Breaking out of heaven

Non-realist writing is about the creation of transparently fictional, secondary worlds for the mind, imagination and emotions to play in. One of the joys of such worlds comes from the suspension of disbelief needed to enter them. Put simply, you can pretend that they’re real – a complex joy, but a joy nonetheless.

It’s easy to forget that we create fictions of the world around us in day to day life, as well. We build narratives around work, around play, and enter into them wholeheartedly. Here, too, there’s suspension of disbelief; we forget the wider possibilities of the self as we settle ourselves into the restrictive, consensual limits that daily life creates.

It’s when we forget that these limits are defined by a fiction we’ve created that problems happen. We come to believe that the story IS the reality, that we have no choices in a given situation; but that’s rarely, if ever, true. There is no story that cannot be reframed, no narrative that cannot be stepped out of.

There’s an interesting mythical take on this, as well. In the Christian narrative, we fell from heaven so we could have choice. Such a shattering birth has ensured that free will is a core component of our lives. We can never lose as much as we’ve already lost through exercising it; and so, we are absolutely free.

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