Fantasy and Imagination

2001 A Space Odyssey is a fantasy and yet these sci-fi writers tend to be just ahead of their times.

We do have a space station although' not finished yet and it is a long way off becoming a tourist destination.

Journey to the Center of the Earth could be classified as a fantasy .

Remember the giant mushrooms in the movie?

‘They’ recently found fossilized mushrooms as big as that, so it isn't all fantasy

Are things seen as fantasy until they exist and then called a leap of the imagination?

Remember Dick Tracy's wrist watch?

Almost everyone has a cell phone now, again not so much fantasy

Fantasy and imagination are too much the same to carry a discussion,

Fantasy is the human mind exploring different possibilities, this is at least as important as scientific research, it all leads to new things

Imagination is a tool for making things happen or giving new insights.

Imagination doesn't require fantasy to give it 'wings', but fantasy requires imagination or it never gets off the ground.

Imagination is the vehicle that makes an idea a reality.

I have noticed that the folks that are really taken with science, logic, rationality and so on, tend to be impatient with and condescending to others who explore different ways of experiencing life and who look for different connections.

We imagine everything before we do it, after we do it and even while we're doing it. Imagination is what governs our every move

It’s a lot like faith in the way it reduces everything to one method of understanding. Usually those most insecure in their beliefs that hang on to science alone (vice verse /religion)

Maybe it's because some folk are thinkers and others doers? I like to live and think a little bigger than that and maybe I can have some fun along the way.

Einstein claims he came to his conclusions by fantasizing about what it would be like to ride a beam of light, trying to imagine how the world would appear.

We also use our imagination to do new things with something, to change it, to improve it, etc. Anything we invent initially comes from our imagination in some way.

Fantasy is imagination unrestricted by reality. Fantasy can plant a seed that leads to progress or an invention of some kind, but it's really only the spark. It takes imagination and logic to make something a reality.

It’s the connections that lead in new directions . I understand that, for some concerns, empirical evidence is a necessity but I don't want to limit my life or my thoughts just to that.

"Science can often be as dogmatic as anyone else. To cross the line of rigid interpretation is difficult for those that hold tight to the greats of the past . Often in their quest for veriodical answers they ignore the steps others are taking toward their own answers. Peoples needs vary while sharing ideas . " - Santi P

When man started dreaming of flying, it was not fantasy that sparked that particular dream. It was watching a bird. It was his imagination and his ability to expound on that little piece of reality that made it become a possibility. He no doubt fantasized about being able to fly, but the logical process came from observing reality (the bird) and imagining how to adapt that reality to enable a human to fly.

When man looked at the moon and had the urge to go there, it wasn't the fantasy of 'all-you-can-eat-green cheese' that made it happen.

The Concorde was at first a dream ; it took engineers to make the dream real. The original dream had to be dreamt.

We imagined how we could use the plane's design to make a space ship. People probably fantasized about it before it was anything but absurd, but it wasn't the fantasy that motivated the actual reality of building that ship.

So while we may fantasize about something, when it actually comes to the logical process involved, we are using our imagination to build or modify or improve some design that we already have.

Progress and new inventions are usually a step by step process of one idea that begets another and another, based on what is and not what is not yet.

Often fantasy is not involved at all, but imagination always is. Imagination is the creator and the manual labor. Fantasy doesn't get anything done. It takes a logical process to do that.

Tomorrow is in the imagination of those here today. Today's science is the fantasy of the past . Each is as valid as the outcome?

Imagination holds a realistic degree of equality, since imagination is coupled with logic to get things done.

But then I don't think fantasy and imagination are really as similar as they seem.

Imagination is always integrated with reality and fantasy may or may not be.

The greatest change comes from the smaller sub- cultures ; with the fewest people on a veriodical plain (that are not easily understood).

Imagination is integral to growth.

"imagination is more important than knowledge"------

Albert Einstein.

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Politics & Current Affairs

Political division is nothing new. Throughout American history there have been numerous flare ups in which the political arena was more than just tense but incideniary. In a letter addressed to William Hamilton in 1800, Thomas Jefferson once lamented about how an emotional fervor had swept over the populace in regards to a certain political issue at the time. It disturbed him greatly to see how these political issues seemed to seep into every area of life and even affect people's interpersonal relationships. At one point in the letter he states:

"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend."

Today, we Americans find ourselves in a similar situation, with our political environment even more splintered due to a number of factors. The advent of mass digital media, siloed identity-driven political groups, and a societal lack of understanding of basic discursive fundamentals all contribute to the problem.

Civil discourse has fallen to an all time low.

The question that the American populace needs to ask itself now is: how do we fix it?

Discursive fundamentals need to be taught to preserve free expression

In a 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey by Cato, it was found that 71% of Americans believe that political correctness had silenced important discussions necessary to our society. Many have pointed to draconian university policies regarding political correctness as a contributing factor to this phenomenon.

