Moments of Impact: Why We Can't Live Without Illusions

Moments of Impact: Why We Can’t Live Without Illusions

Moments of Impact, Uncategorized

“If there is something comforting—religious, if you want—about paranoia, there is still also anti-paranoia, where nothing is connected to anything, a condition not many of us can bear for long.”

— Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)

We can’t live and not believe. Beliefs stem from and  live past our experiences, imprinted in us, carving out our inner lives. Some may not serve us well,  but we have just as many we can’t live without. We can’t sleep without believing we’re safe. We can’t be intimate without believing in trust. It may not be possible to live in a state where nothing is connected—the mind’s ability to make connections is what makes it human. We always believe, whether we know it or not, and regardless of how many times our beliefs change.

What distinguishes the paranoid person that Thomas Pynchon refers to is that they have too many beliefs. This person, the contemporary lunatic shouting imaginary prophecies on the street, belongs in our human history as the shamans or priests of ages passed. Today we say they don’t see, and we have to make them with prescriptions. But in smaller communities, they were a valuable set of eyes into another realm (although in the Middle Ages in Europe, it was a demonic one). Even now with our fixation on treating the mentally ill by numbing them, no one could argue that their beliefs aren’t fascinating. They forge connections we never would.

The American mind has a special inclination to believe in spite of. We love believing for its own sake. In Kurt Anderson’s new book, Fantasyland, he makes a case for why being delusional is synonymous with being American. We came to the continent from Britain in pursuit of gold, searching for thirty years with no proof of its existence other than hearsay from Native Americans trying escape our slaughter. The biblethumpers believed God caused public epileptic fits. We believed Joseph Smith. We created Scientology, the Las Vegas Strip, Disneyland, and pursue illusions above reality simply because it feels better to do so.

In fact, we take our illusions as reality. If given the choice, I’m not sure which one I’d believe. My illusions, that I’m safe, special, and my dreams will come true. Or the reality, which is unknown, constantly changing, perhaps out of my grasp. And I’ve never been one to believe two things at once.

Melanie Falconer is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. Her writing mainly concerns philosophy, personal experiences, cultural commentary, and her love of the visual and performing arts. If you’d like to reach out to her, you can do so here.

Semantic Drifting: The Story of the Word "Amazing"

Semantic Drifting: The Story of the Word “Amazing”

Semantic Drifting

Words pass through time like great works of art or literature. People once winced at Nietzche’s works, considered relics of a lunatic, and now, we revere him as an intellectual icon. As with words, which rarely mean precisely what they did at their inception. The process driving their evolution is semantic drift, the way words change meaning in their lifespan. There are many ways they do this, but the least common of them is called amelioration.

Perhaps speaking to time’s usual habit to making things worse, words will often go from meaning something positive to negative, a process called degeneration. The chances for a word to escape its gloomy, miserable, or evil connotations are slim to none. But when they come to mean something cheery or positive, they undergo amelioration–and it’s amazing.

Amazing, derived from the noun maze, meant “confusing; perplexing” around the 14th century. It’s not entirely clear how it became something so unquestionably positive in the contemporary sense (“Did you see her sing? She was amazing!”). The likely culprit is the multitude of emotional contexts in which we may be “confused” or “perplexed”. For instance, we may be confused by a cruel act, but we may be equally perplexed when we see someone so talented we don’t understand it. Amazing must have been used to express awe more often over time.

Emotional words tend to be more black and white, except for truly confusing words such as these. Words like happy or sad have not strayed that far from their original meanings (happy used to mean lucky, sad meant sorrowful). But aren’t emotions like confusion and bewilderment inherently amazing… in the original sense? Does this give them the gray area for a rare semantic process like amelioration to do its unlikely and miraculous work?

Beginning the maze of semantic drift may seem daunting. But a word’s lunacy may reveal much about our own.

Melanie Falconer is a freelance writer and editor living in Los Angeles, California. Her writing mainly concerns philosophy, personal experiences, cultural commentary, and her love of the visual and performing arts. If you’d like to reach out to her, you can do so here.

I am drawn to new journals and notebooks to the point of an obsessive and compulsive craving.

Journal Fetish

Essays, Philosophy/Insight

I compulsively crave and obsess over new journals and notebooks. In the bookstore, Walgreens, and paper goods store, I walk directly to the shelves of Moleskins, Paperblanks, Deuts187s and Piccadillys. A journal serves not just as a utility to write. Before the writing happens, a journal is loaded with meaning.

