There’s a name for people like me. I’m an Escapist.

“The definition of an escapist is someone who escapes from reality and retreats into fantasy.”

That’s me. That’s who I am.

I live in a world I’ve built in my head. Suffice to say I have a very active imagination. Meet me in real life and you will never be able to tell that I live a lot of my life in my head; this dream world I escape into so I don’t have to deal with reality. It’s not that my life in real is horrible or not worth living; it’s just a habit I formed as a child when my life really truly was horrible and I just wanted an escape into a life I dreamt up.

The fantasies themselves have changed with time. They’ve grown old with me. They become what I feel I need at the time. Successful job!? BAM! New dream! Head of animation at Pixar?! No big deal! Big ass games designer!? I own the world and am a billionaire. I dream it all whenever I need it. Whenever life seems to become too much to deal with, I retreat into my world. Broken hearts, major life changes, death of friends and loved ones, that’s how I deal with things.

I don’t know if this is normal honestly. Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one who does these things or if the majority of this world in living in a fantasy they’ve all created in their heads that they escape reality by. Or if somewhere in my childhood, I been so damaged that I just stopped living in this world and retreated into the safe haven in my mind where nothing is real except for my fantasy and if everyone goes on living their lives like regular people firmly grounded in reality.

I have a feeling I am not the only one who does this. I mean if you consider it, someone had to coin the term “Escapist” right? So there must be a whole bunch of people out there (if not everyone) who deal with life in the same way?

It’s a lot like the movie Matrix then? Take the red pill and come to terms with the harsh reality of your life sucking by the worlds standards; take the blue pill and remain in your fantasy world. So are we all just living in our own little pods, completely isolated from another by our minds? Or are just some of us isolated from the rest of the world? Is this way of dealing with things the best method of getting through life? People say “You’re not really living life” but then I look at things in another way. I am better at moving on when it comes to things that really damage you. People can’t move on for years from anything that hurts them. Me? I just check out the back door and step into my mind. I think it’s a better way of dealing with difficult situations without self-destruction or destroying everything in your wake. Be it grief. Be it heartbreak. Be it anything that shakes your life’s foundations. I stabilize by checking out and then slowly sliding the door open and dealing with things. Or maybe I just don’t deal with them. Maybe I just shut the lid on them while I’m living my fantasy life and never think about it again. I don’t think repression has really caused me any harm. Except that it’s made me delve deeper into my mind at times.

Is there a right way and a wrong way to live life? There are so many questions. Wish I had someone who would answer some of them.

Doctor Who Life Lessons – Planet of the Oods

Its been years but I’m rewatching Season 4 of Doctor Who, with possibly my favorite version of the Doctor, Ten, and my favorite companion, Donna. And rewatching it really makes me feel like it’s so much more than just a Tv Show, that it had some real underlying seriousness to it that shows what is wrong with our world. That’s what I always loved about the first 4-5 seasons of Doctor Who. They were more than just stories. They had actual life lessons hidden in them.

Planet of the Ood: I watched this episode yesterday and what I learnt was that us humans are blind. We live in our nice protected and sheltered homes, buying our groceries from the supermarket stores, buying branded clothes from stores, and having a really great impression of the human race when fact is that we are indifferent ignorant assholes who don’t see something that’s right in front of our faces because our lives would be really inconvenient if this cruelty that is slavery is taken out of the picture. The story is about Donna being horrified of how the human race has enslaved the Oods in the future and made them into lobotomized servants. And the Doctor reacts by saying “that’s what humans always do” to which Donna protests and he proceeds to say “Who do you think made your clothes?”.

“Who do you think made your clothes?”

Have we ever thought about that? Have we ever stopped to consider that a billion people are just sitting around in factories all day working non-stop, stitching those clothes for you to wear? And not being paid to justify the effort that goes into making every stitch. And going hungry anyway because they can’t make ends meet, are forced to starve and can’t afford to get their kids into school because that would mean that someday the factory people’s kids would someday give our elitist entitled kids competition because they are more capable and know the meaning of hard work. Most of our world is already enslaved to the other half that can afford to buy branded clothes. And we truly do have such a great impression of ourselves and believe all the bull shit that is fed to us.

All of this because without these people slaving away, our lives would be so inconvenient. Would we be willing to give up our branded clothes if the ugly face of slavery reared its head in public? Fact is we like our beautifully packaged end products and would never give up on our life on convenience just because someone in some part of the world is breaking his back to make your life a little easier. We choose to remain ignorant or indifferent rather. Honestly, we could all use a little more inconvenience in our lives but that’s just never going to be the popular opinion. Nothing that really matters will ever be popular opinion. Not world hunger or slavery or global warming. Because that would mean giving up some of the conveniences in our lives. Nope. Not gonna happen. Let’s just continue to love our misguided blinded lives.

