Fiction And Reality Quotes

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The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.
Tom Clancy
To really be a nerd, she'd decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.
Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl)
Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.
Jessamyn West
A fit, healthy body—that is the best fashion statement
Jess C. Scott
Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay. I'm always irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality. It is a plunge into reality and it's very shocking to the system.
Flannery O'Connor (Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose)
Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.
Arthur Conan Doyle (A Case of Identity - a Sherlock Holmes Short Story (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes #3))
[Horror fiction] shows us that the control we believe we have is purely illusory, and that every moment we teeter on chaos and oblivion.
Clive Barker
Children know perfectly well that unicorns aren’t real, but they also know that books about unicorns, if they are good books, are true books.
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction)
That's what fiction is about, isn't it, the selective transforming of reality? The twisting of it to bring out its essence?
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
As a girl, she had come to believe in the ideal man -- the prince or knight of her childhood stories. In the real world, however, men like that simply didn't exist.
Nicholas Sparks (Message in a Bottle)
Please, touch me, I pray.
Jess C. Scott (The Intern)
Do not, under any circumstances, belittle a work of fiction by trying to turn it into a carbon copy of real life; what we search for in fiction is not so much reality but the epiphany of truth.
Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books)
Today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups... So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.
Philip K. Dick
I created the OASIS because I never felt at home in the real world. I didn't know how to connect with the people there. I was afraid, for all of my life, right up until I knew it was ending. That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it's also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real.
Ernest Cline (Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1))
Good fiction creates its own reality.
Nora Roberts (The Stanislaski Brothers: Mikhail and Alex (Stanislaskis #2 & 4))
The point of stories is not that they are objectively true, but that the soul of the story is truer than reality. Those who mock fiction do so because they fear the truth.
Cassandra Clare (Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1))
if something is there, you can only see it with your eyes open, but if it isn't there, you can see it just as well with your eyes closed. That's why imaginary things are often easier to see than real ones.
Norton Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth)
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.
Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
Adults...struggle desperately with fiction, demanding constantly that it conform to the rules of everyday life. Adults foolishly demand to know how Superman can possibly fly, or how Batman can possibly run a multibillion-dollar business empire during the day and fight crime at night, when the answer is obvious even to the smallest child: because it's not real.
Grant Morrison (Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human)
fiction: the ocean i dive headfirst into when i can no longer breathe in reality. - a mermaid escapist II.
Amanda Lovelace (The Princess Saves Herself in This One (Women Are Some Kind of Magic, #1))
as soon as we renounce fiction and illusion, we lose reality itself; the moment we subtract fictions from reality, reality itself loses its discursive-logical consistency.
Slavoj Žižek (Tarrying with the Negative: Kant, Hegel, and the Critique of Ideology)
The trouble with fiction," said John Rivers, "is that it makes too much sense. Reality never makes sense.
Aldous Huxley (The Genius And The Goddess)
Sometimes fiction is more easily understood than true events. Reality is often pathetic.
Young-Ha Kim (I Have the Right to Destroy Myself)
The child intuitively comprehends that although these stories are unreal, they are not untrue ...
Bruno Bettelheim (The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales)
The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible.
Mark Twain
Reality is a cliché from which we escape by metaphor.
Wallace Stevens (The Necessary Angel: Essays on Reality and the Imagination)
For us, the playground of fiction is just as important as reality
Ryohgo Narita
Beyond the fiction of reality, there is the reality of the fiction.
Slavoj Žižek (Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism)
There are people who think that things that happen in fiction do not really happen. These people are wrong.
Neil Gaiman
It occurs to me that the peculiarity of most things we think of as fragile is how tough they truly are. There were tricks we did with eggs, as children, to show how they were, in reality, tiny load-bearing marble halls; while the beat of the wings of a butterfly in the right place, we are told, can create a hurricane across an ocean. Hearts may break, but hearts are the toughest of muscles, able to pump for a lifetime, seventy times a minute, and scarcely falter along the way. Even dreams, the most delicate and intangible of things, can prove remarkable difficult to kill.
Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders)
The thing about real life is, when you do something stupid, it normally costs you. In books the heroes can make as many mistakes as they like. It doesn't matter what they do, because everything works out in the end. They'll beat the bad guys and put things right and everything ends up cool. In real life, vacuum cleaners kill spiders. If you cross a busy road without looking, you get whacked by a car. If you fall from a tree, you break some bones. Real life's nasty. It's cruel. It doesn't care about heroes and happy endings and the way things should be. In real life, bad things happen. People die. Fights are lost. Evil often wins. I just wanted to make that clear before I begun.
Darren Shan (Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare (Cirque du Freak, #1))
Truth be told, I liked that blurriness. That line where reality and fiction jutted up against each other.
Brittany Cavallaro (A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes, #1))
Reality is shaped by the forces that destroy it.
D. Harlan Wilson (The Kyoto Man)
I exaggerate a lot and I get fiction and reality mixed up, but I don't actually ever lie.
Lucia Berlin (A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories)
A well-thought-out story doesn’t need to resemble real life. Life itself tries with all its might to resemble a well-crafted story.
Isaac Babel
Your strength as a rationalist is your ability to be more confused by fiction than by reality. If you are equally good at explaining any outcome, you have zero knowledge.
Eliezer Yudkowsky
Good fiction is made of that which is real, and reality is difficult to come by.
Ralph Ellison
Science fiction is very well suited to asking philosophical questions; questions about the nature of reality, what it means to be human, how do we know the things that we think we know.
Ted Chiang
When fiction has become reality, life may turn into a fairy tale or a firestorm. Tina, time has come to pull up one’s socks and start relearning and reassessing living. ("Another empty room")
Erik Pevernagie
Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end.
George R.R. Martin
The illusion is we are only physical.
Vanna Bonta (Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel)
In fiction: we find the predictable boring. In real life: we find the unpredictable terrifying.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
[novan]: bassists are very good with their fingers [novan]: and some of us sing backup vocals, so that means we're good with our mouths too... (~ IM chat with Novan Chang, 18, bassist)
Jess C. Scott (EyeLeash: A Blog Novel)
Imagine you’re a fish, swimming in a pond. You can move forward and back, side to side, but never up out of the water. If someone were standing beside the pond, watching you, you’d have no idea they were there. To you, that little pond is an entire universe. Now imagine that someone reaches down and lifts you out of the pond. You see that what you thought was the entire world is only a small pool. You see other ponds. Trees. The sky above. You realize you’re a part of a much larger and more mysterious reality than you had ever dreamed of.
Blake Crouch (Dark Matter)
In response to be asked about Boris Johnson becoming UK Prime Minister... "I'm delighted. As the UK continues to plunge ever faster into a future akin to a dystopian novel I'll never run out of material to write more books. Although now that reality is more bizarre than fiction maybe plot-lines will need to be more ambitious. Perhaps a book where Boris Johnson is really an accidental sentient snafu of Trump's scrotum lint. Kind of a sequel to the Bush-Blair story. I see musical rights being drawn up as we speak.
R.D. Ronald
Non fiction? Non fiction?! Listen, reality is what got me into this mess in the first place.
Justin Alcala
Don't believe everything you read or hear, remember a large part of our world is made up of fiction!!
Victoria Addino
Everything is becoming science fiction. From the margins of an almost invisible literature has sprung the intact reality of the 20th century.
J.G. Ballard
We both wondered whether these contradictions that one can't avoid if one begins to think of time and space may not really be proofs that the whole of life is a dream, and the moon and stars bits of nightmare.
Arthur Machen (The Terror by Arthur Machen, Fiction, Fantasy, Classics, Mystery & Detective)
I want to write about people I love, and put them into a fictional world spun out of my own mind, not the world we actually have, because the world we actually have does not meet my standards. Okay, so I should revise my standards; I'm out of step. I should yield to reality. I have never yielded to reality. That's what SF is all about. If you wish to yield to reality, go read Philip Roth; read the New York literary establishment mainstream bestselling writers….This is why I love SF. I love to read it; I love to write it. The SF writer sees not just possibilities but wild possibilities. It's not just 'What if' - it's 'My God; what if' - in frenzy and hysteria. The Martians are always coming.
Philip K. Dick
To come to know that nothing is good, nothing is bad, is a turning point; it is a conversion. You start looking in; the outside reality loses meaning. The social reality is a fiction, a beautiful drama; you can participate in it, but then you don’t take it seriously. It is just a role to be played; play it as beautifully, as efficiently, as possible. But don’t take it seriously, it has nothing of the ultimate in it.
Osho
That's what so many people didn't understand about life. The real world is the one within the walls of homes; the outside world, of careers and politics and money and fame, that was the fake world, where nothing lasted, and things were real only to the extent they harmed or helped people inside their homes.
Orson Scott Card (Hidden Empire (Empire, #2))
The story you are about to read is a work of fiction. Nothing - and everything - about it is real.
Todd Strasser
She has spent most of the day reading and is feeling rather out of touch with reality, as if her own life has become insubstantial in the face of the fiction she's been absorbed in.
Maggie O'Farrell (After You'd Gone)
I had lines inside me, a string of guiding lights. I had language. Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines. What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination. I had been damaged, and a very important part of me had been destroyed - that was my reality, the facts of my life. But on the other side of the facts was who I could be, how I could feel. And as long as I had words for that, images for that, stories for that, then I wasn't lost.
Jeanette Winterson (Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?)
The barriers between reality and fiction are softer than we think; a bit like a frozen lake. Hundreds of people can walk across it, but then one evening a thin spot develops and someone falls through; the hole is frozen over by the following morning.
