Harry Styles's new love with Kendall Jenner important to daydream about

One Direction's Harry Styles and Kendall Jenner - of the Californian Jenner-Kardashian clan - are going out together. They recently went skiing in the resort of Mammoth, California. The conditions were perfect. She's beautiful.

It is so natural to day-dream - even if only for a little while - about Harry Styles's life. Imagine you're nineteen, you are one of the biggest grossing stars on the planet, you have ten million in the bank and much more coming your way, everyone is awed and servile when they meet you, the Prime Minister would take your call (if only you could be bothered to ring him). You could ask anyone out and they would say yes. Your current girlfriend is one of the most attractive women in the world.

Your ex girlfriend was quite nice too.

And there are other people waiting in the wings should things ever not work out in any way.

In the meantime, you travel the world to rapturous receptions. The transport is always easy - and by now the Gulfstream crew know your favourite drinks.

Almost everyone has day-dreams. Yet we don't always feel proud of the fact. Day-dreaming is actively frowned upon in many quarters. It is damned for making us passive. We sit at the computer, clicking on links, imagining our role in One Direction, while those who get places are taking action.

We shouldn't be so hard on ourselves. Day-dreaming is a remarkable achievement. The inventor of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, made an instructive observation about babies and daydreams. Imagine a baby who wakes in the middle of the night. The mother isn't there and it starts crying. It's going to take a few minutes before the mother can come along and see what's the matter. In those few minutes, the baby is alone with its distress. To an adult, it wouldn't seem a long time, but to an infant it could be devastating. In a healthy scenario, the baby is able to imagine the mother being there even when she isn't; the baby fantasises that it's not alone, that things are better than they are. And that can be enough to hold things together for a while. Fantasy comes to the rescue when there aren't better options..

We should take a modest leaf from Freud's insight. Even if our lives are OK, we really are missing out on an awful lot - and we won't ever get them. We're not going to be young and simultaneously have more than enough money to last our entire lives. And very few people we fancy will sleep with us. It would be dishonest to say such things weren't painful.

Day-dreaming is a safety net that stops us going crazy from a sense of missing out. Rather than worrying only about the risks of escapism, we should be equally concerned about what happens when people don't have day-dreams - when they don't look at enough celebrity pictures. The inability to fantasise can lead people to act out, rather than, dream their wishes. In Perth last year, a civil servant wanted to be big shot business man, so he fiddled the government health insurance program and spent millions on champagne, luxury luggage, a fancy apartment and chauffeurs. He was tormented by the demands of his imagination. But instead of day-dreaming harmlessly he became a criminal. Failures of fantasy are a central cause of white collar crime.

Day-dreaming is a problem only when one fantasises about things that are, in fact, within one's grasp. But societies like ours constantly suggest that more is available than is really the case, at which point fantasy becomes a safety valve. It's a frank admission of the goodness and appeal of what one hasn't got. Surrounded by countless visions of lives far more appealing than our own, day-dreaming is a clever way of coping.


The School of Life