October 20, 2018, 01:15:41 AM

Author Topic: Are Fantasy Fans Less Sceptical than Fans of Other Genres?  (Read 1007 times)

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Are Fantasy Fans Less Sceptical than Fans of Other Genres?
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2018, 05:57:40 PM »
It's beneficial to believe in life after death because it makes my own mortality less frightening (I won't actually cease to exist)

Do I dislike the thought of simply ceasing to be?

See, for me this idea isn't true at all.
Yes, I agree with Eli that our thoughts and personality are just chemical reactions, but we are our cells, our atoms, our energy too - and that doesn't disappear, that doesn't cease to exist! It will continue throughout the world, as part of other people or other things: still a part of this universe!
And that makes me happy :)
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Online The Gem Cutter

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Re: Are Fantasy Fans Less Sceptical than Fans of Other Genres?
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2018, 06:52:53 PM »
I think the separation we perceive between ourselves and the world (and each other) is not as absolute as we imagine.

For my part, I believe that you are all me, had I been born in your bodies and in those circumstances where you found yourselves, with your uniquely particular tendencies, flaws, talents, and passions; just as I am you, had you been born in this body and in the circumstances where I found myself. And in the end, when the imagined but non-existent space between us dissolves, we will be reunited and share each other's experiences. We will weep and gasp and laugh, and find that we are God.

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Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: Are Fantasy Fans Less Sceptical than Fans of Other Genres?
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2018, 08:47:13 PM »
Seems I'm the most pessimistic person here.

Well, that's just the way it is.  ::)
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Offline tebakutis

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Re: Are Fantasy Fans Less Sceptical than Fans of Other Genres?
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2018, 09:05:12 PM »
It's beneficial to believe in life after death because it makes my own mortality less frightening (I won't actually cease to exist)

Do I dislike the thought of simply ceasing to be?

See, for me this idea isn't true at all.
Yes, I agree with Eli that our thoughts and personality are just chemical reactions, but we are our cells, our atoms, our energy too - and that doesn't disappear, that doesn't cease to exist! It will continue throughout the world, as part of other people or other things: still a part of this universe!
And that makes me happy :)

Maybe it's vanity. But for me, I feel like what I am is my thoughts, experiences, preferences, and "self". I like the idea that when I die, I will get to continue to exist and hang out with those I loved when I was alive, and possibly even "play again" after relaxing a bit between lives. I don't want to become something not me.

Also, as much as I don't like the idea of my thoughts and personality ceasing to exist upon death (though if it did, I certainly wouldn't care) even more importantly, I don't like the idea that when my parents, spouse, other loved ones, or even my dog dies, that *they* cease to exist. That's almost too sad for me to handle, so imagining I'll see them again in an afterlife (rather that losing them forever until I, myself, cease to exist) is comforting.

My wife is an atheist, BTW, which I'm totally fine with (again, all we can do is guess) and as a result, we're both amused by Pascal's wager. If I'm correct, and life exists after death, I get to tease her about it after we die. If she's correct, and there is no life after death, I *still* win, since I never find out I was wrong. :P

Offline Saraband

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Re: Are Fantasy Fans Less Sceptical than Fans of Other Genres?
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2018, 09:11:59 PM »
Seems I'm the most pessimistic person here.

Well, that's just the way it is.  ::)

I don't think your outlook is pessimistic at all. In fact, I see it as a very realistic one, and the one which I feel more akin to (whilst also relating to @ScarletBea's views). To me, the fact that death is terminal, and there is no afterlife, is actually what makes me want to enjoy the most out of life. And I also couldn't bear to contemplate the existence of any God, for such being, even if it existed, would have to be unbelievably twisted and cruel to inflict such misery upon the world (universe?), and therefore not worthy of my prostration.

I am quite a sceptic, and most of the people I know who are into SFF also happen to be, but maybe that's because those are the kinds of people who I tend to build friendships with.
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Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Are Fantasy Fans Less Sceptical than Fans of Other Genres?
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2018, 03:27:15 AM »
Like Saraband I think you are realistic, not pessimistic, Eli. I don’t believe in gods, spirits, magic, ghosts etc. or an afterlife either. 