More on these two and other episodes later!

Allow Yourself The Uncomfortable Luxury of Changing Your Mind

“Ours is a culture where one of the most embarrassing things is not to have an opinion, so we form our opinions hastily, based on quick impressions and borrowed convictions. It’s so disorienting to simply say, “I don’t know,” but it’s infinitely more rewarding to understand than to be right – even if that means changing your mind.” – Maria Popova

How true is this? Most of us (including me) get into arguments discussing things we don’t know anything about. The other day I had a friend who asked me my opinion on the whole Antman Vs the Wasp controversy. I didn’t know what she was talking about so I asked her to clear my confusion and she said “Oh, you know, there is this big online controversy that the Wasp should have gotten the movie over Antman seeing as the Wasp technically created the Avengers etc.. Just more furthering of the white male supremacy that is becoming the Marvel universe.”

Ok so I don’t have a problem with her opinion. What I do have a problem with is that these “controversies” and “debates”and “issues” and “agendas” and “causes” are not their opinions. These opinions belong to someone else. And that opinion becomes internet famous and then everyone believes that they hold the same opinion or should hold the same opinion or else be labeled a jerk. These opinions become “internet causes” and everyone wants to change the way things are done. Which is fine. As long as your reason for wanting change is because you really care about the problematic situation. Not because of peer pressure. Not because someone somewhere tells you that this is why things are wrong and this is the way you should feel about them. And this is how they need to change. The thing is, these things snowball. Soon everyone is fighting for a cause that they wouldn’t care about before but care about now because it’s cool to have the same opinion as others. I don’t get why internet opinions such as “How about we send half our paycheck to feed starving people in the third world countries” are not more popular. Why are people not willing to stand up for things that REALLY matter by any moral and ethical standard? Why are we stuck with #FirstWorldProblems!? And why do we feel so righteous about these things? We haven’t really solved a huge problem affecting the entire world. We should feel this cool the day we end world hunger.

So there you go. People should start standing up for real issues. Otherwise, I think people just need to say “You know what? I don’t care. It doesn’t particularly bother me. I’m fine with the way things are going in this world and it’s no body’s fault!” if they don’t really care, without having to feel and being viewed as jerks.

And this is just my opinion. Please feel free to disagree.

Death of my Kindle & A Clockwork Orange.

What the F***!?

My poor kindle has gone to shit this past week. It’s funny how delicate my constitution is these days. The slightest disturbance and it blows up into a mini-crisis in my mind and I start to hyperventilate. I didn’t realize that one piece of my peace-of-mind relied on my kindle being always and forever present in case I ever wanted a quick exit from reality.

The minute the kindle screen froze on the screensaver with these funny lines appearing, all hope in my heart died and I went into a depressive phase that lasted about a couple of hours. Usually a very sunny optimistic, problem-solver sort of a person, I felt like my world was crashing around my ears and there was nothing I could do about it. How was I going to unplug and read the 700+ books I had the option of reading at any point in my life!? My best friend had a stroke. Now what was I supposed to do with my life!? No amount of TV could rehabilitate me. Movies weren’t going to pacify me. No other piece of technology could replace the solace that was my kindle.

For once in my life even Google deserted me. I couldn’t find any quick fixes for my situation. I was really in a fix. Apparently the only way to save it would be to either hard reset it or leave it until you drain all of its battery and then turn it on again or some kid on youtube opened up the back of the kindle and fiddled around with it. Well the first option didn’t work. I did open the back of the kindle and try to fiddle around with it (which I put back EXACTLY the way it was supposed to be). I’m banking on the second option. Unfortunately, I had just charged my kindle so it is going to take forever to die. Anyways, here’s hoping. I’m still moping but then I realized that I had an iPad, that I could transfer all my books into and read -_- of course it is going to kill my eyes but no one can stop me from reading!

Anyways, fingers crossed!

So I was reduced to reading books on my iPad. FIIIIIIINE. As long as I was reading SOMETHING SOMEWHERE I guess it didn’t matter. Amazon is surely going to get a hateful call from me soon though. SOooOOooo anyways. I opened up A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and dived into it. Thankfully it was a short book and the pace wasn’t too slow. Of course the language “nadsat” that the main characters in his book tend to use went flying over my head and I had no idea what I was reading. It felt like the time I had decided to give Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver a read. Impossible. I was so tempted to abandon it but like with most books that are difficult to digest, I convinced myself to give it one more page of a read. I didn’t regret it.