Jasper Fforde (The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, #1))
Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth. Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this Universe there shines a star. But every one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious than the small, nearby star we call the Sun. And many--perhaps most--of those alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, his own private, world-sized heaven--or hell. How many of those potential heavens and hells are now inhabited, and by what manner of creatures, we have no way of guessing; the very nearest is a million times farther away than Mars or Venus, those still remote goals of the next generation. But the barriers of distance are crumbling; one day we shall meet our equals, or our masters, among the stars. Men have been slow to face this prospect; some still hope that it may never become reality. Increasing numbers, however are asking; 'Why have such meetings not occurred already, since we ourselves are about to venture into space?' Why not, indeed? Here is one possible answer to that very reasonable question. But please remember: this is only a work of fiction. The truth, as always, will be far stranger.
Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #1))
A spell... this is real life, not some magical world - what kind of an alternate reality did I stumble into?
Carl Novakovich (The Watchers: The Tomb)
You do not even think of your own past as quite real; you dress it up, you gild it or blacken it, censor it, tinker with it...fictionalize it, in a word, and put it away on a shelf - your book, your romanced autobiography. We are all in the flight from the real reality. That is the basic definition of Homo sapiens.
John Fowles (The French Lieutenant's Woman)
Which came first — the observer or the particle?
Vanna Bonta (Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel)
We have all been fooled into believing in people who are entirely imaginary--made-up prisoners in a hypothetical panopticon. But the point isn't whether or not you believe in imaginary people; it's whether or not you want to. "I think I'll stick with reality," I said, handing Cassidy back her phone. She stared at it, and then me, disappointed. "I'd think you of all people would want to escape." "Imaginary prisoners are still prisoners.
Robyn Schneider (The Beginning of Everything)
Like the moon shining bright Up high with all its grace, I can only show you at night And hide half of my face.
Ana Claudia Antunes (Pierrot & Columbine (The Pierrot´s Love Book 1))
That's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again.
Kelly Marcel & Sue Smith
It's a true image, born of a false spectacle.
Jean Genet (The Balcony)
The mind is the reality. You are what you think.
Alfred Bester (The Demolished Man)
If you want to make a documentary you should automatically go to the fiction, and if you want to nourish your fiction you have to come back to reality.
Jean-Luc Godard
I live in a peculiar world," she said, "in a place where reality ends and a fiction begins. Maybe that's why I love you.
Michael Faudet (Bitter Sweet Love)
Whether I like it or not, most of my images of what various historical periods feel, smell, or sound like were acquired well before I set foot in any history class. They came from Margaret Mitchell, from Anya Seton, from M.M. Kaye, and a host of other authors, in their crackly plastic library bindings. Whether historians acknowledge it or not, scholarly history’s illegitimate cousin, the historical novel, plays a profound role in shaping widely held conceptions of historical realities.
Lauren Willig
The family is the cradle of the world’s misinformation. There must be something in family life that generates factual error. Over-closeness, the noise and heat of being. Perhaps even something deeper like the need to survive. Murray says we are fragile creatures surrounded by a world of hostile facts. Facts threaten our happiness and security. The deeper we delve into things, the looser our structure may seem to become. The family process works towards sealing off the world. Small errors grow heads, fictions proliferate. I tell Murray that ignorance and confusion can’t possibly be the driving forces behind family solidarity. What an idea, what a subversion. He asks me why the strongest family units exist in the least developed societies. Not to know is a weapon of survival, he says. Magic and superstition become entrenched as the powerful orthodoxy of the clan. The family is strongest where objective reality is most likely to be misinterpreted. What a heartless theory, I say. But Murray insists it’s true.
Don DeLillo (White Noise)
There's a fine line between imagination and reality. An inventor dreams something up, and pretty soon, it's there on the table before him. A science-fiction writer envisions another world, and then some space probe finds it. If you believe in something strongly enough, I think you can make it happen.
Ridley Pearson (Disney After Dark (Kingdom Keepers, #1))
Given that external reality is a fiction, the writer's role is almost superfluous. He does not need to invent the fiction because it is already there.
J.G. Ballard
A deus ex machina will never appear in real life so you best make other arrangements.
Marisha Pessl (Special Topics in Calamity Physics)
Fiction isn't bad. It is vital. Without commonly accepted stories about things like money, states or corporations, no complex human society can function. We can't play football unless everyone believes in the same made-up rules, and we can't enjoy the benefits of markets and courts without similar make-believe stories. But stories are just tools. They shouldn't become our goals or our yardsticks. When we forget that they are mere fiction, we lose touch with reality. Then we begin entire wars `to make a lot of money for the cooperation' or 'to protect the national interest'. Corporations, money and nations exist only in our imagination. We invented them to serve us; why do we find ourselves sacrificing our life in their service.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
The difference between real life and a story is that life has significance, while a story must have meaning. The former is not always apparent, while the latter always has to be, before the end.
Vera Nazarian
I use Fiction to face Reality And write dark Stories in hope to brighten my Path.
A. Mani (Sun Stealer: Hidden Anomaly (Sun Stealer, #1))
Fantasy is not antirational, but pararational; not realistic but surrealistic, a heightening of reality. In Freud's terminology, it employs primary not secondary process thinking. It employs archetypes which, as Jung warned us, are dangerous things. Fantasy is nearer to poetry, to mysticism, and to insanity than naturalistic fiction is. It is a wilderness, and those who go there should not feel too safe.
Ursula K. Le Guin
It was good of Friedrich Nietzsche to declare God dead – I declare that he has never been born. It is a created fiction, an invention, not a discovery. Do you understand the difference between invention and discovery? A discovery is about truth, an invention is manufactured by you. It is man-manufactured fiction. Certainly it has given consolation, but consolation is not the right thing! Consolation is opium. It keeps you unaware of the reality, and life is flowing past you so quickly – seventy years will be gone soon. Anybody who gives you a belief system is your enemy, because the belief system becomes the barrier for your eyes, you cannot see the truth. The very desire to find the truth disappears. But in the beginning it is bitter if all your belief systems are taken away from you. The fear and anxiety which you have been suppressing for millennia, which is there, very alive, will surface immediately. No God can destroy it, only the search for truth and the experience of truth – not a belief – is capable of healing all your wounds, of making you a whole being. And the whole person is the holy person to me
Osho
At this point, realism is perhaps the least adequate means of understanding or portraying the incredible realities of our existence.
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction)
A memory is its own thing each time it's recalled. It's not absolute. Stories based on actual events often share more with fiction than fact. Both fictions and memories are recalled and retold. They're both forms of stories. Stories are the way we learn. Stories are how we understand each other. But reality happens only once.
Iain Reid (I'm Thinking of Ending Things)
fiction: the ocean i dive headfirst into when i can no longer breathe in reality.   - a mermaid escapist II.
Amanda Lovelace (The Princess Saves Herself in this One)
It's impossible to walk through solid rock... You have to walk between the molecules that make up the rock.
J.M. Dattilo
It is ourselves we encounter whenever we invent fictions.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
All stories have a curious and even dangerous power. They are manifestations of truth -- yours and mine. And truth is all at once the most wonderful yet terrifying thing in the world, which makes it nearly impossible to handle. It is such a great responsibility that it's best not to tell a story at all unless you know you can do it right. You must be very careful, or without knowing it you can change the world.
Vera Nazarian (Dreams of the Compass Rose)
Then he reflected that reality does not usually coincide with our anticipation of it; with a logic of his own he inferred that to forsee a circumstantial detail is to prevent its happening. Trusting in this weak magic, he invented, so that they would not happen, the most gruesome details.
Jorge Luis Borges (Collected Fictions)
History has its truth, and so has legend. Legendary truth is of another nature than historical truth. Legendary truth is invention whose result is reality. Furthermore, history and legend have the same goal; to depict eternal man beneath momentary man.
Victor Hugo (Ninety-Three)
Fiction can be more real to the reader than reality itself because fiction is the essence of life
James N. Frey (How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling)
Reality runs the risk of spoiling things, don't you think? The fantasy is often better. That's where the soul is fulfilled. Reality struggles to fulfil the soul, that's why we're often so unhappy. But fantasy is the world of the soul...
James Lusarde (The Train of Arousal)
You can’t be friends with someone you have feelings for. It’ll just be a constant reminder of what you can’t have. It’s like putting boiling water in an ice cold glass. It’s gonna bust and make a mess.
Jaime Reed (Keep Me In Mind)
All interpretation or observation of reality is necessarily fiction. In this case, the problem is that man is a moral animal abandoned in an amoral universe and condemned to a finite existence with no other purpose than to perpetuate the natural cycle of the species. It is impossible to survive in a prolonged state of reality, at least for a human being. We spend a good part of our lives dreaming, especially when we're awake.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Angel's Game (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #2))
Writing fiction feels like an adventurous act, nudging aside reality a word at a time.
James Van Pelt
Fiction is the best kind of reality
Isabel Bandeira (Bookishly Ever After (Ever After, #1))
If reality is as equally valuable as fiction, then you should just chalk up the parts of the past you don’t need to your imagination
Ryohgo Narita
...true story of quantum mechanics, a truth far stranger than any fiction.
John Gribbin (In Search of Schrödinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality)
Reality is incredibly larger, infinitely more exciting, than the flesh and blood vehicle we travel in here. If you read science fiction, the more you read it the more you realize that you and the universe are part of the same thing. Science knows still practically nothing about the real nature of matter, energy, dimension, or time; and even less about those remarkable things called life and thought. But whatever the meaning and purpose of this universe, you are a legitimate part of it. And since you are part of the all that is, part of its purpose, there is more to you than just this brief speck of existence. You are just a visitor here in this time and this place, a traveler through it.
Gene Roddenberry
Reality is such a pain. Those of us who were fed up with that kind of reality decided to remake it. We’d set up a partition, separate what’s important to us from what was trash, put only the things we loved on our side, and got rid of the rest.
Ryohgo Narita
We live" writes Pursewarden somewhere, "lives based upon selected fictions. Our view of reality is conditioned by our position in space and time - not by our personalities as we like to think. Thus every interpretation of reality is based upon a unique position. Two paces east or west and the whole picture is changed.
