I often come to face the superficial view from people that world of imagination, literature, science fiction, fantasy, gaming, role playing etc. has its appeal from the peripherary, and not the artifice. Judge science fiction by the cheap costumes, judge fantasy by people who long to escape to rural worlds with sexualised women (!!), and judge a Final Fantasy game by the presence and strenght of the Ultima weapon boss.
I was with Michael in the gym not very long ago; and I remember him listening on his MP3 player to a film soundtrack, and he seemed to be doing quite a lot of exertion, the kind of thing which one doesn’t realise is painful and difficult until afterwards; clearly, he was quite motivated.
Afterwards, I was talking to him and mentioned of his strong exertion. He told me he was listening to the soundtrack, but the characters of the series, and the films, were what provoked his thoughts.
Indeed, superficiality cna be found everywhere, there are inauthentic conosseurs of alcohol, theatre, and literature, following the crowd and, ironically claim ing individuality, because everyone else in the group is…
But look into the ideology, and see beyond the face, and into the eyes of an ideal; the archetype; the lawless rogues, the ambivalent masses which form the background of the lone individual. The vigilante hero who struggles with his own conscience, the villain who was once a hero, the hapless (and tactless) heroine, and the corrupting world that is falling apart around them.
Michael told me, it is not the swords and dragons that make a fantasy world, nor is it the lightsabers and hyperdrives that make the world of Star Wars; rather, it is the mindset of those who live in such worlds. Anyone who seeks fantasy and magic in the world of the other, fails to realise the specialness of that world in its affinity to the this-ness of our world.
What makes a world magic is not the metaphysics, its the psychology; not having spacecraft and swordplay, but dedicated skilled masters of diplomacy and combat rolled into one. Elites who can rule both in combat and rhetoric, like Palpatine, are the ideal of rulership; no fool would dare to call upon his inherent rights, or equality; but must fight for themselves and struggle to show their own worth in the Galactic Empire. The perseverence of Luke after he loses his hand, his training on Dagobah; the deeply embedded sentiment of Justice in Judge Dredd; the ingenuity of Princess Leia.
Those are the things which are so embedded in this actual world; those things that we can realise here, to make the world special; those things that are both immanent; yet so very distant. With the irony that technology may come to a point where the various innovations of science fiction are realised; we are not in the science fiction worlds; unless we embody those heroes and villains who display much eminence.
It is not escape, but inspiration to change, that we must find in the otherness of imagination.