I have heard for as long as I’ve interacted with people how my enjoyment of fantasy is an escape from reality brought upon by a desire to not deal with the facts of circumstance. People who desire that the earth is only 4000 years old because thinking outside of those parameters wrecks the foundations of their very lives—do not like things that rock their boat of perceived reality. They are often content to view the world as it has been prepared for them by politics, public relation firms, and religion—and react with disdain toward those who wish to think outside of those boundaries. I find such people grotesquely ignorant, small-minded, and foolishly reckless to not only their lives, but those who they come in contact with. The older I get, the more I despise those people. They are detriments to intelligence. Fantasy is the vehicle to take the mind out of circumstance and into places where new ideas are born. In the context of intelligence the need for fantasy, imagination, and out-of-boundary thought is the specific human need for mythology. Dogs, cats and gold-fish have no need for mythology—they are driven by the basic need to eat, dispose of their waste, and reproduce. Nothing else. The human being thinks—giving mythology a much more important role to their vivid imaginations bringing logic and fantasy together to consider “what if.” This important process was never so brilliantly exhibited than in the Make-A-Wish Foundation story of 5-year-old Miles Scott who is currently in remission from leukemia. Watch this!
It would be difficult to be alive and not have heard this story as the media blitz on it was ferocious. The other day during the interview I did with Matt Clark on WAAM radio, I brought up the kind of things that unify people who appear to be radically different. We talked about the “Tapestries of Ideology” and once they are removed from their lives, common ground can be achieved. One of the most powerful “Tapestries of Ideology” is the power of mythology to overcome the ignorance of political boundaries. This is often what happens in a Star Wars movie where I find I have as much enthusiasm for George Lucas’ creations as Arianna Huffington does. She is a radical progressive, I am a staunch conservative—but we both love Star Wars for many of the same reasons. We both love the plight of the rebellion against an evil empire. She envisions that government should be the way that fairness is given to human kind, and I see it as the destroyer of mankind. That is where the tapestries of ideology come into play where the color, shape, size and all other factors that go into those ornaments are shaped by society, education, and history. But the mythology of Star Wars has the power to extend beyond those tapestries to the actual truth—which is why I always emphasis the importance of mythology in society. It is far more important than politics, or reality as it is shaped by orthodox sources like The New York Times, The Cincinnati Enquirer, or the nightly local news.
As much as I despise President Obama, I shared with the guy a love for little Miles Scott. As much as I think San Francisco is a haven for progressivism, I loved that much of the city turned out to help make Miles Scott’s wish to become a superhero into a reality. Because of the little fellow’s intense desire to be a superhero like the mythical Batman—this is where fantasy can take the mind out of the grim reality of a situation to take mankind to a higher place. Reality says to this child that he has leukemia and that he will die. Mythology says to this child, there is hope if you can become a superhero—so the survival instinct of Miles Scott chose life over death—and to fight instead of accepting his fate.
Thank God for the Make-A-Wish Foundation showing an interest in this child. But more than that, thank God the politicians of San Francisco joined in the effort with an army of similar volunteers. I have never seen such a fine example of the power of myth applied to reality. Out of all the characters that Christian Bale will ever play, none will be more important than his Batman character because none will ever obtain the ability to pull a city like San Francisco together the way that mythology did. It started with the fantasy of Batman and his ability to overcome personal issues to fight crime in the actual comic. Then Miles using that mythology to ask the question “what if.” Then it took the Make-A-Wish Foundation to give the kid a chance at his dream while he is still healthy and alive—before leukemia attacks him again. Then it took normal every day people to help make that fantasy into a reality for little Miles. But in this case, Miles Scott was the focus—the reason for the event, and in a metaphorical way, he saved not just San Francisco—but the entire nation.
Make-A-Wish does this kind of thing all the time. They are a great organization. Recently they made a child in Anaheim Batman’s sidekick Robin and a Seattle child a secret agent. But before they can organize such things Make-A-Wish needs creative people to plant the seed of hope into the mind of a child so that something greater than their circumstance can be comprehended—so that they can make a wish. This is why superheros, comic books, fantastic movies, and big ideas expressed creatively are so important to us all. For many kids not suffering the way that Miles Scott is, the same power holds for them as well. Superheros like Batman are good for the healthy as well as the sick and give hope where reality provided none.
The reason I get so damn mad at those who proclaim that fantasy is an escape from reality is that they are essentially saying that the world would be better off without these influences. They believe that reality was shaped by the politics of the Greeks and solidified by religion 2000 years ago—and that is just stupid. Those periods were just small steps in human progress toward creating a mythology that pushed up against the limits of reality to seek something more than the world currently provides. In the case of Miles Scott and the massive world-wide fanfare that ensued from his desire to be Batkid for a day, somewhere a scientist determined that nobody should suffer death by leukemia. Likely long after Batkid has come and gone from this earth, there will be a cure that was inspired by Miles Scott’s Make-A-Wish dream and the saving of lives won’t just be a fantasy played out on the city streets of San Francisco. It will become a new reality—inspired by fantasy and a new ceiling of human limitation will be revealed—and we will all be better off for it.
That is the power of myth, and the beauty of defying reality through fantasy. Miles Scott saved society for a day by removing the “tapestries of ideology” which divide us all, and put the question on the table—why, and how can “I” fix it?
That! Is Christopher Nolan’s next film……………………..and I will be going to see it!