After reading this article you will learn about the Use and Abuse of Phantasy.
Use of Phantasy:
Religious persons imagine the Kingdom of Heaven or the City of God. Humanitarians dream of social Utopias in which all inequalities are removed. Poets dream of an ideal society in which love and sympathy reign supreme.
Talented persons often portray their daydreams artistically in symbolic form. M. K. Gandhi’s co-operative commonwealth without any government and Marx’s stateless and classless world-society are daydreams. These daydreams, though unreal, have an elevating influence upon the mind. They point to the ideals at which we should aim. But, to be effective, they should not be far above the common world.
Abuse of Phantasy:
Phantasy is harmless enough, in small doses. It is, as it were, a indoor sport. It affords an imaginative realization of one’s needs or desires. But if a child or a person, finds his only satisfaction in his fantasies, and avoids contact with other children or persons, it may lead to serious consequences.
Overindulgence in phantasy may lead to persistent escape from reality, and sometimes even to mental derangement. Excessive day-dreaming is found in persons suffering from dementia precox, who are immersed in their own imaginings and impervious to external influences. Excessive phantasy should be cured by real contact with the world and effective adjustment to it.
Phantasy is Daydreaming:
When some persons are frustrated in the satisfaction of their desires, they seek an imaginary satisfaction in phantasy. Daydreams provide imaginative escape from the reality and afford imaginary fulfilment of ungratified desires.
Individuals who fail to cope with the reality and adjust themselves effectively to it seek refuge in an imaginary world of daydreams, where obstacles are surmounted, punishments are avoided, and goals are easily attained. Phantasy becomes a substitute for intelligently directed effort. Thus many boys daydream that they are great athletes, and girls that they are singers, and young men that they are great leaders.
The Mastery Motive is fulfilled by Phantasy:
Many daydreams satisfy the basic need of prestige or social recognition. We have found that the “conquering hero” daydreams and the “suffering hero” daydreams both satisfy the instinct of self-assertion which is thwarted in the real world. Sometimes these may become persistent, and assume the forms of delusions of grandeur and delusions of persecution. These are common symptoms of insanity.