Eternal kiss You know they're just actors. It's fiction, after all. They're not really in love. Nonetheless, many, many people closely guard memories of their favorite screen kisses, proxies for embraces they wish were their own.

Not you? Perhaps you're more of the heroic type. Perhaps you imagine yourself clipping the red wire four seconds before detonation. No doubt the batteries in your walkie-talkie are long since dead, and you're unable to get help from the demolition experts back at HQ.

Not quite right? Did you see yourself as the girl with the winning piano performance in front of a hostile audience? Did you see your teenage nemesis grudgingly stand with respect when you took your bow?

Fiction gives us raw material for vital thought experiments, while simultaneously presenting us with a forked decision tree. The fictional circumstances into which we project ourselves offer distraction and respite from day to day realities. That means they can either become permanent blindfolds as we're never going to find ourselves with orchestral scores rising behind our actions, or they can show us constructive alternatives to the lives we're already leading. How we imagine ourselves will always be the first step in creating selves capable of living lives we value.

Not every thought experiment needs to be a positive, constructive one. The safety of fictional experimentation can serve as safety valves so that we don't traffic with dangerous trade. Simultaneously, it is precisely because of fictional invention and experimentation we may discover ways to remake our immediate present and long term futures.

The the rain falling around our leads is rarely cold in a Hollywood screen kiss, just as the grime covering the police officer's face when he snips the bomb wire always looks stylishly rogue. It's not necessary to aspire to last minute rescues or endless romantic clinches, but as a viewer you still have a choice. You can let these images bounce off your retinas, eternally imprinted as lives you will never lead, or you can choose to transform them into metaphors, by which they may come to influence some momentary, vital moment when your own life requires depth of feeling or decisive action. And if there's one thing you know, everyone in the entire world will be called upon at one time or another to make a vital decision or clarify a deep feeling.

Here's looking at you, Kid.


PS -- Yes, yes, here's where the good people of 1AU ask our dear readers to share what you've read with friends and colleagues. And here's the place where you think, "Oh, sure, one more imposition of my precious time." Well, we're asking. It's something we value above rubies, above gold: if you like an idea enough to give it a moment's thought, then consider giving it a measure of freedom. When you share an idea with another person, you release an idea to grow freely in the world. Like what you see? Set it free.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe in a reader