When I saw LSB’s prompt for this week’s Quote Quest, I had to use the phrase Alice used in Alice in Wonderland. It seems fitting since my blog is named Down the Bunny Rabbit Hole. 🙂
The actual quote for this week’s prompt is:
“Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.”
~ Dr. Seuss
One thing I will say quickly is that Dr Seuss’s tales were fantasy. But not from his clever mind. They were, in reality, his wife’s ideas. He wrote the stories and took all the credit. Apologies to smash that fantasy, but it had to be said.
On the positive side, I took my daughter to see a live production of The Cat in the Hat. We loved it, and now when I read it back to her, I can’t help doing a silly ‘cat’ voice when I say, “it’s fun to have fun!”
When my niece was very young (at a similar age to my daughter), I suffered a horrible bout of depression. It lasted a good 3-4 months before starting to lift. When I played with my niece, it boosted my mood, even if only for a short time. I was able to escape the storminess in my mind. My mum said she saw glimmers of me come out in the odd smile when I played a make-believe game with my niece.
Since having my own daughter, depression has been something that has simmered below the surface. I felt pretty traumatised by her premature birth and the pressure of providing milk for her. Nonetheless, she has flourished, and I like to think it’s because she has always used her imagination when playing. She’s had to since she is an only child. I remember as a toddler, she’d be in her playpen and she’d put her coloured hoops around her feet and say they were ‘shoes.’ I bought her a puppet dragon one Christmas, and she loved it. The dragon comes out of its own egg. I pretended to make it fly around her and her smiles were joyful.
My daughter has been a happy child, and I believe it is because we encourage her to use her own way of interpreting the world around her. We give her information that she can use to make her own decisions. If she is afraid to try something, we encourage her, by saying ‘it’s better to have a go and make a mistake than to not try at all.’
As an adult, I think it’s just as important to have fantasies. They don’t have to be sexual. You could fantasise about having a large family that gets along brilliantly. Or, you could imagine you have travelled the world and learnt various languages. If a fantasy helps you live each day with a smile, then surely that is better than ending each day with tears of despair. I think fantasies about events and experiences will be more rewarding and sustaining than fantasies about having material wealth. Making human connections, and living a well-rounded life is more fruitful for our quality of life than having riches. It’s also paramount to our mental health and well-being.
If we look at life ‘through the wrong end of a telescope,’ it grounds us and makes us remember we are all human. Life is hard. Through living with hardship, we can empathise with others. Compassion wins when there is adversity. To fantasise makes us human; machines cannot do the same. Machines definitely cannot laugh, unless they are programmed to.