a fantasy solution to an imaginary problem


I imagine part of everyone’s life is imagining what they would do in a certain situation. What they may say, how they may act within a variety of “what if” situations. I would guess this is actually a healthy thing to do. Mental preparation may not be equal to trial & error preparation, but it certainly generates some mental imprints, some possible heuristic thinking, which could be helpful IF the imaginary problem becomes a problem in reality.

And then the ugly side of this rears its head.

Imaginary problems.

Imaginary problems can span from harmless waste of time thinking to harmful conspiracy theories which subvert thinking.

On the harmless side it just wastes time. I would say the most obvious example of this is managers who have nothing to do, but create problems that don’t really exist under the guise of ‘being prepared.’ In business then can often lead to paranoia, particularly when viewed through a competitive lens, i.e., “them” are out to get “us” (which business loves to do). And while that is business that attitude slips into homes and home discussions and community attitudes and then, well, the harmless actually becomes a bit harmful. That said. To be fair to business, or even the everyday life imaginary problem thinking, this shit has degrees of probability and if the least likely to occur could be catastrophic, well, it may not be a complete waste of time. All I can say here is I wish more people would ponder the probability of some imaginary problem to insure they invest the appropriate amount of thinking time against it. Of course, there is a correlation between the amount of time wasted on this and anxiety. What I mean by that is continuously obsessing over imaginary problems where you can see no attainable solution, fantasy or not, inevitably increases anxiety. This isn’t a societal issue, but it is certainly an unhealthy, harmful, individual issue.

On the harmful side it not only wastes the collective minds’ time but it can actually divert resources through tangible fantasy solutions. So, this type of shit doesn’t just suck up mental time it can actually suck up tangible dollars and tangible resources. What I mean by that is if an imaginary problem becomes large enough in the imagination of a large enough group of people we will, oddly, develop a real fantasy solution to that imaginary problem. Yeah. That’s as weird and ludicrous as it sounds. And before you shelve that thought as some ‘imaginary issue’ I would point out that over 25% of all Americans believe in some conspiracy theory. I would also point out that at one point over 50% of Republicans thought Obama was a Muslim (which begat the Sharia Law takeover imaginary problem which begat a variety of fantasy solutions which, well, you get it, begat some really unhealthy anti-Muslim beliefs). Needless to say (part 1), when a conspiracy theory, an imaginary problem, goes mainstream we demand a fantasy solution. Needless to say (part 2), when we develop fantasy solutions it comes at the cost of time, effort and money/resources applied against a real problem which needs a real solution.

I purposefully broke this down into harmless and harmful to point out that thinking about imaginary problems is a human trait – all people will do it. Therefore, the path between harmless and harmful is a very, very, narrow one at times. I think it is fair for people to discuss imaginary problems and even fairer to discuss them in terms of likelihood in an effort to pare down ‘imaginary to possible.’

That said. Let’s be clear. America has a conspiracy problem. We have an ‘imaginary problem’ problem. And because it is a societal problem it trickles down into daily, individual, problems. Doubt me? We have more fantasy solutions floating around then most sane societies would, or should, have. This is occurring in homes, businesses and government. That makes it a societal issue. That is not an imaginary problem. It deserves more than a fantasy solution of fantastical thinking. Ponder.

Written by Bruce