Prof. Dr. Kemal Arıkan

Imagination and reality

Imagination and reality… Everything starts with a simple reality. Then one imagines something. And finally there is a return to reality. Suddenly one notices that what was imagined has come true! But what if it has not? Then one either calls it disappointment and one moves on, or one remains in the imagined world. The worst case is to be angry with reality and offended, and to hate both worlds.

Imagining is very marked in children. Remember your childhood years and sweet imaginings. Wanting to become a pilot, army commander, wearing a wedding dress, playing doctors… It starts by seeing a wedding, a hospital. Then one imagines. One becomes a bride, a doctor. Look at children’s games, how the imagined world pushes boundaries. Friends object to each other saying: “… that’s not how it’s done!” At that point the imagined is tested. How close and how far it is to reality. In this way perception of reality develops, the difference between the imagined and reality is understood and learned…

In short, in the end you notice that you spent your life trying to make your dreams come true… Some of us enjoyed doing so, others talk about a wasted life!

As you can guess, reality, imaginings and the results that serve to test how close these are to each other play a role in this process. Applause for the artist and attributions for the scientist are pleasant and essential results which serve to test how close the imagined has come to reality… But what if reality is fickle? Being a doctor is a good thing, but what if one day we see a terrible doctor devoid of affection or empathy, or see an army commander whom we imagine would dedicate his life to his country but who is only focused on his own interests? Although being a bride is a happy experience, what if one has become the toy of a paedophile? In more general terms, whilst being honest and hardworking is regarded as the very centre of reality, what happens if uncles, aunts or people of your age say it is not so; if they say that reality is actually “to advance!” through lies and thieving as quickly as possible and with disregard to others; in other words, if the biggest success is to be “predatory”? Would you not get confused about reality and the imagined? Could there be happiness in this state? Especially if one has not received the necessary education to think universally, or does not have the necessary relationship network or materials like books etc, would one not find oneself in total darkness? Would one not get confused as to what is real and what is imagined? Would then not “megalo-ideas” appear to save the world? But if with universal truth your dreams take you onto magnificent oceans… If you are embracing the whole of humanity… Is that not a wonderful feeling which you cannot get enough of?

When the Assistant doctor in Internal Diseases introduced a patient he said: “He has epilepsy in is past history but has not had a fit in two years “. This simple fact triggered my world of imagination. In cirrhosis the ammonia level rises, ammonia travels to the brain neutralising the stimulants (particularly glutamate) and activating the materials that suppress the nerves (particularly GABA). And as an epileptic fit is a state of overstimulation of the nerves the patient does not have epileptic fits. This was a mechanism that was unknown in those years. It was a dream. It was exciting. I conducted various tests to turn this dream into reality. What I felt when ten years later it became apparent that my dream was real in all its details, was pure happiness…

Anyway, as the years pass one comes to understand that the biggest reality is death! A reality that applies to everyone. Maybe the real entrance gate to reality! My wish is that there are many people who appraise us after we are gone…

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