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ON THE ROLE OF FANTASY

When writing on the hazards of fantasy, I’m referring to the denial of reality and it’s highly harmful consequences, mental illness and genocides included. Religion, extremism, obscurantism and negativism are notorious examples.

The good role of fantasy lies on creativity, imagination, the establishing of goals and the play with both laws of nature and society, either through utopias or contemporary impossibilities, like flying once was, or through the creation of allegedly absurd worlds. These are the fantasies of scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs with vision, some authors and children.

Fiction is, by definition, an expression of fantasy. It is a made up narrative. In each segment of it, an author makes the crucial choice of either obscurantism or vision. Each scene becomes a statement on human nature and it’s up to the author to be false or true.

Most consumers of fiction chose candy, no matter how true or false. They look for catharsis and this is juicier with blunt lies of accomplished desires or sentimental tragedy. It is all about soothing frustrations in the land of bestsellers.

There are exceptions and some of them become classics. In order to become a successful herald of truth through the means of fiction and fantasy, these are the ones to study.

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Obscurantism

Covid-19 is showing us how a great portion of individuals from the civilized world still has the mindset of the Middle Ages, wants to remain in that condition and intends to persuade others to follow their beliefs by every possible means. The motivations of such obscurantist can be sincere, manipulative or both, and their common trait is loyalty to a dictatorial system of faith that repudiates and forces the disavow of rationality and its institutions, namely science. Obscurantists of today have inquisitorial behaviors that go far beyond the red line of respect for human rights and nothing is being done by authorities and politicians to prevent them.

Simple gestures with tremendous power to save human lives – washing your hands, wearing a mask and keep social distance – are deliberately presented by obscurantists as restraints to their civil rights and freedoms, instead of exceptional laws for exceptional times that could be taken as lightly as traffic rules. The vast popularity of attachments to stupidity as the denial of Covid-19 is achieved through the terror of losing individual achievements, resources and liberties, the same recipe for the propagation of xenophobism, racism and general mobilization to war.

Recent and ancient History has shown us how neighbors once living in harmony can slaughter each other all of the sudden. Such is the power of obscurantism. It frightens its rise in both Europe and America, specially when extremists get seats on parliaments and governments. It is appalling how once again we citizens are letting this happen until it is too late. Horror comes when realizing obscurantism contaminating our friends, families and homes.