Fantasy & Gritty Realism

IMG_0091 (2) melting creekThere are a lot of polar opposites swirling madly about in our world today: Republican vs Democrat, liberal vs conservative, Pro-life vs Pro-choice,  Believers vs Atheists, yet ironically all the people behind the labels have something important in common.  But I fear we won’t realize it until we are forced to and nobody likes being forced into anything.

How can we find common ground in this post-modern, overwhelmingly info-driven, scurry-to-your-corners-and-come-out-fighting-world?  Well, let’s take a look at what we spend our time and money on. What sells?  From what I can see, looking from my own admittedly sheltered perspective, we seem to have an obsession with fantasy laced with gritty realism. Our society doesn’t particularly want to hide from the fact that the world is in grave danger, in fact, everyone seems honestly concerned about global warming, impending war, the nasty effects of blind hatred, abused children, and equal rights for everyone.  Everyone, of course, except those who believe that beheading people is the right thing to do. I doubt global warming concerns them much. But generally, there is concern that the world is heading in the wrong direction and it is reflected in our movies and books which highlight, in the most graphic manner, all sorts of gritty, grimy, awful scenarios. And we all seem to agree that we need someone to come along and fix our overwhelming problems.  I almost feel like we are living a “Gotham-existence” where we are holding our breath, hoping, and perhaps even praying, that Batman or some such Superhero shows up soon.  Not too many people now-a-days are optimists.  We may say “Christ has already conquered” but there is still a lot of fear about what we will face before He comes again to save us from our impending doom.  So fear and a need for a hero are strong in our psyche.  We are in trouble, we know it, and we need help.  Common ground.

Is that common ground enough to bridge the gaps between our polar positions? I don’t think so. But as I learn about the mind-blowing realities we face every day from “seeing” worlds that exist on the edge of time and space, to discovering new forms of life, cloning possibilities, radical new insights which reach deep into human experience on earth, and reaching out toward universes we can’t begin to comprehend…I think that which baffles and frightens us might be the glue which reminds us of what unifies us.  We are all human after all.  I do not know if we will destroy ourselves in explosive disunity or if we will be bound together through forces which we have yet to understand – but I do know that art tends to reflect our deepest selves – and right now – fantasy & gritty realism tell us a great deal about ourselves. We are a race of beings deeply frightened and in need of help. Unless of course – we decide to help each other…

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