I asserted for many years that it’s not hard to keep a mental barrier between “reality” and “fantasy.” I'm here today to tell you I was wrong.
I don’t mean to renege on my belief that people who play Grand Theft Auto don’t become inclined to commit grand theft auto, but rather to introduce some depth to the dialogue.
Everyday decision-making, especially in casual conversation, is primarily driven by mimetic tools and experiential data, broadly assessed in an instant by heuristic thought processes which produce a result that is rarely ideal and only occasionally appropriate. In conversation you don’t have time to think, so you resort to intuition. Post-hoc deliberation often produces a better result: we can usually come up with a good response to almost any situation, sometimes even as early as a few minutes after the scenario flits through our experience. Of course, this capacity is generally worthless, except for embellishing stories and posting on Reddit.
Unfortunately, it's not like I have a solution or anything. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be a handy solution, any more than there is to the problem of physical acuity facing an adult who as a child never fought anybody or fostered athleticism and rarely even challenged himself on the playground. Some things are easily, naturally accomplished by many children, yet challenge adults because we understand expectations and inhibitions. The prime time for gathering data about reality is past.
I guess the best bet is to flip fiction the bird and get some experiences of your own, but that’s obviously easier said than done. As an adult I’m supposed to behave, and I have to live with the people around me so I don’t want to just go off the fucking wall as a form of data aggregation although that is probably a great way to work against the problem presented.
Of course, there’s another side to the story: if one spends long enough in fantasy, one understands fantasy. If one spends time on the Web, becomes adept at navigating cyberspace. I sometimes feel like I belong on the other side of the keyboard, inside the monitor, in the expanse of the network. It’s where I feel comfortable; free to be myself, agile, and experienced. But that doesn’t help me in the real world. The translation is imperfect; the correspondence flawed. Reality and your interpretation are in skew.