The Realism of Escapism

To escape is to create a safe haven for the perturbed minds and souls yearning for a different reality, but when do we need to snap back to the truth from our imagination?

Shirley Jackson in her book said, “No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.” Through Alice we were taught that “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.” These words of wisdom resonate far and wide; for, the realms of truth can be bitter and harsh, and it is a coping mechanism of the mind to resort to ideas which provide the cushion of comfort. To be able to pursue the pleasures of distraction and engage in the happiness of fanaticism is what an escapist seeks, and to evade from the emotional turmoil of our hearts is what an escapist needs.

The aesthetically pleasing movies, the heart-engrossing books, and the time-warp periods of daydreaming are the portals to a different you, and that’s endearing. The vexations and sometimes overwhelming aspects of life are minimised through this, giving you the freshness and strength to get back at the troubles with a recharged dose. However, the excess of anything is deemed to be perverse, and so goes for the issues of the mind. The theories of Economics oddly fit the gaps of this puzzle; for like the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility states, the more we invest ourselves into the realm of escapism, the more its value and advantages disappear into delusion. Think of escapism like chilli flakes or oregano on your pizza. You can sprinkle it on the top to savour and relish the taste, but too much of it will ruin the whole thing.

The indulgence in a different space, in enjoyment or indifference, can be instrumental only to a certain degree. Resorting to a hobby can transport you into a dimension of relaxation and give you the time you need to cope with the uninvited eventfulness. But the other times, the human mind fails to distinguish between escapism and avoidance, and everything is then ignored in the name of ‘distraction.’ It can hinder parts of your life in ways incomprehensible. So often do the bifurcations of right and wrong fade away into shades of grey, and in a similar fashion does the minute line between these two entities becomes consciously irrelevant.

Stop. Ask yourselves: How to wake up from that dream we would like to live every day? Transcend the ideas of fun from the confines of our mind to the stretches of real life experiences. There’s so much to do, so much to explore. Moments are limited, cherished, and yearned for; and to live in the moment is one of the greatest joys of life. With the fact that one wishes to ‘escape’ work, love, or life in general, it becomes monumental to ask yourself why. Why the need to hide away from the perturbing parts of life? The ‘whys’ and ‘whats’ need to be answered before its late, for the defence mechanism we so conveniently employ can only shield us from the monochromes of life for so long. Maybe, what’s harsh and bitter doesn’t need to be stressful and disconcerting; they are just renditions of unhappiness which your escape mode constructs. The mind is fascination and beautiful, but the vastness and depth of your untampered vision are what makes all the difference.

In the words of Haruki Murakami, “Closing your eyes isn’t going to change anything. Nothing’s going to disappear just because you can’t see what’s going on. In fact, things will even be worse the next time you open your eyes. That’s the kind of world we live in. Keep your eyes wide open. Only a coward closes his eyes. Closing your eyes and plugging up your ears won’t make time stand still.”