Social Question

Blackberry's avatar

Why do we escape from reality?

Asked by Blackberry (31067points) May 5th, 2010

I don’t have the time at the moment to think of a perfect way to say this, but I hope you guys will understand what I am trying to say anyways.

What are some of the reasons we escape reality? For example, maybe some understand reality is a harsh place and need something to cope. Watching T.V. or playing videogames, or collecting that rare stamp lets us feel in control of something at least because at times we feel like we are just a pinball being bounced around.

How do you feel when you escape reality? Do you think of it in this way? Or is whatever you do just another random activity to accomplish something trivial or waste time until you have to go back to that textbook or go back to work?

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27 Answers

CMaz's avatar

It is simply just a change up. I break from the routine.
I feel good, but I have to keep in touch with my self control.

I have burned a few weekends “escaping from reality.”

Berserker's avatar

Because reality sucks.

Or, more intricately, it might depend on the person, and the methods they use may be attributed to said reason. Becoming a junky or an alcoholic as opposed to emulating a semblance of order in one’s otherwise chaotic life through organization and precision is different.

I do the latter a lot, and this reflects itself in most of my hobbies and all, but it doesn’t seem to be enough, so I also like to suck off bottles of beer just about every night haha.

poofandmook's avatar

lately for me it’s been a necessity more than just wanting to. I was going downhill fast and came pretty close to losing it a few times. So for me I say defense mechanism.

DominicX's avatar

It completely depends. It isn’t necessarily just about “life sucks, so I want to get away”. Sometimes it’s more about the difference between a fictional world and the real world. Sometimes the world in a Stephen King novel is more interesting than what’s going on around you. It isn’t necessarily about “escape” as much as it’s about visiting another world for a while. And why not? Why can’t we have fun with expanding our “reality” or playing with it for a little while?

In fact, some of things that others may see as an “escape” is really just another facet of reality. Playing music, listening to music, going outdoors, these are things people use to “escape from reality”, but to me it’s just another facet of reality that happens to be very enjoyable and refreshing.

ETpro's avatar

You can’t really escape from reality. All you can do is distract yourself enough to ignore it at your own peril—because the next looming threat in the real world keeps right on chugging along to run you over whether you pay it any mind or not.

PacificToast's avatar

I try not to escape from reality, but I think others may do it because reality, any way you slice it, hurts. And sometimes it may hurt so much you just can’t take it anymore. I think it’s more of an escape from pain rather than reality itself.

DominicX's avatar


And why is that? Why do we see reality as overall negative as opposed to positive?

I’m not saying that’s how I feel, but evidently, a lot of people do. But I also don’t think that every time someone watches TV, it’s to “escape from pain”.

PacificToast's avatar

@DominicX I’m not saying that escaping reality is escaping from pain all the time. Enjoying television programs can go either way. I watch TV when I’m happy lots of times. I probably came across the wrong way. I apologize. My opinion in that post is only relevant to the negative sides of reality. I think the positive sides of reality are less of an escape, and more of just loving life itself.

Thammuz's avatar

I speak for myself here, but i’d say: because reality is ultimately boring.

Think about it: how many times have you been involved in something that actually thrilled you? I have very rarely been.

And i don’t mean “oh, this is fun” thrilled, i mean the pure thrill of adrenaline: terror, rage, passion, bloodthirst, all the primal emotions our life is so scarcely providing nowdays, can be easily found just a joypad/RPG manual/TV remote/comic book/book away. It’s just a way to fill the void that modern life has left.

Blackberry's avatar

@DominicX For me personally, it is similar to what Pacific said, but I do feel that all the bad stuff that happens in reality is a little overwhelming sometimes. I think this is because I sometimes intentionally concentrate on the negative things because we all see things as problems that need to be solved. And of course we can’t solve all the problems, so it’s frustrating and we need a break?

Blackberry's avatar

@Thammuz I agree to an extent. I know what you mean.

Ron_C's avatar

I get on my bike and find paths that are seldom used. With luck I won’t see anyone but my dog for the whole day.

Ponderer983's avatar

The onyl way one can escape reality is by dieing. If you escape “reality” as you mean it, you are still in the reality of your life. Now if you are talking about escaping from the tough parts of life and not caring about them for a while, that’s a different story.

faye's avatar

I have a lot of pain in my reality so something that grabs my attention is so much a pleasure! It is a welcome escape- fluthering being one of them!

Ron_C's avatar

@faye I agree. I once had a blood clot in my leg and the pain was unrelenting. They couldn’t get me enough drugs to even reduce the pain. I looked for anything to take my mind off the pain. Since I wasn’t allowed to move I used some audible books to take my mind off the pain. It worked a little and helped me tough it out until they found the right combinations of drugs to let me sleep. Even 5 minutes of diversion helped.

faye's avatar

I love audio books!

Ron_C's avatar

@faye I have over 250 downloaded. I joined when it was just starting out. It sure makes long drives and 18 hour airplane rides easier.

faye's avatar

Ha, I just joined them!

Ron_C's avatar

@faye you should have told me.. I think we both could have gotten a discount or extra credit if I had recommended them to you.

Ron_C's avatar

I had Spanish lessons on tape that I listened to when I drove. I missed a couple exits and almost had an accident so I had to stop using them. I am afraid that I can only concentrate on one thing at a time.

wundayatta's avatar

Look, if you know how to escape reality, I’d really love to hear your secret. I’ve never been able to manage that trick. Somehow, I find, reality is everywhere I look. Even my fantasies are real fantasies.

I think we dream so we can imagine a better future. If we can imagine it, we can try to make it happen. But pay not attention to me. I’m just a figment of your imagination.

poofandmook's avatar

@wundayatta: You’ve never been lost in a movie or TV show, or an activity of some type, when the outside world didn’t exist for a little while and all that existed was just what was in front of you?

Ron_C's avatar

@wundayatta I escape on a regular basis. I think it has something to do with being single minded. For instance, when I am troubleshooting a problem, all of the background noise and clutter disappears. I usually jump with surprise when people break my concentration. When I am biking, I get into a zone. All problems disappear and I am only aware of the immediate environment enough to avoid going off the trail into the river.

I think there is some sort of self hypnosis involved. I have gone as far as 30 miles and don’t remember getting there.

Reality is still there and if you are too far out of it you get run over by a car or a bear (depends on the trail). I find these brief escapes to be calming and gratifying. I get a real rush fixing a problem with a process or control system. I guess the old saying that if your job is what you love, you never work a day in your life.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Sorry to be Debbie Downer all the time, but reality sucks most of the time. It’s enjoyable to get lost in stuff, to forget about worries and the weight of the world. I find it pleasurable.

wundayatta's avatar

@poofandmook and @Ron_C Oh. You guys mean a very strong focus on something that excludes awareness of all else. Gotcha.

Why do we do it? Because it helps us learn things more effectively. If your attention is distracted, it’s harder to remember things and you lose track of the continuity of the material you are focusing on.

I guess you can call it an “escape from reality” but that’s just a metaphor for focusing your attention and excluding other things. Whatever you are focusing on is just as real as anything else—even if it is a dream. Dreams are real.

Silhouette's avatar

Reality can be pretty friggin bleak sometimes. I’m a realest, I don’t really think of my past time activities as escape from reality, I think of them as fillers. I like to stay busy, keeps me healthy and happy.

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