It's a great irony that, colleges, once true bastions of free-speech, counterculture and progressiveness, have now devolved into reactionary tribal politics.

Many years ago, one could count on the fact that universities would be the first places where you could espouse and debate any controversial idea without consequence. The decline of staple subjects that deal with the wisdom of the ancients, historical reference points, and civic discourse could be to blame for this exaggerated partisanship boiling on campuses.

Young people seeking an education are given a disservice when fed biased ideology, even if such ideology is presented with the best of intentions. Politics are but one small sliver for society and the human condition at large. Universities would do well to instead teach the principles of healthy discourse and engagement across the ideological spectrum.

The fundamentals of logic, debate and the rich artistic heritage of western civilization need to be the central focus of an education. They help to create a well-rounded citizen that can deal with controversial political issues.

It has been found that in the abstract, college students generally support and endorse the first amendment, but there's a catch when it comes to actually practicing it. This was explored in a Gallup survey titled: Free Expression on Campus: What college students think about First amendment issues.

In their findings the authors state:

"The vast majority say free speech is important to democracy and favor an open learning environment that promotes the airing of a wide variety of ideas. However, the actions of some students in recent years — from milder actions such as claiming to be threatened by messages written in chalk promoting Trump's candidacy to the most extreme acts of engaging in violence to stop attempted speeches — raise issues of just how committed college students are to
upholding First Amendment ideals.

Most college students do not condone more aggressive actions to squelch speech, like violence and shouting down speakers, although there are some who do. However, students do support many policies or actions that place limits on speech, including free speech zones, speech codes and campus prohibitions on hate speech, suggesting that their commitment to free speech has limits. As one example, barely a majority think handing out literature on controversial issues is "always acceptable."

With this in mind, the problems seen on college campuses are also being seen on a whole through other pockets of society and regular everyday civic discourse. Look no further than the dreaded and cliche prospect of political discussion at Thanksgiving dinner.

Talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner

As a result of this increased tribalization of views, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to engage in polite conversation with people possessing opposing viewpoints. The authors of a recent Hidden Tribes study broke down the political "tribes" in which many find themselves in:

  • Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.
  • Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.
  • Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.
  • Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial
  • Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.
  • Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.
  • Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,

Understanding these different viewpoints and the hidden tribes we may belong to will be essential in having conversations with those we disagree with. This might just come to a head when it's Thanksgiving and you have a mix of many different personalities, ages, and viewpoints.

It's interesting to note the authors found that:

"Tribe membership shows strong reliability in predicting views across different political topics."

You'll find that depending on what group you identify with, that nearly 100 percent of the time you'll believe in the same way the rest of your group constituents do.

Here are some statistics on differing viewpoints according to political party:

  • 51% of staunch liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis.
  • 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
  • 51% of Democrats support a law that requires Americans use transgender people's preferred gender pronouns.
  • 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
  • 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
  • 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.

Understanding the fact that tribal membership indicates what you believe, can help you return to the fundamentals for proper political engagement

Here are some guidelines for civic discourse that might come in handy:

  • Avoid logical fallacies. Essentially at the core, a logical fallacy is anything that detracts from the debate and seeks to attack the person rather than the idea and stray from the topic at hand.
  • Practice inclusion and listen to who you're speaking to.
  • Have the idea that there is nothing out of bounds for inquiry or conversation once you get down to an even stronger or new perspective of whatever you were discussing.
  • Keep in mind the maxim of : Do not listen with the intent to reply. But with the intent to understand.
  • We're not trying to proselytize nor shout others down with our rhetoric, but come to understand one another again.
  • If we're tied too closely to some in-group we no longer become an individual but a clone of someone else's ideology.

Civic discourse in the divisive age

Debate and civic discourse is inherently messy. Add into the mix an ignorance of history, rabid politicization and debased political discourse, you can see that it will be very difficult in mending this discursive staple of a functional civilization.

There is still hope that this great divide can be mended, because it has to be. The Hidden Tribes authors at one point state:

"In the era of social media and partisan news outlets, America's differences have become
dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants,
the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.
These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and
putting our democracy in peril.

Once a country has become tribalized, debates about contested issues from
immigration and trade to economic management, climate change and national security,
become shaped by larger tribal identities. Policy debate gives way to tribal conflicts.
Polarization and tribalism are self-reinforcing and will likely continue to accelerate.
The work of rebuilding our fragmented society needs to start now. It extends from
re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to
building a renewed sense of national identity: a bigger story of us."

We need to start teaching people how to approach subjects from less of an emotional or baseless educational bias or identity, especially in the event that the subject matter could be construed to be controversial or uncomfortable.

This will be the beginning of a new era of understanding, inclusion and the defeat of regressive philosophies that threaten the core of our nation and civilization.