Feeds

Which comes first: imagination or fantasy?

And what's the difference between the two?

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
Major cyber attack hits Norwegian oil industry
Statoil, the gas giant behind the Scandie social miracle, targeted
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.