Writing in some journals may mean participating in a historical continuum. Paperblanks’ cover images are restored designs from millennia ago. The aesthetics are orderly, symmetrical, and intricate—­foreign to the modern reductionist journal with a white cover and a tiny but rebellious black square in the center. The Paperblanks images, ranging from equinoxes, silk work from France, the book of Solomon, to Paris Noir, imbues each journal with a sense of historical continuity and connection. By writing between the covers which bare images of the old, we restore them to the present. The journal which contains the first draft of this essay bares a cover with a symmetrical, silver filigree design from Germany in the 1800s. The description inside proudly declares: “Silver filigree was made with the intent to celebrate human’s inclination to the ornate, the symmetrical nature to beauty and the delicate system in which beauty participates.” No matter how desolate the modern era appears to others, we can always restore our universal appreciation of beauty and the ornate. A notebook can thus restore and connect us to something greater than what it is we’re writing in the present.

This journal features the door number of Sherlock Holmes. While I tend to stay away from movie or book related notebooks, this notebook is surely alluring, clever, and mysterious.
This journal features the door number of Sherlock Holmes. While I tend to stay away from movie or book related notebooks, this notebook is surely alluring, clever, and mysterious.

Black journals are the most alluring of them all. Black, though the most soulful color, is not understood as such or even considered a “real color.” In objective terms, it is the very essence of color; it is all color condensed into one point. Darkness does not signify the absence of light but the complete absorption of it, as when pupils dilate in the dark to collect as much light as possible. Blackness gathers, collects, and condenses as a black hole does, inhaling the galaxy it inhabits. When I look at a black journal, I see colorful tales and mysteries condensed in the cover. Opening the cover titillates me, and I am always shocked by the white void of the blank pages.

We can neglect notebooks with different colors. They are too heavily associated with ever-changing personalities and moods. Red hot anger, yellow sunniness, green envy, imaginary purple—these colors have their own sentiments. I could only ever justify a notebook cover with a plain, light blue color, one reminiscent of water.

Water reveals what’s underneath, letting light in and reflecting simultaneously. In this way, the water can be a source of reflection, tranquility, and wonder which makes it an astute metaphor for the work that journaling involves. Water is a form of writing, like Dumbledore’s liquid pensive in Harry Potter, used to sift through memories, reflect, and relax. In writing, we wade through narratives, emotional currents, and epiphanies made by diving deep. Sometimes the waters are pacified and stilled with the pen, and I see a clear reflection staring back at me. Other times, I see something close to the Loch Ness: a dark and mysterious figure that manages to escape before I can take a snapshot. There is a mystery lurking in my subconscious, just beyond reach, awaiting discovery in a dream.

There might be something ironic in water as a metaphor for writing, as writing is a way to solidify passing thoughts on a page. Yet our words, no matter how tangible, are never absolute. No claim can ever actually be permanently proved to exist, although it can be improved and advanced, torn down, and critiqued. Just as I can write my memories down, my memories will change. I will have changed, for better or for worse, and inevitably look back on a memory which could feel foreign to me. By journaling, I can attempt to capture my memories as they were at that specific point in time. Yet just like a black and white photo, writing a memory down is only capturing a fragment, a basic shell of what it was. This brings me to the inside of the notebook: the blank pages.

Despite myself, I looked at these blank journals before anything else in the bookstore. The other books have already fulfilled their creative potential. Their creators will never walk into the bookstore to squeeze in their last edits. All is said, done, in print and for purchase as is. The empty journals are begging a writer to walk into the bookstore, pets in a shelter desperately looking for love. More so than a living, breathing thing, they are tragically incomplete and absolute without a writer.

This is a reason why they are also intimidating to start. Unlike spoken language, writing is slower and presents the possibility of rewinding, replacing, improving our language in retrospect. What we write can be taken apart; ­­people can take a magnifying glass to it like a detective and interrogate each word. We have to back up and defend what we write due to its permanence in the objective world.

A blank page is the blank day we might have ahead of us on our schedules, lucky as that is. It is another stomach waiting to be fed. We must really listen to know when it’s hungry and what it craves. A blank page is the emptiness any creative person feels before starting the project. This emptiness will persist, and therefore the creativity will live on. This satisfies the “logic of the fit,” ­­the model of the universe which states that no being exists as a solitary unit, everything is completed by its complementary part. And so, the blank pages keep turning as long as we are brave.

Melanie Falconer is a freelance writer and editor living in Los Angeles, California. Her writing mainly concerns philosophy, personal experiences, cultural commentary, and her love of the visual and performing arts. If you’d like to reach out to her, you can do so here.

