Liberty Heights

with Adrien Brody

Viewed March 16, 2002

This vignette of life in a 1954 Jewish family in Baltimore triggered all the questions below, but the only ones we really discussed were Questions 5 and 6. We just got fascinated with fantasy vs. reality, denial vs. truthfulness, cheating vs. honesty. We questioned why we continue to ignore the truth even when the truth is staring us in the face. Someone told the story of a friend who knew on some level that her husband was having an affair, but wasn't able to admit it to herself.

We realized that denial keeps us from dealing effectively with life, but at the same time it feels like it protects us from the unpleasant reality that we don't want to see or admit to. So it FEELS like it's keeping us safe, even though it often actually subjects us to more difficulty.

In addition to apparently protecting us, believing in fantasy also allows us to HOPE when we have no hope. For example, one woman said that she keeps believing in the fantasy of romance because otherwise she'd never have the courage to get into another relationship, since she's kind of convinced that relationships by-and-large suck. If she couldn't fantasize that she could have a satisfying relationship, why would she even try again?

Someone also mentioned that when he'd been in situations where no one was telling the truth, it became hard to tell WHAT was real and what wasn't. The only way he found to deal with that was to take his best guess about what reality was; in other words, fantasy can be our best estimate of what reality is really like.

Here are the questions:


  1. How do I handle struggle in my life and retain my dignity?
  2. How do I honor my own struggle?
  3. How much do I need to be affirmed by others? How much am I affirmed by others?
  4. How strongly do I hold to my values? Where do I draw the line?
  5. At what times have I missed seeing the reality of a situation because I was blinded by the glitter?
  6. Why do I choose to believe in fantasy? What need does it fulfill?
  7. Why do I react so strongly to other people being embarrassed?
  8. How has rejection affected my interactions with others?