Sunday, March 27, 2011

What is Real?

In OFS, Tolkien discusses the concept of "real-life" by comparing products of the "Robot Age" with those of Faerie. For example, he questions how "motor-cars are more 'alive' than, say, centaurs or dragons." I too believe that is foolish to say that technology and science are "more real" than what the individual produces from his imagination and within his being. One of my favorite passages from this essay further emphasizes this idea:

"For my part, I cannot convince myself that the roof of Bletchley station is more 'real' than the clouds. And as an artefact I find it less inspiring than the legendary dome of heaven. The bridge to platform 4 is to me less interesting than Bifrost guarded by Heimdall with the Gjallarhorn. From the wildness of my heart I cannot exclude the question whether rail-way-engineers, if they had been brought up on more fantasy, might not have done better with all their abundant means than they commonly do. Fairy-stories might be, I guess, better Masters of Arts than the academic person..."

Can the boundary between what is real and what isn't real truly be defined? Or should it ever be defined?

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