A few posts back, and a couple of months ago, a friend asked me a question that eventually led to a question of my own. In many ways, it was an immense loss of faith for myself;
The question was: What's the point of fantasy?
Let it be known now that I then and still and hopefully shall always be a Fantasy Fan. High magic, dragons, wizards. Then there's Sci-fi, which purists say is a Genre in its own right, but which I lump together into this great big category I name "stuff which does not exist but should".
I mean, come on; who wouldn't want to ride on the back of a giant mechanical alien dragon-wizard...thing?
Personal fantasies aside, at that point of time, I couldn't answer the question. Which led to a immense disillusionment in reading all of these so-called "mind-suckers". The idea is that they take up valuable memory space, by shoving random trivia about non-existant realities into your brain.
For a while, I actually agreed with that statement. Some part of me still agrees with it, to a point.
But then I kinda realised it. The point of all these works. Today. An hour ago. Upon which I sat down and wrote a CW essay in 45minutes, cause ephanies are awesome like that.
The very thing I was fearing about fantasy. Its drug-like, hypontic effect to weave its way into your mind, and feed upon your brain power. This parasitic ability, some would say, was the very thing that made it valuable.
Think, why is it that fantasy is so effective a drug? Why do the tales of Mordor and Gandalf stick in our heads far better than the chemical reaction between NaOH and CH3COOH?
Because Fantasy, unlike chemistry, is an integral part of the human society. No matter what your chem teacher says about the chemistry between your mom and dad, Fantasy is the reason society exists.
The thing that differentiates humans from animals - the capacity to dream.
Since the dawn of time knowledge has been passed down through stories. And the oldest stories, the ones that stuck around the longest, what were they? Were they texts on the number of twigs needed to achieve maximum heat in a dinosaur's cave?
No, they were the legends, the Epics. The lost tales of Heroes, Dragons, Monsters and Gods.
Alot of people try to take Fantasy seriously. That is...the biggest mistake anyone can make, that I've made. Fantasy is not serious. Fantasy is about life, and if life got serious we'll all have died, cause we'll lose. Fantasy takes the seriousness of life, the pain, the trials, and combines it side by side with the good things, the light-hearted bits; the joy, laughter and friendship, showing them side by side, in opposition or in harmony.
Fantasy isn't Reality, because it doesn't need to be. People can see reality for themselves. Heck, they need drugs not to see it properly. So we crave fantasy, the idea of escape, the other worlds, the freshness of the idea. New things, new concepts, other worlds and dimensions - the ultimate question, always on our tongues, encompassing Hope, Fear, Worry and Faith;
"But WHAT IF-"
Fantasy permeates our minds, because Fantasy reflects the ability to dream. And those without the ability to dream live in the full light of reality, and are blinded by it. And because it reflects the dream, it can alter it, shape it, mold it towards the future.
See where I'm going with this?
The point of Fantasy, the aim and its power - is that it can change people. It can teach them things that hard facts and cold logic can never hope to reach. Those speak to the mind, but the imagination speaks directly to the soul. The Mind is merely a router, and a lousy one at that.
So a writer, us writers if I dare call myself one, hold great power in our hands. With fantasy, one can shape the dreams of the future.
And what is our future, if not made of dreams?
As they say, with great power, comes great responsibility. I can only hope the writers of our generation will recognise this truth.