The term “in actual fact” contains a strange sort of magic. Meaning the belief that something might be influenced by one’s own wishful thinking, regardless of scientific explanations that prove the opposite.
When we say “in actual fact”, we want to express that things or events should be other than they are. Used in this sense, “actually” is a moral term. Something is not simply there; it is also supposed to follow certain rules. Using the word “actually”, we become magicians. A common state of affairs is being summoned by uttering the word.
„In actual fact“ is a conservative miracle. To con-serve means to save from loss, or to prevent from dying. We save things and events from loss if they have proved their value, either for private or social reasons.
It is pretty obvious why we behave in this way: because, basically, or actually, our brains are lazy. Thinking new things takes more energy. And, like the rest of our body, our brains work as energy efficient as possible.
Therefore, saying „in actual fact“ is actually nothing less than mental laziness. This might well make sense at times. Still, it might be a good idea to be careful on hearing someone use the phrase too often.
(Translated by EG)