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Escapism versus Reality

This month, February of 2015 is crunch time for me. Some plans and projects might go through or might not go through. Under pressure people have all kinds of reactions. These reactions often end up in escapism or facing reality. I am sometimes torn between escapism and reality.

When I write for the blog it is my compromise to unify escapism and reality. The blog is my window to a different world and yet I still write about what is reality from my perspective. Even then there is more to the relationship between escapism and reality than often meets the eye. The blog is personal at heart.

First the context of escapism can be found in history, namely the practice of torture. According to Wikipedia “Scaphism” is the correct spelling for this Persian torture. In ancient times it was common to use natural elements to carry out sentencing and torture. Wasps like honey and captives smeared in honey who were unable to escape their confinements would meet a prolonged and painful death. The Online Etymology Dictionary gives a good overview of the word “escape.” 

Second the context of reality follows. In general reality is defined by the factual situation as is. Even so, the perception of reality is subjective to the human senses from a human perspective. As such what is defined as “reality” for person A may be different for person B. The Online Etymology Dictionary gives a good overview of the word “reality.”

There is also a catch with “reality.” In the field of scientific research there is objective versus subjective. Objective means measurable and quantifiable. Subjective means less measurable and less quantifiable as human perception is an inherent part of the research process. The more subjective the perception, the more likely it is that there will be a personal bias or preference that can influence the scientific research. A synonym for subjective is sometimes the word “personal.”

Personally I find the objective versus subjective debate a waste of time. There are situations in which either of the two is preferable because of pragmatic reasons. At the same time it is worth noting the complete objectivity is not possible as humans are not machines. Humans are organisms, walking mammals, social beings with a highly evolved physique and highly evolved brains that allow for thinking, feeling, deep processing and creating something new from raw materials. Every person is subjected to his or her environment, the scientific research environment is also an influential environment.

That brings me to the environment. Whether you are in control, partially or not in control at all the choice is always a matter of “yes”, “no” or “maybe.” Something has to be done and you have to make a decision. Each decision has a consequence and sometimes the consequences are an experience that is not pleasant.

When faced with the option between pleasant consequences and unpleasant consequences the choice between reality and escapism becomes relevant. As a child in school classes there was a time when I just kept drawing to stay busy. After some time it actually helped me to concentrate on even the most uninteresting of school courses. After more time drawing became a hobby I would spend hours on because it gave me unlimited freedom in creating something new.

Sometimes the escapist things you do lead to bigger things and trigger something you have not thought of before. It can also happen that an escapism can help you become better at something in the reality of your environment. I started reading because I was frustrated with my environment. I was and am a very curious person and when people did and do not explain why and how I have the urge to find answers. Later in school the urge to look things up and collect valuable information has helped me enormously.

When consequences force you to decide to face reality there are advantages. First of all you have the opportunity to fully understand the situation. Second you can finally make a decision and deal with the current problem. Whether the problem is a quick fix or long-term phased solution, closure and an end are in sight. Third the moment you face reality you have the opportunity to learn and possibly develop into a more experienced person. Experience in life can give a person the intuition and capacity to assess all kinds of situations to avoid certain decisions.

I am sometimes torn between escapism and reality. To escape from reality can be satisfying for a period of time. To face reality can solve all current issues at once and make life completely more fulfilling. Everyday, every waking moment I keep these two choices in mind. “What I want” versus “what I have to do” and the balance is sometimes completely off. Sometimes it hurts to think about escapism versus reality in the exact manner I tend to reason.

Escapism or reality, both are what you make of it…