of time and as I spread the colours on the paper trying to translate what I saw, I found that I was giving my own interpretation and the result was not exactly what I saw but the way I saw it. Since then the word had stuck on to my mind and I really wanted to explore what exactly I mean when I say I fantasized. So as a starting point I looked up the dictionary and though there were a number of definitions, two of them seemed to sum up my own understanding of the word – one was creative imagination or unrestrained fancy and the second was ‘an imagined event or sequence of mental images, such as daydream, usually fulfilling a wish or a psychological need’.
I slowly opened my eyes and my table clock showed the time as midnight and here I was set to daydream in the middle of the night. Funny isn’t it? But that’s how it is. We all need to have a space of our own, a world where we retreat to, to fulfil our psychological needs. I guess this is true for every person. We can never really shed the burden of our past life, all those moments gone by are stacked somewhere deep inside us. One word that keeps coming up, again and again from time to time is ‘if’. This for me is the starting point of all fantasies. I have asked myself the question as to what and where I would have been ‘if’ I had chosen a different path, taken a different decision at various points in my life. There is no way other than to accept the present reality and that is the truth. I am told to live the present moment and that’s what everyone who is sane does but the past moments are never lost. Suppressing them will only lead to mental illness and so will being overwhelmed by them. In this connection Jung talks about his work with patients of psychosis. He says that “paranoid ideas and hallucinations contain a germ of meaning. A personality, a life history, a pattern of hopes and desires lie behind the psychosis. The fault is ours if we do not understand them”. He goes on to state “it was always astounding to me that psychiatry should have taken so long to look into the content of these psychoses, no one concerned himself with the meaning of these fantasies”.
So the only way to release your emotions as I see it, is to release them slowly through one’s own fantasies. Fantasies are always projections. Great works of art, literature or great inventions have been due to the human mind’s capacity to fantasize.
Whether it is H.G Wells ‘War of the Worlds’ or ‘The Time Machine’ or Jules Verne’s ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ and other great works of science fiction, they have been a result of the human mind’s capacity to fantasize and project and we can see ourselves moving towards them and one day they may actually be realities. Whether it is Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ or the earliest fairy tales written for the child in us, it has always catered to our fantasy world and we revel in it. Freud considered that men and women ‘cannot subsist on the scanty satisfaction which they can extort from reality’. He says ‘We simply cannot do without auxiliary constructions’. Again Jung talks about his own fantasies and visions which seemed to occur from time and he used to write them down as and when they occurred in order to understand and analyze them. In a number of cases especially of visions he found he could correlate occurrences with the visions he had earlier.
As one faces the harsh realities of life, he retreats into his fantasy world to gain respite and it his ability to come back to reality rejuvenated, richer from the experience that would determine the future course of his life.
Fantasies are a fact and they are necessary, only don’t let them overwhelm you.