Semantic Drifting: The complex journey of a word's meaning through time.

Semantic Drifting: The Story of the Word “Silly”

Semantic Drifting

Did you know the girl used to refer to both sexes? Or that awful meant even more awesome than awesome (some awe vs. full of awe)? Your brain in a choke hold right now? You can thank semantic drift. Semantic drift, a linguistics term, is the way words change meaning in their lifespan. There are many ways they do this, which are processes called wideningnarrowingmetaphormetonymysynendochedegeneration, and a few others (though they have not all been decided upon in the linguistics community).

Silly, right?

Silly is an example of degeneration–the gradual worsening of the meaning. At the beginning of the 13th century, silly was spelled “sely” and meant “happy, blissful, blessed.” It was derived from the noun, selth which meant “well-being” (as opposed to unselth which meant “misery”).  The word took on more religious meanings as “happy” people were seen as “taken care of by good.” The meaning of sely thus narrowed into: “spiritually blessed,” which also implied “innocent.”

Now, there’s that other flip side of “innocence”. When you’re innocent, you need to be taken care of. You’re dependent and can’t think of yourself. You’re kind of… stupid. This was the birth of its modern meaning–beginning in the 1500s, sely was pronounced in the contemporary fashion as “silly” and meant: “lacking good sense, empty-headed, senseless, foolish.” Sound a little crazy?

Indeed, “this is the silliest stuff that ever I heard”(1595, Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

Moments of Impact: Being the Monster in Mindhunter

Moments of Impact: Being the Monster in Mindhunter

Moments of Impact

Spoiler alert: If you are planning on watching Mindhunter, do not read this article. It contains spoilers from the season finale. And if you haven’t watched it yet, WTF are you doing?

America loves serial killers. Our culture has gone to great lengths to glamorize them: DexterHannibal, and now, apparently, Mindhunter. But Mindhunter does more than cartoonify or dress up serial killers with campy killing styles: the new hit Netflix show follows an FBI investigation into the killer’s motivations for their crimes, launched by the show’s protagonists, Agent Ford and Agent Tench. They mirror our simultaneous disgust and endless fascination with “killer psychology.”

Mindhunter climaxes in the season one finale with its essential premise: how far do we pursue our curiosity into the mind of a ‘monster’ without discovering a piece of ourselves?

Playing the Part

An actor’s responsibility is to bridge the gap between them and their character. They do this by researching them, knowing what they want, and why they want it–the motivations behind their actions. Agent Ford is really asking himself what many actors do when preparing a role–the “magic if.” What if I lived inside the life and mind of a serial killer? (By the end of the season, he gets his answer.)

To get serial killers to open up, Agent Ford mirrors them and tries to “wear” their psychologies like a new skin, an actor wearing a mask. When talking to Richard Speck, a typical country macho who murdered eight women in one night, Agent Ford starts with this: “I mean, you were really robbing us of eight hot, fresh cunts.” Agent Tench looks on with disdain, noting the recording was paused for Ford’s performance. Everyone grows concerned by how good of an “actor” Ford is turning out to be. What does his rapport with them say about Ford and the way he thinks?

Agent Ford is dangerously curious (and aren’t we for watching?). His desire for knowledge blinds him. Ford can manipulate and charm like a sociopath and disregards society’s expectations of him in his unconventional psychological methods, much as a serial killer has done away with society all together. In Agent Ford’s role play, he has integrated a part of the serial killer in himself.

The Human Condition and Our Desire to Reject Society

We all have destructive impulses. It’s human. As I referred to in other posts, Carl Jung proposed society conditions us to repress aggressive, at times sadistic, impulses that would tear its fabric. Society teaches us to be considerate of others, tolerant, and to sacrifice complete self-concern (and despite the number of assholes in America, they could never run their own society). But even if these impulses are hidden, they are there. They’re a part of the human condition.

Now, that isn’t to say we have a part of ourselves that’s a serial killer waiting to jump out of the bushes at any moment. But that is to say we all know a part of ourselves we’ve had to bury because of fear of punishment, rejection, or exile. Even if some of our normal, natural emotions contain an element of sadism, like jealousy or rage.

Agent Ford has a morbid fascination and curiosity that he steadily allows to surface throughout the first season. It’s the kind of curiosity that would be met with a punitive side glance or slap to the hand if he were a child. Edmund Kemper, one of the serial killers he talks to, speaks frankly about his killings, saying: “Got to get that young pussy before it turns into mom.” You can see Ford begin to back reel in awe. He uses this same line in another interrogation. Word for word.

