The mind is a bird, confined in the cage of the body. Reality is the room in which the cage hangs by an unbreakable chain. The wise bird realizes that the door to the cage is left open, allowing it to roam free whenever it chooses; the timid bird, even if it knows the door is open, seldom ventures outside the cage. As long as the uncaged bird is not so foolish as to fling itself headlong into the solid wall of reality, there is ample room to create its own form of reality.
I choose to live as much as possible outside the cage of my body. It is, of course, important that even while ignoring reality as much as possible, one must never forget that reality does exist and that in any life-and-death struggle between the two, reality inevitably wins.
In keeping with the birds-and-cages analogy, I like to think that most people can be likened to specific species of birds. Probably the majority are members of the sparrow or wren families: quiet, timid, going about their business largely unaware of or unconcerned by the world around them other than its effect on their day-to-day lives. Some are more venturesome; robins, bluejays, macaws, peacocks, or parrots, all with their human equivalents. (Politicians, to my mind, tend to be vultures.) But almost without exception, most people, like most caged birds, are totally unaware of the concept of their cage, and as a result seldom leave them even when they can.
There are those like me who, though aware of the limitations of their cage and the immutable walls of reality beyond, do their best to create their own versions of reality within those walls, tailoring them to fit themselves. I consider myself blessed in that, being a writer spending a good part of every day in the unreality of writing allows me far greater freedom than is afforded most people.
Our minds give us the freedom to believe what we choose to believe, and to create our own little worlds. As long as we do not attempt to forcibly impose them on others, or infringe negatively and unfairly on their rights to do and think what they choose, what is the harm? I am quite sure that my attitudes, beliefs, and ways of looking at and interacting with the world would be considered as strange to others as theirs often do to me. But whatever gives us pleasure and harms no one else is valid.
For example, I think of myself as a complete romantic, and while being gay is not the sum total of who I am, it is a very large and vital part of me. I take comfort in the assumption that every attractive man I encounter in passing is gay--not with any thought that it might benefit me in any physical way, much as I might like it to. That most of them are not gay isn't the point. What I enjoy thinking is. I like the TV show Supernatural. To me, the characters Sam and Dean Winchester are not, as the show claims, brothers, but lovers, and it gives me great--one might say childish--pleasure to imagine them so. I willingly grant them the happiness I wish I had for myself. I most certainly do that in my books. All my favorite movie and TV actors are gay; whether they actually are in real life matters not one whit. I don't, and never will have the chance to, know them personally, so if I choose to think they're gay, then they're gay. Period.
Oh, and if I may be allowed one other human/bird analogy in closing, it is that I sincerely believe that the soul is the song the bird sings.
Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to check out his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1 ).