I am happy that any of those brings comfort or hope to those who do believe in them, but get extremely angry when those beliefs are used by powerful organisations or individuals who take advantage of the poor or ignorant.  Personally the prospect of eternal life makes me shudder, much as I love and miss a couple of family who have died.  Sartre’s view that ‘Hell is other people’ springs to mind. Will be more than content to just stop being, at some time.

The exploration of all those beliefs in fantasy literature and art is an ongoing pleasure.  We owe a huge debt to the old classic SFF writers, but the imagination of modern writers, building on and going so far and wide beyond, leaves me in awe. This would never make me think any being based on fact, because much as I wish there might be a Selkie in a Scots Loch, or Odin was prancing around the US challenging the god Technology, I should then logically expect to encounter a demon to drag me to eternal torment in Hell.  Just view this literature genre as wonderfully creative escapism and remain an utter sceptic.

@JMack your putting ‘Greek gods’ and ‘ethics’ in proximity raised a smile. The philosophers were brilliant, but the Olympic pantheon was pretty dissolute.  ;) Recommend Circe by Margaret Miller for your amusement.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 03:29:08 AM by Lady Ty »
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Offline NedMarcus

Re: Are Fantasy Fans Less Sceptical than Fans of Other Genres?
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2018, 12:47:56 PM »
I don’t believe in gods, spirits, magic, ghosts etc. or an afterlife either. 

I am happy that any of those brings comfort or hope to those who do believe in them...

Perhaps the idea of God/gods and an afterlife brings comfort to some or many, but I'm not sure magic, ghosts or other supernatural phenomena do.

Of the three main theories of what happens after death, I chose reincarnation because it feels right, and it's the most interesting. I have no proof—no one does. Resurrection seems a bit scary to me, and the oblivion theory (that there's nothing at all) seems a bit boring—but I have to admit that it has a restful quality to it. Who wouldn't like a good sleep after a hard life?

As far as intuitive/psychic type experiences, I think it depends on what you experience. For people who never experience anything like this, then it's good and natural that they are sceptics. I would be a happy sceptic if I hadn't experienced certain things in my life, and they don't always bring me comfort. Sometimes the opposite.


 

Offline xiagan

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Re: Are Fantasy Fans Less Sceptical than Fans of Other Genres?
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2018, 01:01:29 PM »
Elí's view is the one I can relate the most to, since I'm an atheist too. I don't think it's pessimistic either.
Erik's view is the second most relatable (is it just me or are "life is a simulation"-beliefs en vogue atm?).

I don't/can't believe in a god/gods for the reasons Erik stated. I tried it in adolescence but praying to or believing in a higher being didn't provide me with comfort or added something valuable to my life. I once read that there's a genetic disposition to believing in the supernatural. No idea if that's true but it would explain why some people are way more susceptible than others - even when considering upraising as an important factor.

One of my best friends is a Christian in the best meaning of the word (he believes in God but is not affiliated to manmade churches and is a kind and helpful being who never judges others for their beliefs). He gets a lot of comfort from it and the boy with down-syndrome that was born to him in early May can really be glad that he was born to a family that accepts his being different as the will of God and sees him as one of God's beautiful children and not an anomaly or just someone disabled (which isn't my view either, but that's another topic).

I'm glad when people get real value in this world from their belief (it's just not working for me) but more often I see religion ruin lives. In lurid colors in the news or in random fates where people hate and destroy themselves or their families for who they are.

I would like to believe in an afterlife because it would probably bring comfort, but I can't. Spinoza was the first to realize that the soul can't exist without the body (no software without hardware) and modern (neuro)scientists found lots of claims to support that hypothesis.

I do believe that there are things between heaven and earth we can't see or explain. The human mind alone is able to do some nearly magical stuff (look at what some Yogis are able to do, for example).
The world/universe is a wondrous place and we aren't close to having discovered everything.

I once wrote a novel about a boy who found an old book with magical exercises. He tried and tried but it never worked. He lived in a world where magic didn't exist (well, it did but was a secret of the inquisition-like church) and deep down he knew that it couldn't work and so it didn't. When he encountered a malevolent and clearly magical being, that barrier inside his head/his beliefs evaporated and suddenly the magic worked.