Lawrence Durrell (Balthazar (The Alexandria Quartet #2))
We take off into the cosmos, ready for anything: for solitude, for hardship, for exhaustion, death. Modesty forbids us to say so, but there are times when we think pretty well of ourselves. And yet, if we examine it more closely, our enthusiasm turns out to be all a sham. We don't want to conquer the cosmos, we simply want to extend the boundaries of Earth to the frontiers of the cosmos. For us, such and such a planet is as arid as the Sahara, another as frozen as the North Pole, yet another as lush as the Amazon basin. We are humanitarian and chivalrous; we don't want to enslave other races, we simply want to bequeath them our values and take over their heritage in exchange. We think of ourselves as the Knights of the Holy Contact. This is another lie. We are only seeking Man. We have no need of other worlds. A single world, our own, suffices us; but we can't accept it for what it is. We are searching for an ideal image of our own world: we go in quest of a planet, a civilization superior to our own but developed on the basis of a prototype of our primeval past. At the same time, there is something inside us which we don't like to face up to, from which we try to protect ourselves, but which nevertheless remains, since we don't leave Earth in a state of primal innocence. We arrive here as we are in reality, and when the page is turned and that reality is revealed to us - that part of our reality which we would prefer to pass over in silence - then we don't like it anymore.
Stanisław Lem (Solaris)
The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.
Richard Dawkins (The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True)
The media are less a window on reality, than a stage on which officials and journalists perform self-scripted, self-serving fictions.
Thomas Sowell (The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy)
El misterio de la vida no es problema que hay que resolver, sino una realidad que hay que experimentar.
Frank Herbert (Dune (Dune #1))
The aim of the poet is to inform or delight, or to combine together, in what he says, both pleasure and applicability to life. In instructing, be brief in what you say in order that your readers may grasp it quickly and retain it faithfully. Superfluous words simply spill out when the mind is already full. Fiction invented in order to please should remain close to reality.
Horatius (Epistolas Ad Pisones De Ars Poetica)
Boy bands, fan fiction, soap operas, reality TV, most shows and movies with female main characters . . . We’re still so rarely front and center, even rarer when you consider race and sexuality, and then when we do get something that’s just for us, we’re made to feel bad for liking it. We can’t win.
Rachel Lynn Solomon (Today Tonight Tomorrow)
And so art is everywhere, since artifice is at the very heart of reality. And so art is dead, not only because its critical transcendence is gone, but because reality itself, entirely impregnated by an aesthetic which is inseparable from its own structure, has been confused with its own image. Reality no longer has the time to take on the appearance of reality. It no longer even surpasses fiction: it captures every dream even before it takes on the appearance of a dream.
Jean Baudrillard (Simulations (Semiotext(e)/ Foreign Agents))
The type of mind that can understand good fiction is not necessarily the educated mind, but it is at all times the kind of mind that is willing to have its sense of mystery deepened by contact with reality, and its sense of reality deepened by contact with mystery.
Flannery O'Connor (Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose)
Not all the magic of earth is benevolent.
Alden Bell
Some part of me knew from the first that what I wanted was not reality but myth.
Stephen King
Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines. What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination.
Jeanette Winterson
[Fiction and poetry] are medicines, they're doses, and they heal the rupture that reality makes on the imagination.
Jeanette Winterson
It was like, if love couldn’t exist in reality, at least it was alive in fiction.
Alex Light (The Upside of Falling)
The point of stories is not that they are objectively true, but that the soul of the story is truer than reality. Those who mock fiction do so because they fear truth.
Cassandra Clare (Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1) SNEAK PEEK EXCERPT)
I do not like postmodernism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn't be—basically, gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful—nonfiction only, please. I do not like genre mash-ups à la the literary detective novel or the literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and crossbreeding rarely results in anything satisfying. I do not like children's books, especially ones with orphans, and I prefer not to clutter my shelves with young adult. I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and—I imagine this goes without saying—vampires.
Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry)
It was not in my nature to be an assertive person. I was used to looking to others for guidance, for influence, sometimes for the most basic cues of life. And yet writing stories is one of the most assertive things a person can do. Fiction is an act of willfulness, a deliberate effort to reconceive, to rearrange, to reconstitute nothing short of reality itself. Even among the most reluctant and doubtful of writers, this willfulness must emerge. Being a writer means taking the leap from listening to saying, “Listen to me.
Jhumpa Lahiri
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Ito finally, who had been keeping very quiet
up to this point.
“Indeed. How much will it cost?” asked Brown
“About twenty million Interplanetary Credits,” said Demba. “A modest investment for
a man of your means.”
“Indeed,” said Brown again. That was all the money he had, which started to strike
him as strange, when his thoughts were interrupted.
“We’ll arrange a visit to the mine,” said Ito. “Show you the place itself.”
“Indeed,” said Brown. Or had he said that? The strange waking memory he had fallen
into started to become repetitive. Reality started to flow back in.
Diamonds, thought Brown. All those diamonds in that mine.
Max Nowaz (The Arbitrator)
for he had acquired, as time went on, the firm conviction that any thought, even the most audacious, that any fiction, even the most insane, can one day materialize and see its fulfillment in space and time.
Stefan Grabiński
The rEaL wOrLd is but a fictional place where those who have narrow minds and shallow imagination compile their oppressive ideas of what rEaLiTy only should be.
Khayri R.R. Woulfe
As every writer knows... there is something mysterious about the writer's ability, on any given day, to write. When the juices are flowing, or the writer is 'hot', an invisible wall seems to fall away, and the writer moves easily and surely from one kind of reality to another... Every writer has experienced at least moments of this strange, magical state. Reading student fiction one can spot at once where the power turns on and where it turns off, where the writer writes from 'inspiration' or deep, flowing vision, and where he had to struggle along on mere intellect.
John Gardner (On Becoming a Novelist)
All we are, all we can be, are the stories we tell," he says, and he is talking as if he is talking only to me. "Long after we are gone, our words will be all that is left, and who is to say what really happened or even what reality is? Our stories, our fiction, our words will be as close to truth as can be. And no one can take that away from you.
Nora Raleigh Baskin (Anything But Typical)
This is the kind of detail that is forbidden in literature; in a book, no one would dare combine a full moon with Frank Sinatra. The problem with fiction is that it must seem credible, while reality seldom is.
Isabel Allende (Paula)
Fiction is written with reality and reality is written with fiction. We can write fiction because there is reality and we can write reality because there is fiction; everything we consider today to be myth and legend, our ancestors believed to be history and everything in our history includes myths and legends. Before the splendid modern-day mind was formed our cultures and civilizations were conceived in the wombs of, and born of, what we identify today as "fiction, unreality, myth, legend, fantasy, folklore, imaginations, fabrications and tall tales." And in our suddenly realized glory of all our modern-day "advancements" we somehow fail to ask ourselves the question "Who designated myths and legends as unreality? " But I ask myself this question because who decided that he was spectacular enough to stand up and say to our ancestors "You were all stupid and disillusioned and imagining things" and then why did we all decide to believe this person? There are many realities not just one. There is a truth that goes far beyond what we are told today to believe in. And we find that truth when we are brave enough to break away from what keeps everybody else feeling comfortable. Your reality is what you believe in. And nobody should be able to tell you to believe otherwise.
C. JoyBell C.
Literature is claimed to be a mirror of the world,” I said, “but the Outlanders are fooling themselves. The BookWorld is as orderly as people in the RealWorld *hope* their own world to be—it isn’t a mirror, it’s an aspiration.
Jasper Fforde (One of Our Thursdays Is Missing (Thursday Next, #6))
If you make fiction just as valuable as reality, then any reality you don't need can be a delusion
Ryohgo Narita
Reality is a crutch for people who can't handle science fiction.
Gene Wolfe
Our ancestors dreamed us up and then bent reality to create us.
Walidah Imarisha (Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements)
To struggle against the weight of sleep as reality eclipses the moon of your dreams is the purest sign of true love.
Ross Caligiuri (Dreaming in the Shadows)
We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind—mass merchandising, advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the instant translation of science and technology into popular imagery, the increasing blurring and intermingling of identities within the realm of consumer goods, the preempting of any free or original imaginative response to experience by the television screen. We live inside an enormous novel. For the writer in particular it is less and less necessary for him to invent the fictional content of his novel. The fiction is already there. The writer's task is to invent the reality.
J.G. Ballard (Crash)
There's no real objection to escapism, in the right places... We all want to escape occasionally. But science fiction is often very far from escapism, in fact you might say that science fiction is escape into reality... It's a fiction which does concern itself with real issues: the origin of man; our future. In fact I can't think of any form of literature which is more concerned with real issues, reality.
Arthur C. Clarke
Everyone had a story he believed was worthy of a best-seller; for me, reality was rarely interesting enough to take the place of fiction.
Ben Mezrich (Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions)
The words ‘I love you’ are worthless when you don’t know who the 'I' is in that statement.
Jaime Reed (Keep Me In Mind)
Assholes are like weeds, a bitch to get rid of and when you do another one grows back in its place.
Jonathan Kellerman (When the Bough Breaks (Alex Delaware, #1))
Every novel is an ideal plane inserted into the realm of reality.
Jorge Luis Borges (Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings)
Nobody wants to be a part of your story. Everybody wants you to elaborate on their fantasies.
Michael Bassey Johnson (The Book of Maxims, Poems and Anecdotes)
Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines. What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination.
Jeanette Winterson (Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?)
Look, without our stories, without the true nature and reality of who we are as People of Color, nothing about fanboy or fangirl culture would make sense. What I mean by that is: if it wasn't for race, X-Men doesn't sense. If it wasn't for the history of breeding human beings in the New World through chattel slavery, Dune doesn't make sense. If it wasn't for the history of colonialism and imperialism, Star Wars doesn't make sense. If it wasn't for the extermination of so many Indigenous First Nations, most of what we call science fiction’s contact stories doesn't make sense. Without us as the secret sauce, none of this works, and it is about time that we understood that we are the Force that holds the Star Wars universe together. We’re the Prime Directive that makes Star Trek possible, yeah. In the Green Lantern Corps, we are the oath. We are all of these things—erased, and yet without us—we are essential.
