Moments of Impact: “What If” Instead of “What Is”

Moments of Impact

There are “dream words” in the English language. While words like “are” and “is” presents facts, we also have words called “modals” that comment on how reality should, could, or might be. Maybe we concern ourselves too much with what “is” because our immediate truths are our way of reconciling and surviving in what’s always so coldly presented as the “real world.” Our culture, American culture, is so competitive that to look at anything else other than the other rat racing right ahead of you seems nonsensical, if not deadly. The shoulds, mights, and coulds of life get lost. Daydreaming becomes useless. They have no use because they just don’t “get you anywhere.”

But isn’t daydreaming, thinking of how things could be different, what might or should be true, what makes us human? Daydreaming is said to involve the prefontal cortex, one of the last but differentiating parts of our mind to develop in our evolutionary history. If we look past empiricism for a moment and take a tour of Plato’s idealism, which proposes that humans are ever aware of a perfection that doesn’t exist in the real world, we find that we were almost born to be dreamers. I mean, if we’re made of the stuff of stars (which is pretty darn magical), wouldn’t it make sense that we would look towards them now and again?

I’m thinking I might launch a daydream once a day using one of our modals. Instead of thinking about the jobs, the tasks, the interviews I have to go to, the worries about how things are, maybe I’ll ask myself: “What could happen if someone spontaneously burst into song? What might this kind of character do on the bus I’m riding right now?” Just as daydreaming is said to heighten innovative parts of our mind, it may help me create new paths off the track we’re all running in. The stuff of stars is real; the light it gives off is divine.

“Moments of Impact” is an original Falcon Post series dedicated to stop-in-your-track moments. It’s when the daily routine becomes jarred, experiences, knowledge, and emotions find a meeting point, producing a revelation that you could sit in your chair pondering for hours like David Bowie in the Labyrinth. I personally hope that I have at least one moment of impact a week. Indeed, this is a weekly series. 

Melanie Falconer is a freelance writer and editor living in Los Angeles, California. Her writing mainly concerns philosophy, personal experiences, cultural commentary, and her love of the visual and performing arts. If you’d like to reach out to her, you can do so here.

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