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Psychology | Fantasy worlds

We all live in a fantasy world for much of the time, but few adults would admit it. Children look out of their classroom windows daydreaming of something else. They play, acting out scenarios that seem to help them cope with life. Many children have few bad memories and their fantasies are happy so they feel happy and secure. We imagine the future and what we imagine is our perception of life.


We have to imagine these scenarios in order to create anything. Creativity comes from imagination. We piece together our memories, our knowledge and our experience of life to try to create something new. Using our imagination is what makes us able to wonder about the natural world, develop theories and be curious about the world around us. Imagination drives scientific discovery, it drives artistic expression and relieves boredom. Bored children escape to another world more interesting when teacher drones on, bored housewives escape to their alternative reality when the daily routine of cooking, cleaning and looking after the children gets too monotonous.


Writers who write fiction, whether it’s short stories of an epic novel, often spend most of their time in a fantasy world that they create and then relate in words to their readers. Imagination takes them to the far corners of the earth and beyond as they tell tales of adventure, love and worlds that are far from mundane.


‘Cosplay’, where people dress up and act out roles is interesting. They often have their photographs taken dressed as a pirate, medieval warrior or whatever their imagination chooses them to be. Theatre and film also takes advantage of the human desire to act out a role. To pretend and ‘play’ at being someone else. At fancy dress balls people often wear masks. This ability to hide the ‘real’ you and become someone else, is what makes it part of a fantasy. To many people even a change of clothing can be like ‘cosplay’,  as they dress up for an evening and take on a new persona as they go to an important function. Even wearing sunglasses gives people the illusion that they are hiding their real self from view.


Environment can also change the way people act as they begin to adopt a role that is appropriate to the environment. A hospital environment can trigger a more responsible approach in the staff of the hospital, but they might behave quite differently in the pub after work. The décor of work places is therefore, quite important, it should be a different environment to those places where people enjoy themselves.

Role play

We often dress appropriately because we see environments as fantasy worlds. People can function better in a uniform that makes them identifiable as part of a particular ‘world’. The uniform might be a formal uniform like the ones worn by policemen or nurses or an informal uniform like the business suit of the professional or the overalls of a car mechanic. We have images in our minds of how to dress and behave in different roles before we even begin to adopt those roles. Some people might think that we are all children, still dressing up and playing games…

What do you think? Do you have fantasies that help you get through life? Please share your thoughts in the comments box. You can also follow me on Twitter for updates.

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