When we hear of the unleashed sadistic acts that serial killers commit, there is an odd reverence for their “bravery” (they are, by some accounts, our new superheroes). The reverence doesn’t come for the act itself–but more for the total expulsion of society’s norms, which can be our greatest savior, but at times an omnipresent cell. In Ford’s case, he rejects the conventions of FBI conduct, gaining more bravado as the investigation continues. He feels liberated, empowered. But his own “bravery” has led his partners and girlfriend to shun him completely.

Mindhunter asks: should Ford be punished so severely for his shamelessness? How can we accept serial killers as humans like ourselves?

“Moments of Impact” is an original Falcon Post series dedicated to when experiences, culture, philosophy, and psychology find a meeting point, producing finely-tuned revelations. I hope you have one moment of impact every week. 

Melanie Falconer is a freelance writer and editor living in Los Angeles, California. Her writing mainly concerns philosophy, personal experiences, cultural commentary, and her love of the visual and performing arts. If you’d like to reach out to her, you can do so here.

Moments of Impact: Logan's Shadow of Innocence

Moments of Impact: Logan’s Shadow of Innocence

Moments of Impact

Note: This article will contain many spoilers if not divulge the entire contents of the film ‘Logan.’ If you have not yet seen it, what are you doing and hurry up already.

Logan‘s bare and dystopian setting in 2029 America fits the defeated and remorseful man at the center of the film: once the infamous Wolverine, now known as Logan. In the former movies, the conflict centered around the X-Men and enormous external obstacles. Logan is not bereft of sensationalism; it is soaked in blood and ripe with up-close and personal mutilated bodies. Although horrific, this does not match the horror of the grief eating away at Logan, now a holed-away alcoholic limo driver who will clearly meet his end soon. His healing powers are degenerating and valleys of age are carved in his face.

The movie’s central question is not which bad guy Logan has to take down, but instead: what is Logan reckoning with? What is the nature of his suffering?

Logan’s character arc overlaps with many aspects of Jungian psychology, namely the process of individuation and harmonizing our “shadow” selves with what we project to the world, our “persona.” In more fleshed out terms:

According to Jung, the “persona” constitutes the person that the individual projects to the social world. The “shadow” encompasses everything that the conscious represses, including all desires deemed different and rejected by the individual’s social standards. The individuation process starts with a person becoming aware of his/her shadow.

A “persona” is a mask, our superhero suit, our work clothes, that act as a display for others. A persona is “performance,” and a large percentage of it is made up of what we learned as “good” from society’s expectations of us. Our “shadow” is what’s cast behind this wall. It’s what repulses others (or what we think would repulse others) such as destructive, immoral, and shameful impulses, memories, and deeds. They lie waiting whether we know they are there or not.

At the beginning of the film, Logan is grappling with the persona that he’s created for the world and his destructive impulses. In the first scene, he is passed out drunk in the front of his luxury car with some gangsters outside prying the rims off. The confrontation escalates and ends with their heads and limbs on the ground, Logan standing alone in the dust, claws bare and soaked in blood. Even in his old and weary state, the world keeps drawing out the violent impulses he tries to keep inside; the ones he wishes were cast behind him. He ends the night with a bottle of vodka, staring at a poison-lined bullet, the only bullet that can kill him in one blow. He has succumb to drinking, isolation, contemplation of suicide, unaware of any other purpose than to be a killer.

A more troubling question crops up: while the rest of us project personas that are “good,” polite, funny, kind etc., Logan’s case is complicated by the the world demanding he be a violent, ruthless killer. Logan reverses Jung’s dynamic: his shadow is fronted and extracted from him, while any positive impulses to the contrary, unifying desires for human connection, goodness, and love, have been repressed. The point of his life that Logan begins with represents an atomic neutralization between his running away from his shadowy persona and his complete inability to be anything else. He can’t be a force for good. He has no family or friends left So he is forced to be an observer of his life, doing his best to be nothing.

This changes when Laura is introduced, who turns out to be his biological daughter with identical powers as his. Laura is one of the many mutant children soldiers recently created by Transigen. The experiment failed as the children rebelled, either killing themselves or trying to escape, some successful, others exterminated. One of the nurses manages to bring Laura to Logan in hopes that he might transport her safely to a sanctuary called “Eden,” located on the border of Canada, where the other children mutants are supposed to meet.

