On the distinction between "imaginary" and "real."

On the distinction between "imaginary" and "real."

In the worldview of The Storyteller’s Eye, the distinction between “imaginary” and “real” is blurry at best—possibly nonexistent.

It’s like this:

We use various words for various parts of the arm: wrist, forearm, elbow, etc. But where does wrist begin and forearm end? Where does forearm begin and wrist end? And the same thing with forearm and elbow?

The terms in this worldview are pretty much like that: they’re useful for the purposes of explanation, but really, nothing beats the experience of having a functioning arm. Nothing beats the experience of having a functioning world consisting of both “imaginary” and “real.” And this “functioning” need not be proved to any external observer. For you, in your world, does your world function--preferably in a way that allows you to be what you claim you want/need to be?

In short, the word “imagined” isn’t used to indicate that something is less real than that which isn’t imagined--which, fundamentally, actually, does not exist. Hence the futility of the distinction between imaginary and real. When you really think about it, there is nothing that wasn’t at first “only” imagined and then “became” real.

Everything is first imagined until it becomes something “real” in the avatar world. In fact, those who turn imagination into reality will say that it was real for them before the rest of the world saw it as real. This is so with intangible things, such as ideas, ex: novels. This is also so with things like movies, which exist in screenplay format (which consists of letters, like a novel) but then can be turned into a tangible film set filled with tangible actors, and then again into streaming data that isn’t tangible. There are also things like buildings: they were a not-yet-drawn blueprint in someone’s head, then became a blueprint, then real structures where people can live and die.

Are those people real? “Real”?

You can decide on an answer for yourself, as you continue to read on.

For now, it suffices to say: since even “real” things (concrete things) in the avatar world began as imagination, it’s fairly straightforward to accept that anything any less concrete definitely began as imagination:

  • All notions regarding what is possible and impossible in the “real world” are imaginary.
  • All notions regarding what is worthy and unworthy in the “real world” are imaginary.
  • All notions regarding what is fair and unfair in the “real world” are imaginary.

Again, “imaginary” doesn’t mean lesser than “real.” These imagined notions are very real to those who believe them. But those notions aren't concrete in that they aren't immutable and in that they haven't “always” been there. There is no such thing as something that has always been there in this avatar world. Everything is a matter of belief resulting from decisions.

The worldview tag is best read in this order. The later posts build on the earlier posts.