Junot Díaz
Indeed, many movies about artificial intelligence are so divorced from scientific reality that one suspects they are just allegories of completely different concerns. Thus the 2015 movie Ex Machina seems to be about an AI expert who falls in love with a female robot only to be duped and manipulated by her. But in reality, this is not a movie about the human fear of intelligent robots. It is a movie about the male fear of intelligent women, and in particular the fear that female liberation might lead to female domination. Whenever you see a movie about an AI in which the AI is female and the scientist is male, it’s probably a movie about feminism rather than cybernetics. For why on earth would an AI have a sexual or a gender identity? Sex is a characteristic of organic multicellular beings. What can it possibly mean for a non-organic cybernetic being?
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Black Jack. A common name for rogues and scoundrels in the eighteenth century. A staple of romantic fiction, the name conjured up charming highwaymen, dashing blades in plumed hats. The reality waled at my side.
Diana Gabaldon (Outlander (Outlander, #1))
One of the schools in Tlön has reached the point of denying time. It reasons that the present is undefined, that the future has no other reality than as present hope, that the past is no more than present memory.
Jorge Luis Borges
What was the point of having a situation worthy of fiction if the protagonist didn't behave as he would have done in a book?
Julian Barnes (The Sense of an Ending)
Redemption becomes possible when we strive to find selflessness, conscience, and a capacity to love within ourselves where before there was none.
Jim Ford (The Truth of Buffy: Essays on Fiction Illuminating Reality)
Surrealism also refuses the representation of reality: reality can only be; its existence proves its reality. Fiction thereby becomes impossible or is, by definition, false.
Michael Richardson (Dedalus Book of Surrealism 2: The Myth of the World)
Don't get me wrong. I love to be alone. When I am by myself, I get to create my own version of reality where I am the popular girl and really pretty, and friends can't wait to talk to me. -Madisyn
Tara Michener (No Longer Besties: And Other Assorted Teenage Drama)
That's really what SF is all about, you know: the big reality that pervades the real world we live in: the reality of change. Science fiction is the very literature of change. In fact, it is the only such literature we have.
Frederik Pohl
In all great works of fiction, regardless of the grim reality they present, there is an affirmation of life against the transience of that life, an essential defiance. This affirmation lies in the way the author takes control of reality by retelling it in his own way, thus creating a new world. Every great work of art, I would declare pompously, is a celebration, an act of insubordination against the betrayals, horrors and infidelities of life. The perfection and beauty of form rebels against the ugliness and shabbiness of the subject matter.
Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books)
The media landscape of the present day is a map in search of a territory. A huge volume of sensational and often toxic imagery inundates our minds, much of it fictional in content. How do we make sense of this ceaseless flow of advertising and publicity, news and entertainment, where presidential campaigns and moon voyages are presented in terms indistinguishable from the launch of a new candy bar or deodorant? What actually happens on the level of our unconscious minds when, within minutes on the same TV screen, a prime minister is assassinated, an actress makes love, an injured child is carried from a car crash? Faced with these charged events, prepackaged emotions already in place, we can only stitch together a set of emergency scenarios, just as our sleeping minds extemporize a narrative from the unrelated memories that veer through the cortical night. In the waking dream that now constitutes everyday reality, images of a blood-spattered widow, the chromium trim of a limousine windshield, the stylised glamour of a motorcade, fuse together to provide a secondary narrative with very different meanings.
J.G. Ballard (The Atrocity Exhibition)
Fate was a reality, but it wasn’t a beautiful or angelic thing. It was a heart-wrenching nightmare. And we’d fallen blindly into it. We had no escape. It was happening, and it was up to me to guarantee our survival of it. (Eric)
Shannon A. Thompson (Minutes Before Sunset (Timely Death, #1))
I am certain that a novelist is someone who attributes a different reality-value to the characters and events of his story than to those of 'real' life. A novelist is someone who confuses his own life with that of his characters.
Alain Robbe-Grillet
Remember William Blake who said: "Improvement makes straight, straight roads, but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius." The truth is, life itself, is always startling, strange, unexpected. But when the truth is told about it everybody knows at once that it is life itself and not made up. But in ordinary fiction, movies, etc, everything is smoothed out to seem plausible--villains made bad, heroes splendid, heroines glamorous, and so on, so that no one believes a word
Brenda Ueland (If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit)
She remembered the heroines of novels she had read, and the lyrical legion of those adulterous women began to sing in her memory with sisterly voices that enchanted her. Now she saw herself as one of those amoureuses whom she had so envied: she was becoming, in reality, one of that gallery of fictional figures; the long dream of her youth was coming true.
Gustave Flaubert
And so, for me, the only fiction that still means something today is the kind of fiction that tries to explore the possibilities of fiction beyond its own limitations; the kind of fiction that challenges the tradition that governs it; the kind of fiction that constantly renews our faith in man's intelligence and imagination rather than man's distorted view of reality; the kind of fiction that reveals man's playful irrationality rather than his righteous rationality.
Raymond Federman
That was another thing people used to be able to do, which they can't do anymore: enjoy in their heads events which hadn't happened yet and might never occur. My mother was good at that. Someday my father would stop writing science fiction, and write something a whole lot of people wanted to read instead. And we would get a new house in a beautiful city, and nice clothes, and so on. She used to make me wonder why God had ever gone to all the trouble of creating reality. Quoth Mandarax: Imagination is as good as many voyages - and how much cheaper! - GEORGE WILLIAM CURTIS
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Galápagos)
Fiction is an act of willfulness, a deliberate effort to reconcile, to rearrange, to reconstitute nothing short of reality itself. Even among the most reluctant and doubtful of writers, this willingfulness must emerge. Being a writer means taking the leap from listening to saying, 'Listen to me'.
Jhumpa Lahiri
The post-Reagan vacuum is doubly curious because Reagan was himself a vacuum (or seems so to this European outsider), an empty stage-set of a personality across which moved cut-out cartoon figures, dragon ladies or demons of the evil empire, manipulated by others far more ambitious than himself. Many people have commented on his complete lack of ideas and his blurring of fiction and reality in his stumbling recall of old movies. But Reagan's real threat is the compelling example he offers to future film actors and media manipulators with presidential ambitions, all too clearly defined ideas and every intention of producing a thousand-year movie out of them.
J.G. Ballard (The Atrocity Exhibition)
You'd think the very thought of a romance writer would bring a smile to people's lips. Ah, how nice. Love. Making love. Laughter. Kissing. But no, the world is upside down as far as I can see, and romances and their writers are ridiculed, hisses and generally spat upon. For what reason? One of my favorites is that women who read them might get mixed up about reality and imagine a man is going to rescue them from Life. According to this theory, women are so stupid that they can't tell a story from reality. Is anyone worried that the MEN who read spy thrillers are going to go after their neighbors with an automatic weapon? No, I don't remember anyone thinking that. Nor do I remember anyone worrying about murder mysteries or science fiction. It just seems to be dumb ol' women who might think some gorgeous, thoughtful, giving hunk is going to rescue them. Honey, if any woman thought a gorgeous hunk was going to rescue her, romance novels wouldn’t be forty percent of the publishing industry.
Jude Deveraux (Remembrance)
❝ SOME PEOPLE NEVER CONSIDER THE RAMIFICATIONS OF A LIE. AFTER A WHILE, A LIE CAN BECOME WHAT YOU BELIEVE AS IF IT WAS NEVER A LIE. YOU’RE FLOATING IN BETWEEN REALITY AND FICTION. THE PROBLEM IS IF YOU KEEP THAT LIE TO YOURSELF, EVENTUALLY IT WILL EAT AT YOU.
Shey Stahl (Waiting for You (Waiting for You, #1))
People without hope do not write novels … [Writing fiction] is a plunge into reality and it’s very shocking to the system. If the novelist is not sustained by a hope of money, then he must be sustained by a hope of salvation, or he simply won’t survive the ordeal.
Flannery O'Connor
Why would anyone who is deeply satisfied with reality, with real life as it is lived, dedicate himself to something as insubstantial and fanciful as the creation of fictional realities? Naturally, those who rebel against lie as it is, using their ability to invent different lives and different people, may do so for any number of reasons, honorable or dishonorable, generous or selfish, complex or banal. The nature of this basic questioning of reality, which to my mind lies at the heart of every literary calling, doesn't matter at all. What matters is that the rejection be strong enough to fuel the enthusiasm for a task as quixotic as tilting at windmills – the slight-of-hand replacement of the concrete, objective world of life as it is lived with the subtle and ephemeral world of fiction.
Mario Vargas Llosa (Letters to a Young Novelist)
Zombies are not just fictional creatures that devour the flesh of the living. They also include those who follow the words of others without thinking for themselves. This world is falling apart. I don’t think anyone can disagree with that. People live in their twenty-mile-radius realities and don’t notice the world happening around them, until it finally breaks down their front door.
Joseph McGinnis (The Weathering, Dawn of the Apocalypse)
Literature is a source of pleasure, he said, it is one of the rare inexhaustible joys in life, but it's not only that. It must not be disassociated from reality. Everything is there. That is why I never use the word fiction. Every subtlety in life is material for a book. He insisted on the fact. Have you noticed, he'd say, that I'm talking about novels? Novels don't contain only exceptional situations, life or death choices, or major ordeals; there are also everyday difficulties, temptations, ordinary disappointments; and, in response, every human attitude, every type of behavior, from the finest to the most wretched. There are books where, as you read, you wonder: What would I have done? It's a question you have to ask yourself. Listen carefully: it is a way to learn to live. There are grown-ups who would say no, that literature is not life, that novels teach you nothing. They are wrong. Literature performs, instructs, it prepares you for life.
