|by C.J. Chase|
If you follow current events at all, you’ve no doubt heard the name Rachel Dolezal this week. She’s the white college professor who for years successfully passed herself off as a black woman. In order to do that, she changed her appearance and invented an entirely new background for herself, complete with different parents of a different race.
She has gone so far as to claim that there’s no proof (in the form of a DNA test) that the white couple who raised her are her biological parents. The major question that has arisen: is it a sham or is she so deep into her make-believe life than she can't separate her delusions from the truth?
It was in this context that I first heard the phrase “fantasy prone personality.” Psychology Wiki describes it as “disposition or personality trait in which a person experiences a lifelong extensive and deep involvement in fantasy.”
But…isn’t that normal? No? Uh oh.
This fascinating New York Times article suggests about 4% of the population spends half (or more) of their time living in internal fantasy worlds with “fully articulated plots.” You mean, 96% of the population doesn’t spend their days conversing with imaginary people? So what goes on in their brains all day then?
Fortunately, the researchers say this is only a problem if the person can’t distinguish between fantasy and reality. Whew! I was afraid they were going to say it was a serious problem if you couldn’t stay in the right fantasy—you know, like when your contract says you’re supposed to create a “fully articulated plot” set in 1857 Virginia and your mind keeps sidetracking you to 1796 France or 1881 Montana instead. (Not that this has ever happened to me, understand.)
So, let's discuss. What about you? Are you a 4%er? (Or, like I, do you believe that the number has to be higher than that? After all, it sure seems like everyone and his brother wants to write a book.) Do you think an overactive imagination is a hindrance or an advantage in "real" life?
Oh, and if your flights of fancy become too debilitating, you can always check out this Wiki page for How to Deal with Maladaptive Daydreaming. After you wrap up that "fully articulated plot," that is.