Although Laura is feral and tainted by her traumatic beginnings, she is, in a language of metaphor, Logan’s “promise:” in Jungian terms, the “child,” the familial archetype that represent “beginnings, promise, and salvation.” She has the potential to bring out the qualities Logan has long repressed: kindness and empathy. Throughout the entire film, Logan resists against this. Initially, he doesn’t acknowledge Laura is his daughter, saving Professor Xavier from Transigen agents and abandoning her with her bowl of cereal to fend for herself. Yet when he decides to save her and bring her to Eden, he shows tempered affections, buying her new things and giving her careful, almost fatherly, instructions. But he can’t let any love come to the surface.

Logan showing paternal discipline
Logan showing some paternal discipline to Laura, who’s just assaulted a gas station cashier!

This is made glaringly clear at the climax of the film. While Logan, Laura, and Professor Xavier make their arduous journey towards Eden, they run into a loving family, the Munsons, that gets stuck on the side of the road. They’re invited in for dinner and to stay the night, which is one of the most heart-warming scenes of the film as you catch a glimpse at what these mutant superheroes would be like if they had a regular, calm life together.

Logan, Professor Xavier, and Laura stop for the night at the Munsons and have a warm family dinner.
Logan, Professor Xavier, and Laura stop for the night at the Munsons and have a warm family dinner.

Transigen catches up with them and unleashes X-24, a malicious and violent clone of Wolverine, who looks exactly like Logan. X-24 is all of Logan’s violence and rage condensed into one dastardly efficient killing machine. It is all of the evil that Transigen wished to instill in Logan’s heart, the persona that Logan has tried to shed, and the reason why he could never embrace Laura with open arms. And it should come to no surprise that X-24 kills the Munsons in a heartbeat. X-24 then captures Laura.
At the beginning of the film, Logan was all too ready to give up on Laura, his “promise.” Now, he saves Laura at the risk of his own life.

Had Logan and his newfound daughter escaped and found a sanctuary for themselves, he may have completed the process of “individuation,” a term coined by Jung. According to Jung, individuation is the most important part of our lives; it’s when we’ve reconciled our shadow selves with our personas. Maybe in a different world, Logan and Laura could salvage some kind of relationship. Maybe in this world, Logan could discover an innocence, purity, and kindness that he has been forced to cast behind him because it was too threatening. Maybe, he could finally negotiate between his life full of bloodshed and a kinder, more loving self that was waiting for him all along. But in a world where an insidious, powerful corporation wants him dead, no such sanctuary really exists. Not for him.

At the end of the film, Logan fights X-24 with very little strength left in him. He’s trying to stave it off from the army of children mutant soldiers and save Laura’s life. Laura watches hopelessly, searching for any way to save him. She remembers the bullet with the special poison, the one Logan had almost used on himself that she stole from him in secret, finds a gun, and shoots X-24—but not before it puts Logan on the stake of a fallen tree.

For the last moments of his life, Logan witnesses the death of his darkness, and the promise of the future triumph. Logan warns Laura to break away from what the world wants to make her. And for the first time, he admits he knows what love truly feels like as he holds on to her hand and passes quietly.

Laura wanders forward with her fellow mutants. She runs towards the falling light of day, into the mountains and over the border, confused, but having seen a potential future for herself, one full of remorse and ambiguity. Only at his death, and really, the death of X-24, was Logan able to know love. Maybe Laura will not let this fall with the sun. Maybe, it will survive the darkness of the night and into the new day.

Logan's Grave
Logan’s Grave

Melanie Falconer is a freelance writer and editor living in Los Angeles, California. Her writing mainly concerns philosophy, personal experiences, cultural commentary, and her love of the visual and performing arts. If you’d like to reach out to her, you can do so here.

Moments of Impact: Metaphors in Language

Moments of Impact: Metaphors in Language

Moments of Impact

In our last moment of impact, we discussed “modals,” words that express potential worlds beyond our own. These words beg us to look beyond what is known and fall into a divine dreaming. At least once or twice a day, we should let the shoulds, coulds, and mights hypnotize, empower, and enlighten us.

As much as language is a tool for us to crack things open, it sets limits. Language is, if anything, a compromise. There’s a reason why you understand everything I’m saying: we have all agreed that these words refer to the same thing. You don’t have to fight it, and you shouldn’t; please don’t try to make red into blue, bananas into apples, or your aunt into your dog. There are objects in our world that language needs to capture; otherwise, why would we bother?

