Mac Clayton says fantastical thinking isn’t just for kids. Adults make frequent use of it, too.
When my children were very young, they believed in monsters. To reassure them I held up the covers and shone a light to show them there is nothing under the bed. But I also told them fairy tales about creatures who adored them: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy. These were harmless fictions, I thought, fantasies they would outgrow soon enough on their way to a world of no magic, no illusions about what is real and what is not.
That passage into adulthood is bittersweet. Once lost, the innocence and credulity of childhood are gone forever.
Or are they?
Sometimes as we grow older up we find new fantasies to hold onto. We seem to have a powerful, instinctive urge to believe in something magical, something that will bring us gifts not because of anything we have done, just because of who we are.