I can’t imagine what the book would have been like had it been written in regular language. I guess it wouldn’t have been half as much fun if I didn’t have to put in super amounts of effort into figuring out just what the guy was saying. Unfortunately, the glossary was at the end of the book and I had no idea it existed so it took me forever and a whole lot of assumptions on my part to understand the book. I guess the whole confusing lingo of the book was one of the main reasons why this book was so interesting. Told from the point of view from Little Alex, a reader won’t be able to grasp what exactly Alex was doing in some parts of the book but knew that they were missing something important and that lead to frustration of a very satisfying kind. I couldn’t penetrate the book at my whim and fancy. So I loved it.

True, it was truly disturbing and had indecipherably long and detailed descriptions of violent scenes. I know I should now probably go and watch the movie but I’m going to let the book sit in my head for a while before I go and destroy its memory by watching a cheap reproduction.

Honestly, what drew me in and kept me reading the book was the psychological bit of it. The conditioning tactics they use on Alex to “cure” him of violence is something I am very interested in. I think I should go look for some actual research someone must have done into this. It would make for a fascinating read. Can people be brainwashed and/or conditioned into having such a repulsive reaction towards a stimulus? Where even adverse thoughts could bring on a strong physical response? Hmm I wonder.

Anyways. Go read this mind-fuck of a book.

Fear, Darkness and “Nightfall”

For the past three days I have had to live alone in a house that has not been completely renovated. So the paint is peeling in some places, the stairs are rickety, there are no curtains on the windows, the backdoor barely locks and the basement is the scariest, creepiest space in the house yet.

I’ve always found myself pining away for solitude and some time alone, hoping I didn’t have to go to my sisters and that everyone would just leave me alone. Now that I have the entire space to myself, I am scared beyond belief. Mornings are ok. Mornings are great. I cook for the evening, clean the entire house again and again, do some math, do laundry (in the basement), listen to music, watch movies etc it’s all good. Come evening, when the sun sets and it takes with it my peace of mind, all my confidence and leaves behind the fear of being murdered.

Maybe the fear has something to do with the fact that I am watching the X-files all over again. But I highly doubt that. I’m reading “Nightfall” right now, a short story by Isaac Asimov that was expanded into a full novel in collaboration with Robert Silverberg. I had read the short story a long time back and only got around to reading the book now but the thing about the book is how Asimov is capable of introducing and bringing to our attention concepts and ideas that we usually tend to take for granted because we aren’t even aware of them. The ideas and concepts are there somewhere in the back of our head but we are not really conscious of them until and unless we loose them. Or until we read one of his books and marvel at the fact that he can make us so keenly aware of something we just took for granted.

  1. “Nightfall” is about humanity’s innate fear of the unknown. Since we are conscious intelligent beings, we tend to assume that what we know is fact and loose the ability to see things from a different perspective. The book reconciles religion and science for me in a way. Because to me religion has always been about science. It’s just the way you look at things. We fail to understand that information from the past wasn’t just written down and passed as scientific facts. We were given information in the form of stories, fairytales, legends, information was passed on in the form of religion, rituals, traditions, customs. All of these things tell us things. Scientific things. In “Nightfall” the world seems divided into two- the religious nuts and the scientists. The religious prophesies (however vague) are proven to be correct on whole new levels- by a psychologist, an archaeologist, an astronomer. Again, we assume people from the past, our ancestors, didn’t know shit. But what if they knew more than we ever did? And we are just re-discovering everything they knew through science?
  2. The second thing that struck me was how true it was that we just get used to assuming that things are the way they seem to us. We cannot comprehend a world different from ours. We look at a world that is different from ours and just assume that life cannot exist there. But we are so wrong. Life as we know it could not exist on that world. But a different kind of life form could very well thrive there. We need oxygen to survive. Maybe there are other beings out there that don’t. It’s difficult to step out of our shoes and look at the unexplained universe in a different way. We have been so busy trying to explain how things work that we are expected to know all the answers even when we don’t. It’s ok not to know. It’s ok to admit that. It’s ok to be thought of as a fool rather than going down a false path that might take centuries to rectify.
  3. Fear of the darkness doesn’t just exist in books. It is real. Even when living in a world that is engulfed in darkness for half a day, come nightfall, everyone is afraid of being alone or of being outside in the darkness. I don’t know if it is ingrained in us because of survival instinct that has been passed on from our ancestors or because there is just something pleasing about being in the light. There is an innate fear of darkness, even in the world where we should be used to the world going dark for half a day. The absence of light takes away all the confidence and vigor out of a person. I figured this out not only while reading this book but while I watched myself being alone in the house in the day and compared it to my mental state at night.

I love this book. Read it if you have time, because I highly recommend it. If you don’t have the time to read the full novel, take the time to read the short story. It will open your mind to possibilities we could not have imagined. Here’s a link I found to the short story:

http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~rebeccal/lit/238f11/pdfs/Nightfall_Asimov.pdf