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All the fun of the fantasy - Ed's journal
All the fun of the fantasy
Fantasies are fun. I sometimes think about being able to fly. How it might feel to be able to push off from the ground, feel the air support me like water, and be able to take flight, and swoop and soar effortlessly above the trees.
But despite that, I'm not going to throw myself off a building.

Or sometimes I look at someone, and fantasize about being able to explode their head with the power of my mind. OK, maybe I have actually tried that one, but trust me, it works about as well as trying to fly would.
Actually, what is kind of fun, is to get a kiwi fruit, or an egg and put it in the microwave. Picture someone you really dislike in there, and glare at it, willing to explode, chortling in glee when it actually does. You can even draw little faces on the eggs too. But be prepared to have to clean your microwave afterwards.

Anyway, fantasies are fun - escapism, entertainment, whatever. But it's when you start to stop thinking of them as fantasies that they can become harmful - leaping from a bridge, to find out the hard way that actually, you can't fly.

But if you think about it, we're presented with a fantasy on a daily basis - in adverts, magazines, papers, TV programs, films - we're given the fantasy of the pretty physique. Think if you will, when was the last time you saw someone 'average' looking in a lead role? When was the last time you saw someone 'a bit tubby' as anything other than a comedy sidekick?
That simply doesn't reflect what you see as you walk down the street.

That's ok, as long as it stays as much a fantasy as being able to fly is. I mean, it'd take quite a lot of surgery to get me to look like Angelina Jolie.

But it's quite a good trick if you think about it - take a straw poll around the office about what's 'pretty' and you'll get a fairly consistent opinion. The reason it's a trick, is because for the last hundred years or so, we've been _told_ what 'pretty' is supposed to look like. We've been presented with these fantasies, over and over as if they were fact. As if 'real' is everyone looking like glamour models.

But it's good marketing - I mean, if you didn't have something unattainable to aspire to, then you wouldn't buy their stuff. The hair care products know their thing is ... basically just shampoo, but they'll _imply_ that by using their ultra max sooper dooper thingy doodad with real science mixed in, you'll become that unattainable beautiful figure.

If you take the same straw poll around the office though, and ask the question of what is 'sexy' or what is 'beautiful' you'll get some quite different answers. The reason's actually quite simple - sexy is about personality. It's about confidence. It's about ... a whole load of things that don't actually have a lot to do with how you look.

Beauty is even more difficult to 'market'. It's very literally in the eye of the beholder - "Beauty is a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning, or satisfaction".
Pretty much by definition, therefore, it's impossible to have an objective measure of beauty, as something that is beautiful is something that you love. And in loving something - or someone - you cannot help but find beauty.

In English, that's where we start to trip up - we've only really got one word for 'love' and ... well, it means different things depending on how and where we use it.
Loving a brother has a different meaning from loving a friend, or loving a partner, or loving a leader, or loving a place, or loving a song, or loving an idea.
But they're still facets of the same thing. The sense of attraction and attachment that makes us feel good. The sense of something more, that drives us to accept and forgive something for what it is.

You can go to a pub, have a pleasant evening surrounded by friends and acquaintances. The difference is that a friend is a person who will forgive you your bad days. An acquaintance is someone who doesn't really see a need to do so.

But love doesn't sell cars. Love doesn't sell hair care products. Love doesn't let you be unhappy with something - love has so much bound up in it, that it's impossible to really define, but part of what it has is a sense of acceptance - you cannot love something, and ask it to become something else. You cannot love someone conditionally.
And you cannot love who you are conditionally either.

So if you think about it, you'll never see an advert for love or for beauty. But you'll see plenty for 'pretty' - and if they can convince you that 'pretty' is all that there is, then you'll be the one left chasing the unattainable, and forever discontent (and giving money to the companies trying to sell you the dream)
2 comments or Leave a comment
velvet_nothing From: velvet_nothing Date: February 4th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
At the same time, the market for love is very big, too. Almost all movies, books and TV series will have a romance plot (even in an action movie, it's often there), and people flock to see them for the spark, charisma and beauty of a good love story, or the pain, passion and curiosities of a realistic one ;o) Anything that can capture a little of the intricate, inexplicable feelings we can all relate to so well will also sell very well.

I do think it's possible to truly love somebody or something and want or even need them or it to 'become something else'. For instance, pretty much everybody who loves me would like to see me drink less. Sadly, when you want somebody you love to change *too* much (beyond their current capabilities), or can't bear to watch them self-destruct, then even love can become not enough for you to manage being around the person. Hmm... I'm rambling and I don't know if that made sense, or made the sense I wanted it to!

Anyway, love rocks! :o)
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 4th, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Romance plots ... yes, I suppose those are sort of that kind of thing. I'm less sure that they're quite the same though - they're still a degree of fantasy, but ... well, despite my 'oh god, not a girly plot' objections, I suppose that's a little more honest than 'if you buy this aftershave, all the women will lust after you' advertising :).

And yes, you can love someone, and want better for them. In fact, I'd have to say that's probably another part of the definition - the world is just not good enough for the people you care about.

Needing someone to change though? I think I'd tend to decouple that from loving them. But with a caveat that it's only when you care for someone, that you can really be hurt by them. Only when you trust someone can you be betrayed.
That pain can get too much. So for the sake of your sanity, you have to let go. You get hurt by someone enough, and you start to wonder if that love really is two way. And perhaps wondering if your presence is doing more harm than good.

Edited at 2010-02-04 04:48 pm (UTC)
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