Every ideal, every situation has it’s opposite. Pessimism is countered by optimism. Negativity is negated by positivity. Then there is this one ideal I’ve always come about to be told as ideal, to be a realist. The ideal ideal. Realism, in the modern era seems to be the cracking whip used by most – the elders, the accomplished, the successful – to mould and shape a young mind the way the society and the world demands. They think that the child is too imaginative, naive and daft for it.
The idea of imagination is a curious one. It oscillates from being beautiful to self damaging. As a child, you’re expected to ‘break open the shackles of conventional thinking’ and ‘use the endless possibilities of your mind’. Somewhere as you grow up, that demand decreases. You are expected to adjust into, settle into the definitions provided. Rigid and uncompromising. The derivatives of one’s imagination are used less and less, and the conscious leaves it’s efforts to create.
That’s when the beauty begins. Where the conscious gives up, the subconscious picks up.
“In dreams, we enter a world that’s entirely our own.” – Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
Amongst the most nagging questions one faces are the ‘what ifs’ and ‘how wills’. These often arise from a scenario built up in one’s subconscious, which rarely match with the situations around you. You dream, you wish, you speculate, and you win. Somewhere, every young child’s heroic wish is fulfilled. A very astute concept of it was laid out by J. K. Rowling in the Harry Potter Series, with the Mirror of Erised. The mirror would reflect your inner desires, what you want the most. Who doesn’t want to be successful? To feel wanted? To be acknowledged, praised, loved and cared about? That’s where imagination kicks in.
Imagination. It grips you,sucking you in. Like a black hole. A pleasurable black hole, because you control that simulation. You decide it’s situations, you devise it’s events. You’re either the hero of a perfect world, a champion of the underpriviledged, you’re with the one you couldn’t be, or with the one who’s lost or whatever your true feelings lay out for you. Dwelling in it, like spending hours in front of the Mirror of Erised, will take you away from the excruciating clutches of the reality, for a while. You love to be there, you want to spend the most time there. That’s where the compulsive tendency becomes dangerous. As our friend did warn,
“It does not do to dwell on dreams, and forget to live.” – A. P. W. B. Dumbledore
Excessive dwelling in the wishful world, a world of your own makes you obssessive about a world perfect for you. Such is the cruel tale of life. It is for everyone, yet nobody’s monopoly. It’s definitions change frequently, a little too quickly an imaginative mind would adjust to. When the differences between the hypothetical world and the real world become vast, that’s when things start getting ugly. The shock of finding out that you may or may not be what you dream in reality, or what you have there vanishes here, after a long state of other worldly trance can be difficult to adjust to. It can be as sudden as snatching away the crutches of a disabled person, leaving him unbalanced, unfocused and in pain.
The world of imagination is beautiful, but as most often said, too much of a good thing has to be bad. However, I’d like to call upon the wisdom of Albus Dumbledore one last time,
“Of course it’s happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?”