Laurence Cossé (A Novel Bookstore)
There are objects made up of two sense elements, one visual, the other auditory—the colour of a sunrise and the distant call of a bird. Other objects are made up of many elements—the sun, the water against the swimmer's chest, the vague quivering pink which one sees when the eyes are closed, the feeling of being swept away by a river or by sleep. These second degree objects can be combined with others; using certain abbreviations, the process is practically an infinite one. There are famous poems made up of one enormous word, a word which in truth forms a poetic object, the creation of the writer. The fact that no one believes that nouns refer to an actual reality means, paradoxically enough, that there is no limit to the numbers of them.
Jorge Luis Borges (Ficciones)
Truth is always stranger than fiction. We craft fiction to match our sense of how things ought to be, but truth cannot be crafted. Truth is, and truth has a way of astonishing us to our knees. Reminding us, that the universe does not exist to fulfill our expectations. Because we are imperfect beings who are self-blinded to the truth of the world’s stunning complexity, we shave reality to paper thin theories and ideologies that we can easily grasp – and we call them truths. But the truth of a sea in all it’s immensity cannot be embodied in one tidewashed pebble.
Dean Koontz (A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog)
The old slogan 'truth is stranger than fiction,' that still corresponded to the surrealist phase of this estheticization of life, is obsolete. There is no more fiction that life could possibly confront, even victoriously-it is reality itself that disappears utterly in the game of reality-radical disenchantment, the cool and cybernetic phase following the hot stage of fantasy.
Jean Baudrillard (Simulations (Semiotext(e)/ Foreign Agents))
I searched modern fiction and poetry for clues to how we confronted and evaded reality, how we articulated our experience and turned to language not to revel ourselves but to hide. I was as sure then as I am now that by looking at contemporary Iranian fiction I could gain access to a real understanding of political and social events. (p289)
Azar Nafisi (Things I've Been Silent About)
But one thing is certain: every day in America, thousands of people appear before a jury of their peers and hope they will be judged fairly, when in reality they are judged by human brains that always perceive the world from a self-interested point of view. To believe otherwise is a fiction that is not supported by the architecture of the brain.
Lisa Feldman Barrett (How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain)
In The Silver Chair, the Marsh-wiggle Puddleglum is all wisdom in rebutting the witch as she denies the existence of the world in which he believes. But as children's fiction isn't quite academically respectable, I'll pretend that I learned this from Blaise Pascal. [...] If the world really is accidental and devoid of meaning, and you and I have no more value in the cosmos than you average bread mold, and Beauty and Goodness are artificial constructs imagined within an explosion, constructs that are controlled by chemical reactions within the accident and have no necessary correspondence to reality, then my made-up children's world licks your real world silly. Depart from me. Go drown in your seething accident. Puddleglum and I are staying here.
N.D. Wilson (Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World)
We do not read in order to turn great works of fiction into simplistic replicas of our own realities, we read for the pure, sensual, and unadulterated pleasure of reading. And if we do so, our reward is the discovery of the many hidden layers within these works that do not merely reflect reality but reveal a spectrum of truths, thus intrinsically going against the grain of totalitarian mindsets.
Azar Nafisi
The one thing is fiction in a novel and the other thing is reality. With fiction you don't make a fuss - you can 'beat it' and there's never enough. At least in my opinion - cause there are people, who complain about style intensity in literature: they prefer cereals with milk than abyssinian bitches roasted alive on bringhausers and watered with ya-yoo juice.
Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz
I don't pay much attention to the distinction between fantasy and science fiction–or between “genre” and “mainstream” for that matter. For me, all fiction is about prizing the logic of metaphors-which is the logic of narratives in general–over reality, which is irreducibly random and senseless. We spend our entire lives trying to tell stories about ourselves–they’re the essence of memory. It is how we make living in this unfeeling accidental universe tolerable. That we call such a tendency “the narrative fallacy” doesn’t mean it doesn’t also touch upon some aspect of the truth. Some stories simply literalize their metaphors a bit more explicitly.
Ken Liu (The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories)
Fiction---good fiction, anyway---is dream made flesh, given purpose and drive, and set on a quest to show us the best in us and to give us the power and the tools to dream beyond reality's 'merely good enough' to a vision of what is truly great... ...and then to give us the stories of men and women of character who in turn inspire those of us who dare to reach for the truly great within ourselves. THAT is why you write fiction.
Holly Lisle
From the cave to the skyscraper, from the club to weapons of mass destruction, from the tautological life of the tribe to the era of globalization, the fictions of literature have multiplied human experiences, preventing us from succumbing to lethargy, self-absorption, resignation. Nothing has sown so much disquiet, so disturbed our imagination and our desires as the life of lies we add, thanks to literature, to the one we have, so we can be protagonists in the great adventures, the great passions real life will never give us. The lies of literature become truths through us, the readers transformed, infected with longings and, through the fault of fiction, permanently questioning a mediocre reality. Sorcery, when literature offers us the hope of having what we do not have, being what we are not, acceding to that impossible existence where like pagan gods we feel mortal and eternal at the same time, that introduces into our spirits non-conformity and rebellion, which are behind all the heroic deeds that have contributed to the reduction of violence in human relationships. Reducing violence, not ending it. Because ours will always be, fortunately, an unfinished story. That is why we have to continue dreaming, reading, and writing, the most effective way we have found to alleviate our mortal condition, to defeat the corrosion of time, and to transform the impossible into possibility.
Mario Vargas Llosa
I know what would make me happy to have in the end. Nonetheless, I’ve learned that life isn’t about the end, but about the chapters in between. The filling in that we do to get our stories told and how people react to it is what keeps us going. The reality is that nobody looks forward to epilogues unless they’re in fictional stories. I’m not an exception to that rule. I know my story will end, but I hope the legacy I leave behind is big enough that nobody remembers how or why it did. It’ll just be another anecdote in the sequence of my very long and happy life (I hope).
Claire Contreras (Paper Hearts (Hearts, #2))
In The Hunger Games, there's something for everyone. A gripping adventure. A political commentary. A love story. A cautionary tale. Some call it science fiction, some call it potential reality. Some say it's for teenagers, some say it's for adults. The book--and now the film--captures themes and concerns that seem timely. But its real strength, in the end, is that it's timeless. It speaks to us today, and it will speak--even more powerfully--tomorrow.
Kate Egan (The Hunger Games: Official Illustrated Movie Companion)
Humans have this remarkable ability to know and not to know at the same time. Or more correctly, they can know something when they really think about it, but most of the time they don’t think about it, so they don’t know it. If you really focus, you realise that money is fiction. But usually you don’t focus. If you are asked about it, you know that football is a human invention. But in the heat of the match, nobody asks you about it. If you devote the time and energy, you can discover that nations are elaborate yarns. But in the midst of a war you don’t have the time and energy. If you demand the ultimate truth, you realise that the story of Adam and Eve is a myth. But how often do you demand the ultimate truth?
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
I think that a lot of people have a longing to move out of the present. The present is very constricting. You can’t go back to your past, you can’t go ahead to see what’s in your future, so you have to put up with whatever is here now. People have a deep longing to think about something else and move into a fictional world and also to feel there are other possibilities than just everyday reality. I don’t think time travel is actually possible, but as a metaphor it is interesting.
Audrey Niffenegger
Commentators frequently blame MMORPGs for an increasing sense of isolation in modern life. But virtual worlds are less a cause of that isolation than a response to it. Virtual worlds give back what has been scooped out of modern life. The virtual world is in important ways more authentically human than the real world. It gives us back community, a feeling of competence, and a sense of being an important person whom people depend on.
Jonathan Gottschall (The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human)
When he had first arrived, he had found London huge, odd, fundamentally incomprehensible, with only the Tube map, that elegant multicolored topographical display of underground railway lines and stations, giving it any semblance of order. Gradually he realized that the Tube map was a handy fiction that made life easier but bore no resemblance to the reality of the shape of the city above. It was like belonging to a political party, he thought once, proudly, and then, having tried to explain the resemblance between the Tube map and politics, at a party, to a cluster of bewildered strangers, he had decided in the future to leave political comment to others.
Neil Gaiman (Neverwhere (London Below, #1))
President Ronald Reagan, who spent World War II in Hollywood, vividly described his own role in liberating Nazi concentration camp victims. Living in the film world, he apparently confused a movie he had seen with a reality he had not. On many occasions in his Presidential campaigns, Mr. Reagan told an epic story of World War II courage and sacrifice, an inspiration for all of us. Only it never happened; it was the plot of the movie A Wing and a Prayer — that made quite an impression on me, too, when I saw it at age 9. Many other instances of this sort can be found in Reagan's public statements. It is not hard to imagine serious public dangers emerging out of instances in which political, military, scientific or religious leaders are unable to distinguish fact from vivid fiction.
Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)
Franz said 'Your picture, Viki, suggests that sense of breaking-up we feel in the modern world. Families, nations, classes, other loyalty groups falling apart. Things changing before you get to know them. Death on the installment plan – or decay by jumps. Instantaneous birth. Something out of nothing. Reality replacing science fiction so fast that you can't tell which is which. Constant sense of deja-vu - 'I was here before, but when, how?' Even the possibility that there's no real continuity between events, just inexplicable gaps. And of course every gap – every crack – means a new perching place for horror.
Fritz Leiber
The purpose of a thought-experiment, as the term was used by Schrödinger and other physicists, is not to predict the future - indeed Schrödinger most famous thought experiment goes to show that the "future," on the quantum level, cannot be predicted - but to describe reality, the present world. Science fiction is not predictive; it is descriptive. Predictions are uttered by prophets (free of charge), by clairvoyants (who usually charge a fee, and are therefore mor honored in their day than prophets), and by futurologists (salaried). Prediction is the business of prophets, clairvoyants, and futurologists. It is not the business of novelists. A novelist's business is lying. Science fiction is not predictive; it is descriptive. Predictions are uttered by prophets (free of charge), by clairvoyants (who usually charge a fee, and are therefore mor honored in their day than prophets), and by futurologists (salaried). Prediction is the business of prophets, clairvoyants, and futurologists. It is not the business of novelists. A novelist's business is lying.
