Been thinking about these two words. How are they related, if at all? Does one precede the other? Do you need the ability to fantasize to build desire? Or vice versa?
The reason why I’m thinking about these words is because I’ve been working on some writing regarding the bible’s take on desire. Fantasy, per se, isn’t discussed in the bible but seems so much a part of desire.
Not to dismiss fantasy, but seems to me that when we fantasize, we passively engage in pleasure-seeking. But when we talk about desire, we often think about active attempts to satiate desire.
Any clarifying thoughts?
7 responses to “Fantasy vs. Desire?”
I’ve been pondering this interesting post… I don’t know that I have any clarifying thoughts, but I can offer my associations. I associate the term “fantasy” with thoughts and thought life. “Desire,” on the other hand, to me connotes the heart and the life of the spirit. So, in the infamous “head / heart” divide, I associate “fantasy” with the “head” and “desire” with the “heart.”
Sorry… should have also said that the two things are linked. I didn’t mean to imply an artificial separation. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
You really need to define what you mean by “fantasy.” I’m immediately off thinking about unicorns and gnomes and Harry Potter, not, uh, other things. Then again, there is the idea of engaging in a “fantasy world.”
I remember when I was taking a class a Biblical, I read in a book that engaging in fantasy thought of any kind was not to have one’s mind on God. It deeply disturbed me because my mind is often engaged in stories, not only that, but I write stories! This was a real crisis for me at the time.
Then I talked with my pastor and decided I was OK and that a little imagination was a God-given gift. It was only sinful if I allowed it to overtake my life and my relationship with God. It’s hard because I do get lost in a good book for distraction from momentary pain. But is that wrong? Should I completely cleave to God or can I still read a book for distraction and cleave to God? Ah, the anxious person’s thoughts are endless. 🙂
Imagination makes fantasy possible (the sci-fi kind as well as less that helpful kinds). If imagination isn’t good, then we lose all of CS Lewis, the most oft quoted author in sermons. That would be terrible.
Distractions are good in a limited way. Anything that takes over and becomes default and controlling isn’t the best in the end.
And we definitely couldn’t lose our C.S. Lewis!
To me, the distinction is this–going to a Sci-Fi convention dressed as a character from Star Trek is OK. Learning Klingon and having your ears altered to look like Capt. Spock’s is pushing it. Losing yourself in the fantasy is the problem…and considering what needs fantasy is fulfilling.
Like someone mentioned, it all goes back to the heart. It always goes back to the heart.
For some reason when I think of imagination I think of children’s story books and interpreting art etc. but when I think about fantasy I think about escapism. The problem I have with fantasy is that it seems to feed our unmet desires and so make us more miserable when we return to the “real world”. (ie: women watching romantic comedies makes them wish their husband was more romantic etc.) I think we need to be aware of what appeals to us about the fantasy & what it’s revealing about unmet desires in our life.
Isn’t escapism, any form of “checking out” of “real life” about trying to get away from problems we don’t want to deal with? Whether it’s mental, emotional, or physical escapism, it’s a coping mechanism. I think escapism in itself is not good or bad – it’s the application that can be constructive or destructive.
Jesus is the ultimate escapism – we can escape Hell by accepting His salvation.
Another “good” example of escapism: you’re grieving over the death of your beloved pet and after crying for an hour you decide to go play a videogame to remove yourself from the sad thoughts and emotions.
A “bad” example of escapism: you’ve been arguing with your wife so when the weekend comes around you go golfing to avoid being at home.
Unfortunately it is really easy to find yourself in an escapist lifestyle these days. It is important to first get your priorities and responsibilities covered, but also reach out and be productive and pursuant about doing God’s work, not just spending all of your free time in escapist activities or entertaining yourself. I think the first step is looking at your own activities/hobbies/interests and deciding if you can turn them into something productive and fruit-bearing.