There was a time in my life where I thought that the only things worth doing were the things that only I could do, or that only you could do. As in, the things which can only be done by a specific person in a specific time and place. Only one person can write a specific story or paint a specific picture or create a certain type of thing. Only one person can meet another person on a specific day in a certain spot in time and space. The problem with overly valuing these types of activities is that it requires a kind of faith in God, it requires you to trust that the universe itself is telling a worthwhile story and that by participating in it you aren’t just killing time in another kind of way.
What is the reason to focus on volunteer work instead of video games? What is the reason to live your own life instead of reading about someone else’s life? The reason has to be that you in some way value actuality over simulation, that you think the truth is important. But can such a belief be maintained in the face of failure after failure? If you consistently fall short of the mark, if the story the universe has laid out for you does nothing but make you the fool, what then is the motivation to keep following that path? Where is the shame in seeking out simulated success if God has already given up on you? The only argument against falling into fantasy that I can currently think of is that fantasy can not totally supplant reality. We still have to deal with the consequences of ill-health, no matter how many books we read, we still have to pay the bills, no matter how many hours we sink into video games, we still have to live on this planet regardless of how little we want to. Those are all facts, reality will never completely go away, but that isn’t much of a motivation, if anything, it will get you to do the bare minimum and nothing more.
Reality, to me, uses little of the carrot and almost all of the stick. It can easily coerce me into action through threats of worse consequences yet to come, but it can no longer inspire me with the hope of a better tomorrow. At least when I’m going to bed at night, closing my eyes and preparing to dream, I know there’s a possibility that I might end up seeing something pleasant. It could be another nightmare, no doubt, but could is such a beautiful word. Things could be better, things could be worse, things could be different, things could be anything. While reality only ever is.