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle, #4))
I think people are often quite unaware of their inner selves, their other selves, their imaginative selves, the selves that aren’t on show in the world. It’s something you grow out of from childhood onwards, losing possession of yourself, really. I think literature is one of the best ways back into that. You are hypnotized as soon as you get into a book that particularly works for you, whether it’s fiction or a poem. You find that your defenses drop, and as soon as that happens, an imaginative reality can take over because you are no longer censoring your own perceptions, your own awareness of the world.
Jeanette Winterson
We criticize Americans for not being able either to analyse or conceptualize. But this is a wrong-headed critique. It is we who imagine that everything culminates in transcendence, and that nothing exists which has not been conceptualized. Not only do they care little for such a view, but their perspective is the very opposite: it is not conceptualizing reality, but realizing concepts and materializing ideas, that interests them. The ideas of the religion and enlightened morality of the eighteenth century certainly, but also dreams, scientific values, and sexual perversions. Materializing freedom, but also the unconscious. Our phantasies around space and fiction, but also our phantasies of sincerity and virtue, or our mad dreams of technicity. Everything that has been dreamt on this side of the Atlantic has a chance of being realized on the other. They build the real out of ideas. We transform the real into ideas, or into ideology.
Jean Baudrillard (America)
It is the case that, albeit to a lesser extent, all fictions make their readers live "the impossible", taking them out of themselves, breaking down barriers, and making them share, by identifying with the characters of the illusion, a life that is richer, more intense, or more abject and violent, or simply different from the one that they are confined to by the high-security prison that is real life. Fictions exist because of this fact. Because we have only one life, and our desires and fantasies demand a thousand lives. Because the abyss between what we are and what we would like to be has to be bridged somehow. That was why fictions were born: so that, through living this vicarious, transient, precarious, but also passionate and fascinating life that fiction transports us to, we can incorporate the impossible into the possible and our existence can be both reality and unreality, history and fable, concrete life and marvellous adventure.
Mario Vargas Llosa (The Temptation of the Impossible: Victor Hugo and Les Misérables)
Within sixty-minute limits or one-hundred-yard limits or the limits of a game board, we can look for perfect moments or perfect structures. In my fiction I think this search sometimes turns out to be a cruel delusion. No optimism, no pessimism. No homesickness for lost values or for the way fiction used to be written. Everybody seems to know everything. Subjects surface and are totally exhausted in a matter of days or weeks, totally played out by the publishing industry and the broadcast industry. Nothing is too arcane to escape the treatment, the process. Making things difficult for the reader is less an attack on the reader than it is on the age and its facile knowledge-market. The writer is the person who stands outside society, independent of affiliation and independent of influence. The writer is the man or woman who automatically takes a stance against his or her government. There are so many temptations for American writers to become part of the system and part of the structure that now, more than ever, we have to resist. American writers ought to stand and live in the margins, and be more dangerous. Writers in repressive societies are considered dangerous. That’s why so many of them are in jail. Some people prefer to believe in conspiracy because they are made anxious by random acts. Believing in conspiracy is almost comforting because, in a sense, a conspiracy is a story we tell each other to ward off the dread of chaotic and random acts. Conspiracy offers coherence. I see contemporary violence as a kind of sardonic response to the promise of consumer fulfillment in America... I see this desperation against the backdrop of brightly colored packages and products and consumer happiness and every promise that American life makes day by day and minute by minute everywhere we go. Discarded pages mark the physical dimensions of a writer’s labor. Film allows us to examine ourselves in ways earlier societies could not—examine ourselves, imitate ourselves, extend ourselves, reshape our reality. It permeates our lives, this double vision, and also detaches us, turns some of us into actors doing walk-throughs. Every new novel stretches the term of the contract—let me live long enough to do one more book. You become a serious novelist by living long enough.
Don DeLillo
In writing the short novel Fahrenheit 451 I thought I was describing a world that might evolve in four or five decades. But only a few weeks ago, in Beverly Hills one night, a husband and wife passed me, walking their dog. I stood staring after them, absolutely stunned. The woman held in one hand a small cigarette-package-sized radio, its antenna quivering. From this sprang tiny copper wires which ended in a dainty cone plugged into her right ear. There she was, oblivious to man and dog, listening to far winds and whispers and soap-opera cries, sleep-walking, helped up and down curbs by a husband who might just as well not have been there. This was not fiction.
Ray Bradbury
4. The falseness of an opinion is not for us any objection to it: it is here, perhaps, that our new language sounds most strangely. The question is, how far an opinion is life-furthering, life- preserving, species-preserving, perhaps species-rearing, and we are fundamentally inclined to maintain that the falsest opinions (to which the synthetic judgments a priori belong), are the most indispensable to us, that without a recognition of logical fictions, without a comparison of reality with the purely IMAGINED world of the absolute and immutable, without a constant counterfeiting of the world by means of numbers, man could not live—that the renunciation of false opinions would be a renunciation of life, a negation of life. TO RECOGNISE UNTRUTH AS A CONDITION OF LIFE; that is certainly to impugn the traditional ideas of value in a dangerous manner, and a philosophy which ventures to do so, has thereby alone placed itself beyond good and evil.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil)
The movement of descent and discovery begins at the moment you consciously become dissatisfied with life. Contrary to most professional opinion, this gnawing dissatisfaction with life is not a sign of "mental illness," nor an indication of poor social adjustment, nor a character disorder. For concealed within this basic unhappiness with life and existence is the embryo of a growing intelligence, a special intelligence usually buried under the immense weight of social shams. A person who is beginning to sense the suffering of life is, at the same time, beginning to awaken to deeper realities, truer realities. For suffering smashes to pieces the complacency of our normal fictions about reality, and forces us to become alive in a special sense—to see carefully, to feel deeply, to touch ourselves and our worlds in ways we have heretofore avoided. It has been said, and truly I think, that suffering is the first grace. In a special sense, suffering is almost a time of rejoicing, for it marks the birth of creative insight. But only in a special sense. Some people cling to their suffering as a mother to its child, carrying it as a burden they dare not set down. They do not face suffering with awareness, but rather clutch at their suffering, secretly transfixed with the spasms of martyrdom. Suffering should neither be denied awareness, avoided, despised, not glorified, clung to, dramatized. The emergence of suffering is not so much good as it is a good sign, an indication that one is starting to realize that life lived outside unity consciousness is ultimately painful, distressing, and sorrowful. The life of boundaries is a life of battles—of fear, anxiety, pain, and finally death. It is only through all manner of numbing compensations, distractions, and enchantments that we agree not to question our illusory boundaries, the root cause of the endless wheel of agony. But sooner or later, if we are not rendered totally insensitive, our defensive compensations begin to fail their soothing and concealing purpose. As a consequence, we begin to suffer in one way or another, because our awareness is finally directed toward the conflict-ridden nature of our false boundaries and the fragmented life supported by them.
Ken Wilber (No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth)
Kierkegaard gives us some portrait sketches of the styles of denying possibility, or the lies of character-which is the same thing. He is intent on describing what we today call "inauthentic" men, men who avoid developing their own uniqueness; they follow out the styles of automatic and uncritical living in which they were conditioned as children. They are "inauthentic" in that they do not belong to themselves, are not "their own" person, do not act from their own center, do not see reality on its terms; they are the one-dimensional men totally immersed in the fictional games being played in their society, unable to transcend their social conditioning: the corporation men in the West, the bureaucrats in the East, the tribal men locked up in tradition-man everywhere who doesn't understand what it means to think for himself and who, if he did, would shrink back at the idea of such audacity and exposure.
Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)
Every fairy tale offers the potential to surpass present limits, so in a sense the fairy tale offers you freedoms that reality denies. In all great works of fiction, regardless of the grim reality they present, there is an affirmation of life against the transience of that life, an essential defiance. The affirmation lies in the way the author takes control of reality by retelling it in his own way, thus creating a new world. Every great work of art, I would declare pompously, is a celebration, an act of insubordination against the betrayals, horrors and infidelities of life. The perfection and beauty of form rebels against the ugliness and shabiness of the subject matter. This is why we love "Madame Bovary" and cry for Emma, why we greedily read "Lolita" as our heart breaks for its small, vulgar, poetic and defiant orphaned heroine.
Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books)
I can understand that people want to feel special and important and so on, but that self-obsession seems a bit pathetic somehow. Not being able to accept that you're just this collection of cells, intelligent to whatever degree, capable of feeling emotion to whatever degree, for a limited amount of time and so on, on this tiny little rock orbiting this not particularly important sun in one of just 400m galaxies, and whatever other levels of reality there might be via something like brane-theory [of multiple dimensions] … really, it's not about you. It's what religion does with this drive for acknowledgement of self-importance that really gets up my nose. 'Yeah, yeah, your individual consciousness is so important to the universe that it must be preserved at all costs' – oh, please. Do try to get a grip of something other than your self-obsession. How Californian. The idea that at all costs, no matter what, it always has to be all about you. Well, I think not.
