Tuesday, June 1, 2010

the wide stretches of fiction and reality

"even once we consciously know something is fictional, there is a part of us that believes it's real."

isn't that a great photo up above? i found this article today speculating on why it is that the imagination is such a pleasure to us. it's the kind of question an adult would ask, after all; children, with a more instinctive wisdom, already know. paul bloom, this article's author, cites his colleague's theory of "aliefs"–or rather, instinctive beliefs that are intrinsically linked to emotional responses over objective, sensory responses to fiction versus reality. or maybe "sensory" is the wrong word, if in this context an alief is triggered by more primitive sensations. seeing a man stumble over a cliff in a scary movie makes us jump, even though we know we're just watching a stunt double hopping against a blue screen.

i wonder what mr. bloom would have to say about dreams, then. are they an extension of the imagination, both real and unreal, full of both beliefs and aliefs? i sometimes wonder. there's no saying how wide are the stretches of the capacity of the human brain, nor how much we think we sense is reality. and if dreams are, on some plane of place and time, real, then why not novels and fiction? we long for stories, but what are we creating in the telling?

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it's not just for the classroom!