Tuesday, August 01, 2006

When we insulate OR It's Not A River In Egypt

I directed my first play when I was in the fifth grade. The other director who was helping me explained something about directing, he said, “Everything that you do as a director or actor is based on choice. And, you are able to choose from whatever abilities and gifts that you have been given and skills you have developed and experiences you have learned from and taken with you. Hopefully, you will make choices that move and affect people who are watching your work.”

Subsequently, the idea of choice has always been an interesting one to me. I try to be a student of human behavior. And, what fascinates me time and time again (and something I've been thinking a lot about lately) is how well we are at lying to ourselves and escaping to a place where we create reality.

Escapism allows us to indulge ourselves more than we should. In a lesser form, I would put off a project at work, uncomfortable conversation with a friend or paper in college. But escapism can also be very dangerous in our relationships. We cling to little ideas or hopes and miss the larger picture. We make ourselves believe that something is what it isn’t or isn’t what it really is.

I have seen people close to me go through this dance time and time again. They tell themselves what they had was more than it really was. They ignored the reality of the relationship, of how that person was acting or what things would be like if they continued on the present course. And, despite the fact that the truth of it had always been there, they are able to insulate themselves so deep that it feels like a total shock when suddenly the reality forces itself on them.

And, partly it hurts because something you love is irreparably broken, but it’s also because you’ve known for a long time and only now can admit it.

Circle V Note: Per usual with my little blog, this has nothing to do with me, my friendships or any particular relationship, I've just been seeing this more and more lately and thought I'd finally post about it.


Blogger nick d said...

good call V. It seems that escapism is one of those habits or idenities that cross cultures and generations. Many people I know have families that live in a fake reality where everything is based on what they "think" it is. Not what is really going on.

I think that this is true for so many people in government, positions of power, religions, and helps cause so many problems we have today.

However without the escaping from reality, to one's own chosen real time life, people would crash so hard, you would wonder if they could pick themselves back up.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Protagoras said...

Denial is a coping mechanism. Reality generally sucks. Or, it's really boring. We have such ideals about what we think our lives should be like - if we can't escape/deny we would probably all be crushed with depression.

I've also started believing we have less free will than we think we have - DNA is mighty powerful and instict and reaction play a much greater role in our decision-making than I think most people realize. We're such lonely people, and it's drilled into our little heads (and into our DNA) that love is romantic and fulfilling and getting married and having kids is the most important thing you can do. Too many won't face reality because they can't stand to be alone, to have to start the search all over again.

11:28 AM  
Blogger V said...

Nick: That's true, but I think part of the reason they crash so hard is the reality that they have known deep down all along--I'm not saying it's preventable, but it does make things worse.

Protag: Exactly, and it's difficult to stop yourself from slipping into denial, it's a great temporary fix--

12:02 PM  
Blogger KassyK said...

Going through it as we speak. Not fun. I always thought I was so honest with myself but escapism can go so deep that you do not even have any idea that you are doing it until it feels like BOOM its out of nowhere but in reality--it was there all along. Unfortunately for me the escapism was on the other persons side and only now have THEY realized it and I am the one hurt. Life is an enigma sometimes. Great post.

12:37 PM  
Blogger V said...

Kassy: Sorry you are going through some stuff right now, things will get better, you can be sure of that though.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

Denial is what keeps the dogs of war at bay, at least until the dogs are big enough to snap the leash. Then all that's left to do is count the bodies.

Denial is what shapes federal monetary policy, after the gold standard. Hell, monopoly money will work for a few more years.

Denial is going to bite the baby boomers in their fat asses.

Denial makes life pretty fucking interesting.

Then again just forget denial. Institute the "fuck it bucket" policy. You'll live longer, and Monty Python will seem much funnier. "Always look on the bright side of life" :-)

12:56 PM  
Blogger nick d said...

Thats a great idea sean :)

Isn't Home Depot having a sale on those?

12:58 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I think it's just human nature to see the world as we want to see it. Those rose-colored glasses always obscure the real shit!

1:54 PM  
Blogger Living in Dupont said...

Sean: that little bit of yours was a smile in the middle of a very long work day.

V: Well said. I know what it's like to go through what you wrote here, took me a year of continued denial when a wedding was cancelled (you'd think that would have been enough of a reality check, eh?). But you're right, it does get easier, and eventually you can look at it all and say "wow, that's a mighty impressive imagination I have there".

2:21 PM  
Anonymous bill said...

As Kassy says, and I have experienced though not so recently, we all are very good (without wanting to be) at selective interpretation. We see in others what we want to see, and being forced to face reality can be extremely painful. Worse, we see (and represent) ourselves as what we want to be. Sometimes we pretend to be more mature. Sometimes to be less vulnerable. Unintentionally we hurt ourselves and others. But how can we avoid it? And should we? As Nick D says, if we didn't attempt things of which we "realistically" are not capable, and sometimes succeed, wouldn't life be dull? Don't we all need a bit of Don Quixote in us?

5:00 PM  
Blogger Maime said...

nice disclaimer cunt bag...

9:25 PM  
Blogger JoJo said...

Wow, V. Though I know this post wasn't aimed at anyone in particular but after reading this I'm gonna have to do some deep thinking about my current situation with certain people in my life.

5:45 PM  

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