Iain M. Banks
As observers of totalitarianism such as Victor Klemperer noticed, truth dies in four modes, all of which we have just witnessed. The first mode is the open hostility to verifiable reality, which takes the form of presenting inventions and lies as if they were facts. The president does this at a high rate and at a fast pace. One attempt during the 2016 campaign to track his utterances found that 78 percent of his factual claims were false. This proportion is so high that it makes the correct assertions seem like unintended oversights on the path toward total fiction. Demeaning the world as it is begins the creation of a fictional counterworld. The second mode is shamanistic incantation. As Klemperer noted, the fascist style depends upon “endless repetition,” designed to make the fictional plausible and the criminal desirable. The systematic use of nicknames such as “Lyin’ Ted” and “Crooked Hillary” displaced certain character traits that might more appropriately have been affixed to the president himself. Yet through blunt repetition over Twitter, our president managed the transformation of individuals into stereotypes that people then spoke aloud. At rallies, the repeated chants of “Build that wall” and “Lock her up” did not describe anything that the president had specific plans to do, but their very grandiosity established a connection between him and his audience. The next mode is magical thinking, or the open embrace of contradiction. The president’s campaign involved the promises of cutting taxes for everyone, eliminating the national debt, and increasing spending on both social policy and national defense. These promises mutually contradict. It is as if a farmer said he were taking an egg from the henhouse, boiling it whole and serving it to his wife, and also poaching it and serving it to his children, and then returning it to the hen unbroken, and then watching as the chick hatches. Accepting untruth of this radical kind requires a blatant abandonment of reason. Klemperer’s descriptions of losing friends in Germany in 1933 over the issue of magical thinking ring eerily true today. One of his former students implored him to “abandon yourself to your feelings, and you must always focus on the Führer’s greatness, rather than on the discomfort you are feeling at present.” Twelve years later, after all the atrocities, and at the end of a war that Germany had clearly lost, an amputated soldier told Klemperer that Hitler “has never lied yet. I believe in Hitler.” The final mode is misplaced faith. It involves the sort of self-deifying claims the president made when he said that “I alone can solve it” or “I am your voice.” When faith descends from heaven to earth in this way, no room remains for the small truths of our individual discernment and experience. What terrified Klemperer was the way that this transition seemed permanent. Once truth had become oracular rather than factual, evidence was irrelevant. At the end of the war a worker told Klemperer that “understanding is useless, you have to have faith. I believe in the Führer.
Timothy Snyder (On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century)
Dear Jeff, I happened to see the Channel 7 TV program "Hooray for Hollywood" tonight with the segment on Blade Runner. (Well, to be honest, I didn't happen to see it; someone tipped me off that Blade Runner was going to be a part of the show, and to be sure to watch.) Jeff, after looking—and especially after listening to Harrison Ford discuss the film—I came to the conclusion that this indeed is not science fiction; it is not fantasy; it is exactly what Harrison said: futurism. The impact of Blade Runner is simply going to be overwhelming, both on the public and on creative people—and, I believe, on science fiction as a field. Since I have been writing and selling science fiction works for thirty years, this is a matter of some importance to me. In all candor I must say that our field has gradually and steadily been deteriorating for the last few years. Nothing that we have done, individually or collectively, matches Blade Runner. This is not escapism; it is super realism, so gritty and detailed and authentic and goddam convincing that, well, after the segment I found my normal present-day "reality" pallid by comparison. What I am saying is that all of you collectively may have created a unique new form of graphic, artistic expression, never before seen. And, I think, Blade Runner is going to revolutionize our conceptions of what science fiction is and, more, can be. Let me sum it up this way. Science fiction has slowly and ineluctably settled into a monotonous death: it has become inbred, derivative, stale. Suddenly you people have come in, some of the greatest talents currently in existence, and now we have a new life, a new start. As for my own role in the Blade Runner project, I can only say that I did not know that a work of mine or a set of ideas of mine could be escalated into such stunning dimensions. My life and creative work are justified and completed by Blade Runner. Thank you...and it is going to be one hell of a commercial success. It will prove invincible. Cordially, Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick
The major goal of the Cold War mind control programs was to create dissociative symptoms and disorders, including full multiple personality disorder. The Manchurian Candidate is fact, not fiction, and was created by the CIA in the 1950’s under BLUEBIRD and ARTICHOKE mind control programs. Experiments with LSD, sensory deprivation, electro-convulsive treatment, brain electrode implants and hypnosis were designed to create amnesia, depersonalization, changes in identity and altered states of consciousness. (p. iii) “Denial of the reality of multiple personality by these doctors [See page 114 for names] in the mind control network, who are also on the FMSF [False Memory Syndrome Foundation] Scientific and Professional Advisory Board, could be disinformation. The disinformation could be amplified by attacks on specialists in multiple personality as CIA conspiracy lunatics” (P.10) “If clinical multiple personality is buried and forgotten, then the Manchurian Candidate Programs will be safe from public scrutiny. (p.141)
Colin A. Ross (Bluebird)
At times I wondered whether writing was not a solipsistic luxury in countries like mine, where there were scant readers, so many people who were poor and illiterate, so much injustice, and where culture was a privilege of the few. These doubts, however, never stifled my calling, and I always kept writing even during those periods when earning a living absorbed most of my time. I believe I did the right thing, since if, for literature to flourish, it was first necessary for a society to achieve high culture, freedom, prosperity, and justice, it never would have existed. But thanks to literature, to the consciousness it shapes, the desires and longings it inspires, and our disenchantment with reality when we return from the journey to a beautiful fantasy, civilization is now less cruel than when storytellers began to humanize life with their fables. We would be worse than we are without the good books we have read, more conformist, not as restless, more submissive, and the critical spirit, the engine of progress, would not even exist. Like writing, reading is a protest against the insufficiencies of life. When we look in fiction for what is missing in life, we are saying, with no need to say it or even to know it, that life as it is does not satisfy our thirst for the absolute – the foundation of the human condition – and should be better. We invent fictions in order to live somehow the many lives we would like to lead when we barely have one at our disposal.
Mario Vargas Llosa (In Praise of Reading and Fiction: The Nobel Lecture)
PROLOGUE Have you ever had the feeling that someone was playing with your destiny? If so, this book is for you! Destiny is certainly something people like to talk about. Wherever we go, we hear it mentioned in conversations or proverbs that seek to lay bare its mysteries. If we analyse people’s attitude towards destiny a little, we find straight away that at one extreme are those who believe that everything in life is planned by a higher power and that therefore things always happen for a reason, even though our limited human understanding cannot comprehend why. In this perspective, everything is preordained, regardless of what we do or don’t do. At the other extreme we find the I can do it! believers. These focus on themselves: anything is possible if done with conviction, as part of the plan that they have drawn up themselves as the architects of their own Destiny. We can safely say that everything happens for a reason. Whether it’s because of decisions we take or simply because circumstances determine it, there is always more causation than coincidence in life. But sometimes such strange things happen! The most insignificant occurrence or decision can give way to the most unexpected futures. Indeed, such twists of fate may well be the reason why you are reading my book now. Do you have any idea of the number of events, circumstances and decisions that had to conspire for me to write this and for you to be reading it now? There are so many coincidences that had to come together that it might almost seem a whim of destiny that today we are connected by these words. One infinitesimal change in that bunch of circumstances and everything would have been quite different… All these fascinating issues are to be found in Equinox. I enjoy fantasy literature very much because of all the reality it involves. As a reader you’re relaxed, your defences down, trying to enjoy an loosely-structured adventure. This is the ideal space for you to allow yourself to be carried away to an imaginary world that, paradoxically, will leave you reflecting on real life questions that have little to do with fiction, although we may not understand them completely.
Gonzalo Guma (Equinoccio. Susurros del destino)
The funny thing about games and fictions is that they have a weird way of bleeding into reality. Whatever else it is, the world that humans experience is animated with narratives, rituals, and roles that organize psychological experience, social relations, and our imaginative grasp of the material cosmos. The world, then, is in many ways a webwork of fictions, or, better yet, of stories. The contemporary urge to “gamify” our social and technological interactions is, in this sense, simply an extension of the existing games of subculture, of folklore, even of belief. This is the secret truth of the history of religions: not that religions are “nothing more” than fictions, crafted out of sociobiological need or wielded by evil priests to control ignorant populations, but that human reality possesses an inherently fictional or fantastic dimension whose “game engine” can — and will — be organized along variously visionary, banal, and sinister lines. Part of our obsession with counterfactual genres like sci-fi or fantasy is not that they offer escape from reality — most of these genres are glum or dystopian a lot of the time anyway — but because, in reflecting the “as if” character of the world, they are actually realer than they appear.
Erik Davis (TechGnosis: Myth, Magic Mysticism in the Age of Information)
The notion that a vast gulf exists between "criminals" and those of us who have never served time in prison is a fiction created by the racial ideology that birthed mass incarceration, namely that there is something fundamentally wrong and morally inferior about "them." The reality, though, is that all of us have done wrong. As noted earlier, studies suggest that most Americans violate drug laws in their lifetime. Indeed, most of us break the law not once but repeatedly throughout our lives. Yet only some of us will be arrested, charged, convicted of a crime, branded a criminal or a felon, and ushered into a permanent undercaste. Who becomes a social pariah and excommunicated from civil society and who trots off to college bears scant relationship to the morality of the crimes committed. Who is more blameworthy: the young black kid who hustles on the street corner, selling weed to help his momma pay rent? Or the college kid who deals drugs out of his dorm room so that he'll have cash to finance his spring break? Who should we fear? The kid in the 'hood who joined a gang and now carries a gun for security, because his neighborhood is frightening and unsafe? Or the suburban high school student who has a drinking problem but keeps getting behind the wheel? Our racially biased system of mass incarceration exploits the fact that all people break the law and make mistakes at various points in their lives with varying degrees of justification. Screwing up-failing to live by one's highest ideals and values-is part of what makes us human.
Michelle Alexander
I have a feeling," Harry said finally, "that we're coming at this from the wrong angle. There's a tale I once heard about some students who came into a physics class, and the teacher showed them a large metal plate near a fire. She ordered them to feel the metal plate, and they felt that the metal nearer the fire was cooler, and the metal further away was warmer. And she said, write down your guess for why this happens. So some students wrote down 'because of how the metal conducts heat', and some students wrote down 'because of how the air moves', and no one said 'this just seems impossible', and the real answer was that before the students came into the room, the teacher turned the plate around." "Interesting," said Professor Quirrell. "That does sound similar. Is there a moral?" "That your strength as a rationalist is your ability to be more confused by fiction than by reality," said Harry. "If you're equally good at explaining any outcome, you have zero knowledge. The students thought they could use words like 'because of heat conduction' to explain anything, even a metal plate being cooler on the side nearer the fire. So they didn't notice how confused they were, and that meant they couldn't be more confused by falsehood than by truth. If you tell me that the centaurs were under the Imperius Curse, I still have the feeling of something being not quite right. I notice that I'm still confused even after hearing your explanation.
