Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Reality vs. Story



I recently saw the new movie, Mr. Holmes, about the one and only Sherlock Holmes and was struck by something Holmes said at one point while talking to a female character. He’s talking to this woman who he’s been hired to investigate, and she confides her unhappiness with her life to him. In response, he contemplates whether it’s better for people to know the truth about things and confront reality, or if it’s better to tell people stories you know they would like to hear. No real conclusion is reached, but putting the question out there got me thinking about my own life. Which would I prefer? And which do I tend to tell other people? Certainly it seems easier to believe in a story and think of it as true, and I’m wondering if perhaps there’s nothing wrong with doing so. Whether one accepts reality or lives within a story, either one becomes reality for that person. So if one does live within a story, what harm does it really do, because it’s still real to that person? As long as doing so doesn’t harm oneself or others, it could be perfectly acceptable. Don’t we all indulge in the in stories anyway? It’s called daydreaming. I myself find myself fluctuating between stories in my head and the reality that I’m confronted with, and it seems to me like we have to reflect on stories to a certain extent just to put up with the reality that surrounds us. So perhaps it’s not either/or, but the necessity for both in order to carry on.

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