The word fantasy derives from the Greek term Phos meaning light. As such, it can be thought of as something that illuminates, that lets us see, order and classify our environment under its light. It is something that helps us to explore what was previously dark and inaccessible to our experience and also what we understand as reality.
However, considering that we are doubtful about the existence of a single way of accessing reality, we should stop seeing fantasy as its opposite and start understanding it, as Lacan states, as something that bears some sense of reality, or something that is balancing reality (Lacan, 1999). One of the things that fantasy can make us see is that of allowing us to imagine ourselves in our actual and hypothetical relation with others, with our space and time on the basis of our dreams, desires and identities. That is because everybody wants to imagine who he or she is and what they want to achieve in life so as to have the necessary strength to carry on with the daily toils, because it might seem difficult to go ahead at times unless you know where you stand and that you have some horizon to reach.
Futhermore, we are likely to relate fantasies to collective identities as regards their inter-subjectivity. This is the case with the fantasy of sharing collective memories or the carrying through of the fantasy of sharing a common reality.
Thus, both individuals and communities seem to have the need to believe in a certain coming into being of things, somehow anticipating the future so as to diminish the anxiety that the unknown generates in all of us. We need to project hypotheses to imagine things as how they are or could be.
In that way, we always find some images, some fantasies circulating in our imagination, tracking our sense of reality and our desires.
© Sebastian Guerrini, 2009