Eliezer Yudkowsky (Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality)
Reality, at first glance, is a simple thing: the television speaking to you now is real. Your body sunk into that chair in the approach to midnight, a clock ticking at the threshold of awareness. All the endless detail of a solid and material world surrounding you. These things exist. They can be measured with a yardstick, a voltammeter, a weighing scale. These things are real. Then there’s the mind, half-focused on the TV, the settee, the clock. This ghostly knot of memory, idea and feeling that we call ourself also exists, though not within the measurable world our science may describe. Consciousness is unquantifiable, a ghost in the machine, barely considered real at all, though in a sense this flickering mosaic of awareness is the only true reality that we can ever know. The Here-and-Now demands attention, is more present to us. We dismiss the inner world of our ideas as less important, although most of our immediate physical reality originated only in the mind. The TV, sofa, clock and room, the whole civilisation that contains them once were nothing save ideas. Material existence is entirely founded on a phantom realm of mind, whose nature and geography are unexplored. Before the Age of Reason was announced, humanity had polished strategies for interacting with the world of the imaginary and invisible: complicated magic-systems; sprawling pantheons of gods and spirits, images and names with which we labelled powerful inner forces so that we might better understand them. Intellect, Emotion and Unconscious Thought were made divinities or demons so that we, like Faust, might better know them; deal with them; become them. Ancient cultures did not worship idols. Their god-statues represented ideal states which, when meditated constantly upon, one might aspire to. Science proves there never was a mermaid, blue-skinned Krishna or a virgin birth in physical reality. Yet thought is real, and the domain of thought is the one place where gods inarguably ezdst, wielding tremendous power. If Aphrodite were a myth and Love only a concept, then would that negate the crimes and kindnesses and songs done in Love’s name? If Christ were only ever fiction, a divine Idea, would this invalidate the social change inspired by that idea, make holy wars less terrible, or human betterment less real, less sacred? The world of ideas is in certain senses deeper, truer than reality; this solid television less significant than the Idea of television. Ideas, unlike solid structures, do not perish. They remain immortal, immaterial and everywhere, like all Divine things. Ideas are a golden, savage landscape that we wander unaware, without a map. Be careful: in the last analysis, reality may be exactly what we think it is.
Alan Moore
Perspective - Use It or Lose It. If you turned to this page, you're forgetting that what is going on around you is not reality. Think about that. Remember where you came from, where you're going, and why you created the mess you got yourself into in the first place. You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self. Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them. Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, and teachers. Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. Being true to anyone else or anything else is not only impossible, but the mark of a false messiah. Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully. The simplest questions are the most profound. Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you going? What are you doing? Think about these once in awhile, and watch your answers change. Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years. The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof. There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts. Imagine the universe beautiful and just and perfect. Then be sure of one thing: The Is has imagined it quite a bit better than you have. The original sin is to limit the Is. Don't. A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed, it feels an impulsion....this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reason and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons. You are never given a wish without being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however. Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours. If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats. The world is your exercise-book, the pages on which you do your sums. It is not reality, although you can express reality there if you wish. You are also free to write nonsense, or lies, or to tear the pages. Every person, all the events of your life, are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you. In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice. The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities." The truth you speak has no past and no future. It is, and that's all it needs to be. Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't. Don't be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends. The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. You're going to die a horrible death, remember. It's all good training, and you'll enjoy it more if you keep the facts in mind. Take your dying with some seriousness, however. Laughing on the way to your execution it not generally understood by less advanced lifeforms, and they'll call you crazy. Everything above may be wrong!
Richard Bach
You sometimes hear people say, with a certain pride in their clerical resistance to the myth, that the nineteenth century really ended not in 1900 but in 1914. But there are different ways of measuring an epoch. 1914 has obvious qualifications; but if you wanted to defend the neater, more mythical date, you could do very well. In 1900 Nietzsche died; Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams; 1900 was the date of Husserl Logic, and of Russell's Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz. With an exquisite sense of timing Planck published his quantum hypothesis in the very last days of the century, December 1900. Thus, within a few months, were published works which transformed or transvalued spirituality, the relation of language to knowing, and the very locus of human uncertainty, henceforth to be thought of not as an imperfection of the human apparatus but part of the nature of things, a condition of what we may know. 1900, like 1400 and 1600 and 1000, has the look of a year that ends a saeculum. The mood of fin de siècle is confronted by a harsh historical finis saeculi. There is something satisfying about it, some confirmation of the rightness of the patterns we impose. But as Focillon observed, the anxiety reflected by the fin de siècle is perpetual, and people don't wait for centuries to end before they express it. Any date can be justified on some calculation or other. And of course we have it now, the sense of an ending. It has not diminished, and is as endemic to what we call modernism as apocalyptic utopianism is to political revolution. When we live in the mood of end-dominated crisis, certain now-familiar patterns of assumption become evident. Yeats will help me to illustrate them. For Yeats, an age would end in 1927; the year passed without apocalypse, as end-years do; but this is hardly material. 'When I was writing A Vision,' he said, 'I had constantly the word "terror" impressed upon me, and once the old Stoic prophecy of earthquake, fire and flood at the end of an age, but this I did not take literally.' Yeats is certainly an apocalyptic poet, but he does not take it literally, and this, I think, is characteristic of the attitude not only of modern poets but of the modern literary public to the apocalyptic elements. All the same, like us, he believed them in some fashion, and associated apocalypse with war. At the turning point of time he filled his poems with images of decadence, and praised war because he saw in it, ignorantly we may think, the means of renewal. 'The danger is that there will be no war.... Love war because of its horror, that belief may be changed, civilization renewed.' He saw his time as a time of transition, the last moment before a new annunciation, a new gyre. There was horror to come: 'thunder of feet, tumult of images.' But out of a desolate reality would come renewal. In short, we can find in Yeats all the elements of the apocalyptic paradigm that concern us.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
You make plans and decisions assuming randomness and chaos are for chumps. The illusion of control is a peculiar thing because it often leads to high self-esteem and a belief your destiny is yours for the making more than it really is. This over-optimistic view can translate into actual action, rolling with the punches and moving ahead no matter what. Often, this attitude helps lead to success. Eventually, though, most people get punched in the stomach by life. Sometimes, the gut-punch doesn’t come until after a long chain of wins, until you’ve accumulated enough power to do some serious damage. This is when wars go awry, stock markets crash, and political scandals spill out into the media. Power breeds certainty, and certainty has no clout against the unpredictable, whether you are playing poker or running a country. Psychologists point out these findings do not suggest you should throw up your hands and give up. Those who are not grounded in reality, oddly enough, often achieve a lot in life simply because they believe they can and try harder than others. If you focus too long on your lack of power, you can slip into a state of learned helplessness that will whirl you into a negative feedback loop of depression. Some control is necessary or else you give up altogether. Langer proved this when studying nursing homes where some patients were allowed to arrange their furniture and water plants—they lived longer than those who had had those tasks performed by others. Knowing about the illusion of control shouldn’t discourage you from attempting to carve a space for yourself out of whatever field you want to tackle. After all, doing nothing guarantees no results. But as you do so, remember most of the future is unforeseeable. Learn to coexist with chaos. Factor it into your plans. Accept that failure is always a possibility, even if you are one of the good guys; those who believe failure is not an option never plan for it. Some things are predictable and manageable, but the farther away in time an event occurs, the less power you have over it. The farther away from your body and the more people involved, the less agency you wield. Like a billion rolls of a trillion dice, the factors at play are too complex, too random to truly manage. You can no more predict the course of your life than you could the shape of a cloud. So seek to control the small things, the things that matter, and let them pile up into a heap of happiness. In the bigger picture, control is an illusion anyway.
David McRaney (You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself)
Fairy tales, fantasy, legend and myth...these stories, and their topics, and the symbolism and interpretation of those topics...these things have always held an inexplicable fascination for me," she writes. "That fascination is at least in part an integral part of my character — I was always the kind of child who was convinced that elves lived in the parks, that trees were animate, and that holes in floorboards housed fairies rather than rodents. You need to know that my parents, unlike those typically found in fairy tales — the wicked stepmothers, the fathers who sold off their own flesh and blood if the need arose — had only the best intentions for their only child. They wanted me to be well educated, well cared for, safe — so rather than entrusting me to the public school system, which has engendered so many ugly urban legends, they sent me to a private school, where, automatically, I was outcast for being a latecomer, for being poor, for being unusual. However, as every cloud does have a silver lining — and every miserable private institution an excellent library — there was some solace to be found, between the carved oak cases, surrounded by the well–lined shelves, among the pages of the heavy antique tomes, within the realms of fantasy. Libraries and bookshops, and indulgent parents, and myriad books housed in a plethora of nooks to hide in when I should have been attending math classes...or cleaning my room...or doing homework...provided me with an alternative to a reality I didn't much like. Ten years ago, you could have seen a number of things in the literary field that just don't seem to exist anymore: valuable antique volumes routinely available on library shelves; privately run bookshops, rather than faceless chains; and one particular little girl who haunted both the latter two institutions. In either, you could have seen some variation upon a scene played out so often that it almost became an archetype: A little girl, contorted, with her legs twisted beneath her, shoulders hunched to bring her long nose closer to the pages that she peruses. Her eyes are glued to the pages, rapt with interest. Within them, she finds the kingdoms of Myth. Their borders stand unguarded, and any who would venture past them are free to stay and occupy themselves as they would.
Helen Pilinovsky