Imagination doesn't just mean making things up. It means thinking things through, solving [problems] or hoping to do so, and being just distant enough to be able to laugh at things that are normally painful. [Some people] would call this escapism, but they would be be entirely wrong. I would call fantasy the most serious, and the most useful branch of writing there is.
--Diana Wynne Jones

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

For the People Out There Who Equate Fantasy With Drug Abuse

"All advances are [fantasies in origin] until someone makes them into reality. Airplanes have existed in fantasy ever since the story of Daedalus; Arthur C. Clarke invented communication satellites as part of a fantasy; a thermos flask figures in several Celtic tales as one of the miraculous Treasures of Britain. And so on. The ability to fantasize is the most precious one we know. Because it solves problems, it has tremendous survival value. And--fortunately--it is built into us so that, unless mistaken adults inhibit us, we all have to do it.

"Children, of course, do it all the time, but even the most adult of businessmen in the most boring meeting will say "Let's play with a few figures here" or "Let's play around with this idea for a bit"--and this is the right way to talk about it because it helps if your imagination is exercised with a lot of pleasure and in a great deal of hope. Then your "What ifs" go with a verve and you're really likely to get somewhere.When the missing bit is found, it is often accompanied with wonder and enormous delight. Eureka! I always see Archimedes bounding about punching the air like a soccer player who has just scored a goal, and dripping all over the street.

"People probably thought Archimedes was insane, but actually what this element of play and delight is doing is keeping you sane...[fantasy is a way] of keeping your mind cool enough and clear enough to deal with a difficult situation."

--Diana Wynne Jones

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