Yet there are subtle and insidious linguistic agreements we make that don’t express simply objective truths, but cultural truths. These truths are not necessary to the truths of language. They are ingrained metaphors in our culture that are expressed in language. George Lakoff and Mark Johnson refer to these as “the metaphors we live by.”

In Metaphors We Live By, Lakoff and Johnson mention one such metaphor in American culture:

It is important to see that we don’t just talk about arguments in terms of war. We can actually win or lose arguments. We see the person we are arguing with as an opponent. We attack his positions and we defend our own. We gain and lose ground. We plan and use strategies. If we find a position indefensible, we can abandon it and take a new line of attack. Though there is no physical battle, there is a verbal battle…It is in this sense that the ARGUMENT IS WAR metaphor is one that we live by in this culture.1

I was reminded of this when I was out drinking with a friend the other day. We argued quite a bit about a little bit of everything: sports, writing, reading, relationships, gossip, and more. When he apologized for bickering and appeared genuinely ashamed, it was then I realized that for as much hype as competition gets in America, we still view it as a bad thing. It’s a thing to be avoided. It causes discomfort and hostility. It will always position one person against the other.

Why?

Argument is war.

I don’t think we need more arguments. Especially the kind we see on CNN or worse, Twitter and other social media platforms. I think there is something fundamentally wrong with setting conflicts in battle grounds. Lakoff and Johnson mention the fact that other languages use verbs like “grasping” or “meeting” instead of “winning” or “destroying” when they refer to arguments (an instance of metaphor variation). The word “argue” a couple of centuries ago used to mean something closer to “make clear” (arg meaning shine, clear, brighten).2

One should tread caution with the metaphors we live by. They define and contain. But once we see them, we can re-frame and liberate ourselves from oppressive cultural yoke in search of clarity and higher moral ground.

Footnotes

1. Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago, Ill.: U of Chicago, 2011. Print.
2. Online Etymology Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.

“Moments of Impact” is an original Falcon Post series dedicated to stop-in-your-track moments. It’s when the daily routine becomes jarred, experiences, knowledge, and emotions find a meeting point, producing a revelation that you could sit in your chair pondering for hours like David Bowie in the Labyrinth. I personally hope that I have at least one moment of impact a week. Indeed, this is a weekly series. 

Melanie Falconer is a freelance writer and editor living in Los Angeles, California. Her writing mainly concerns philosophy, personal experiences, cultural commentary, and her love of the visual and performing arts. If you’d like to reach out to her, you can do so here.

Moments of Impact: “What If” Instead of “What Is”

Moments of Impact

There are “dream words” in the English language. While words like “are” and “is” presents facts, we also have words called “modals” that comment on how reality should, could, or might be. Maybe we concern ourselves too much with what “is” because our immediate truths are our way of reconciling and surviving in what’s always so coldly presented as the “real world.” Our culture, American culture, is so competitive that to look at anything else other than the other rat racing right ahead of you seems nonsensical, if not deadly. The shoulds, mights, and coulds of life get lost. Daydreaming becomes useless. They have no use because they just don’t “get you anywhere.”

But isn’t daydreaming, thinking of how things could be different, what might or should be true, what makes us human? Daydreaming is said to involve the prefontal cortex, one of the last but differentiating parts of our mind to develop in our evolutionary history. If we look past empiricism for a moment and take a tour of Plato’s idealism, which proposes that humans are ever aware of a perfection that doesn’t exist in the real world, we find that we were almost born to be dreamers. I mean, if we’re made of the stuff of stars (which is pretty darn magical), wouldn’t it make sense that we would look towards them now and again?

I’m thinking I might launch a daydream once a day using one of our modals. Instead of thinking about the jobs, the tasks, the interviews I have to go to, the worries about how things are, maybe I’ll ask myself: “What could happen if someone spontaneously burst into song? What might this kind of character do on the bus I’m riding right now?” Just as daydreaming is said to heighten innovative parts of our mind, it may help me create new paths off the track we’re all running in. The stuff of stars is real; the light it gives off is divine.

“Moments of Impact” is an original Falcon Post series dedicated to stop-in-your-track moments. It’s when the daily routine becomes jarred, experiences, knowledge, and emotions find a meeting point, producing a revelation that you could sit in your chair pondering for hours like David Bowie in the Labyrinth. I personally hope that I have at least one moment of impact a week. Indeed, this is a weekly series. 

Melanie Falconer is a freelance writer and editor living in Los Angeles, California. Her writing mainly concerns philosophy, personal experiences, cultural commentary, and her love of the visual and performing arts. If you’d like to reach out to her, you can do so here.