That's of course wishful thinking on my part. :D To encounter something similar (but less dangerous please) that unquestionably shows me that magic exists, allowing me to perform it myself. ;)
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Are Fantasy Fans Less Sceptical than Fans of Other Genres?
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2018, 02:10:24 PM »
I don’t believe in gods, spirits, magic, ghosts etc. or an afterlife either. 

I am happy that any of those brings comfort or hope to those who do believe in them...

Perhaps the idea of God/gods and an afterlife brings comfort to some or many, but I'm not sure magic, ghosts or other supernatural phenomena do.

There are many communities who believe in magic practised by their witch doctors, wise elders or shamans and not all of it is malevolent. The people of Laos have a very comfortable relationship with the ghosts of their ancestors.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 02:12:31 PM by Lady Ty »
“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 
Leigh Bardugo, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Offline NedMarcus

Re: Are Fantasy Fans Less Sceptical than Fans of Other Genres?
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2018, 02:23:42 PM »
There are many communities who believe in magic practised by their witch doctors, wise elders or shamans and not all of it is malevolent. The people of Laos have a very comfortable relationship with the ghosts of their ancestors.

Good point. I guess I was thinking from a western perspective, even though I live in a part of East Asia where many people have a similar relationship. Have you lived in Laos?

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Are Fantasy Fans Less Sceptical than Fans of Other Genres?
« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2018, 02:45:05 PM »
No, never lived there but long ago was interested in a teacher called Colin Coterill who worked there with special interests in helping abused children. Then he began to write very fascinating stories about an old coroner called Dr Siri Paiboun in Laos and I was hooked on learning more about the country and some of its more recent history and customs. That was where I learned about how they genuinely believe and sometimes communicate with their Ancestors. Laos has a terribly repressive regime so not sure if their Ancestor ghost beliefs are countenanced openly any more.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 02:47:30 PM by Lady Ty »
“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 
Leigh Bardugo, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Offline Neveesandeh

Re: Are Fantasy Fans Less Sceptical than Fans of Other Genres?
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2018, 10:50:22 PM »
When I was in my late teens, I went through a massive existential crisis. I read up on all sorts of things. Religion, philosophy, physics. I don't think I ever reached any definitive conclusions, but I feel it did really open my horizons. A lot of scientists believe in things, such as the multiverse, block universe and the like, that I feel before would have been considered absurd.

One book I've been meaning to read for a while is John Gray's 'Seven Types of Atheism'. The central premise, I believe, is that the notion of religion and atheism as two opposing forces is a false binary, and many atheists hold and have held beliefs that could be considered in some way religious. (Belief in reason, progress, science etc.) I'm not sure how much I agree with him, but I'd be very interested to hear his perspective.

With regards to religion, I feel it is good to maintain skepticism whilst also trying to be broad minded. I myself don't subscribe to the claim that religion makes people inherently more violent, I feel that people are violent anyway and will grasp any excuse to do terrible things in certain circumstances. The religious traditions I oppose are cults, those that encourage people to cut themselves off from the world and society.

Overall, I think it's best to just try to be a considerate and compassionate person, regardless of belief in God/gods or the afterlife or those kinds of things.

As to whether fantasy fans are less skeptical than other genres, honestly, I haven't a clue. Guess I've been rambling off topic, but it's a fascinating subject.

Offline Neveesandeh

Re: Are Fantasy Fans Less Sceptical than Fans of Other Genres?
« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2018, 10:57:31 PM »
With regards to magic, I don't think I could ever find belief in it comforting. From what I've heard, those that do believe in it can go through a lot of distress as a result. And the persecution for centuries of so called witches highlights a kind of fear and paranoia that can lead people to act their very worst.

In my own work, I have yet to portray magic in a positive light. Usually its a means of maintaining the power of a small elite at the expense of less advantaged non-magic users. I feel that if magic as it is usually portrayed in fantasy did exist, the result would be rigidly hierarchical society that would be deeply unpleasant to live in.