Why do we think delusive counterfactual fantasies?

Just like everything else our fantasies, delusions exist for a reason. We make things up because we need them. We need preventive measures; we need scenarios to practice, practice our vulnerabilities. It’s an effort; it’s a plan to overcome hardships. Stress and terror are functional; they make you ready for fight or flight. However, do it timely and relevantly.

We create counterfactual, unrealistic reflections of the world to cope with reality. It’s both a defense mechanism and a way of knowing. It seems that we produce knowledge by getting through mistakes. We also get ready for future events by rehearsing mistakes in our minds.

This is what we do as a kind, try and fail and then try again until we find a solution. The development relies on trial and error. Thanks to counterfactual -not real for now- thinking, we survived many dangers without even having to try and fail them. Think of it as a military simulation, a war game before the real fight.

Once upon a time, a businessman owed a large sum of money to an old, ugly loanshark who had a fancy on his beautiful daughter. Loan shark offered to wipe the debt if he could marry the businessman’s daughter. The proposal is accepted, and loanshark arranged an enactment to make it more legitimate. He announced that he placed two pebbles into a bag, one white and one black. The daughter would have to reach into the bag and pick out a pebble. If it was black, the debt would be wiped, but the loan-shark would then marry her. If it was white, the debt would also be wiped, but the daughter wouldn’t have to marry the loan-shark.

While he was picking them up, the daughter noticed that the loanshark picked up two black pebbles and placed them both into the bag. The draw was futile. She drew out a pebble from the bag, and before looking at it, ‘accidentally’ dropped it into the midst of the other pebbles. She said to the loanshark, “Oh, how clumsy of me. Never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.”

Loan-shark had to admit that the pebble she chose was white and let her out. In order to overcome unique, unfamiliar situations, you need to think out of the box. Fantasies are the source of creativity, useless thinking is creative thinking from another perspective. Don’t get disturbed by your specters. The make-believe fantasies are in the foundations of the society. The myth is all that we hold on to. Thanks to ghosts nobody travelled far into the forest. We gathered around for telling fantasy stories. Children, everyone is brought up with fairy tales.

Not everything has to be “realistic.” Counterfactual thinking can make it possible to come against all odds. Who would have thought the technological marvels, the global society, space-faring a few hundred years ago? It would have been a delusion if you spoke of the train to the ancient people or the primitive people in the Amazon. Modern civilization is a product of this type of non-existent thinking. The people who plunged into the unknown, who realized the fantasies. The fantasies that would be counted magic a few centuries ago, is a mundane activity now.

Even far out delusions are ok as long as you counter them with material real world. Everything is a manifestation, Your thinking is also a part of ontological reality, you and your mind is not independent from the cosmos. All you need to do is combining internal and external facts. They’re manifestations, emergences of everything you can imagine.

Moreover, we should note that the mind is a worktable that reflects the surroundings. You’re not on your own even in your mind. An individual is a result of the environment, culture has a word in your fantasies. Your delusions are caused by the feedback that society has given to you. They say “the mind is a good servant but a terrible master” It’s true if the mind here, is fantasies, personal imaginations.

It’s like planning a trip. You can’t stick to your plan if you don’t take others, external factors into account. You’re not alone in the universe. You’re a part of it and parts have to conform with the whole. You have to balance the delusions with factual observations and get feedback from other perspectives. You also have to separate imagination from defense mechanisms.

Occasionally you’ll have to deceive yourself to tackle inconvenient situations. Fantasies will deceive you and sometimes they will keep you alive. The ideals, non-existent pictures will give you a reason for living. Like bringing up a child, you’ll trick yourself, you’ll be fooled but in the end, they will prove to be fruitful.

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