What is it we’re doing in imagining things that aren’t quite true yet bear a startling resemblance to reality? All these stories, characters or worlds we take in, go along with and make part of our lives. Almost this whole other realm existing around our heads, peopling our minds with concerns and emotions that aren’t quite our own.
There must be a purpose to it, given how it tends to be one of the hallmarks of civilisation: the tales we tell to symbolise, inspire or remind us where we’re from and what should matter. As if “to be human” means to have an overarching storyline in mind that unites us with community and sets us on good paths. As if we “need” the narrative, the compelling vision of what life is or could be.
Where such stories come from may be impossible to answer – the history behind all these strange and magical tales that grew up around humanity, filling its souls with belief in the value of their existence and the potential for their development. What we believe seems such a powerful thing: the lens through which we’re interpreting reality and options we feel able to offer in response. (Notes One)
Sometimes it seems that “what fills people’s minds” is truly where the future lies. That colouring our perceptions in a certain light might effectively serve in bringing that vision to life as our thoughts and responses filter through into society each day. All these subtle assumptions or conclusions about anything’s value, worth or significance.
Seeing “our world” represented through culture – taken into that world of fantasy to be safely worked through for our observation – seems such an interesting process. That we might listen, watch, read, and have such content brought to life through our perceptions and imagination, just as reality itself makes its ways into our minds, thoughts and beliefs. An alternative, symbolic reality we might learn from.
What are we to make of it? Are we to identify fully, crafting our life or self around its suggestions? Does it simply wash over us, filling our souls with fear, judgement, relief or powerlessness? Should we hold this at arm’s length to reflect on what it’s offering before deciding what our real-world response should be? The individual interaction with culture seems fascinating.
At times, it seems like a world filled with reflections, reference points or representations; a place we might look to understand ourselves, our world, our choices and their consequences (Notes Two). Perhaps a place that seeks to weave together past and future, drawing those threads into this present moment where we decide what we’ll do – our understanding and our hope forging paths we then walk.
It just seems such a powerful thing, this gateway into the human mind. What we make of it and where it might lead can seem deeply significant: much as this could unite us all through compelling visions, it must also have the potential to divide us up into realities of our own making.
Notes and References:
Note 1: Culture, thought & coexistence
Note 1: Going along with what we see
Note 1: The stories that we hear
Note 1: What’s the idea with culture?
Note 2: Culture as what we relate to
Note 2: What are we building here?
Note 2: Culture’s conversation as a way of life
Note 2: Do we need to understand the past?
Note 2: Being conscious of our constructions