Feeds

Which comes first: imagination or fantasy?

And what's the difference between the two?

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Also in this week's column:

Which comes first: imagination or fantasy?

Asked by Mike Valentine of Fort Mill, South Carolina

The word "imagination" comes from the Latin word imaginare and means "to form an image or to represent".

The imagination is the synthesis of mental images into new ideas. It is the power of the mind to form mental representations of a thought, concept, dream, symbol, or fantasy. The imagination has the power to create or re-create any sensation perceived or possibly perceived by the mind. Since sensation is reliant upon the body and the brain, the imagination cannot be entirely separated from either.

Imagination is not the opposite of reality. Instead, it is a means of adapting to reality. As such, imagination is essential to reality. Mental life could not exist without the imagination. Certainly creativity would be impossible without the imagination.

The imagination is one of the most unique and important aspects of being a human being.

The word "fantasy" comes from the Greek word phantazesthai and means "picture to oneself" - and that is exactly what it is.

A fantasy is a product of the imagination. It is an imagined sequence of events or mental images (for example, a daydream). It is a form of a story from the self with one common factor: The subject imagining the fantasy appears as one of the actors in the story.

A fantasy may originate from conflicts, desires, frustrations, or wishes when the imagination interacts with reality. A fantasy may substitute for action or pave the way for later action.

In Freudian terms, the fantasy may itself afford gratification for id impulses (our darkest and most hidden drives), may serve the ego as a defense (our recognised self), or may take over superego functions by providing the imagery on which concepts are based (our self we project to others).

A fantasy can be a conscious or unconscious construction. When it is unconscious, it is sometimes spelled "phantasy". Again, mental life could not exist without fantasy. And fantasy is also a unique and important aspect of being a human being.

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.