Another interesting element is how the adults were horrified at the fact that this boy would retreat in his own world, when we do it ourselves to escape reality. Why is it that when children seek to escape reality, we’re quick to assume insanity, while an adult’s desire to do the same thing is given much wider parameters of interpretation?
The truth is that we all retreat into our own worlds from time to time. The success of Netflix is proof that people want that escape on a regular basis, and they want to do it on their terms. I’ll venture further to say the increasing number of ebooks from self published authors (like myself) speaks to the desire to create new worlds so we can escape our own, whether through writing themselves or reading them, again, at an affordable rate and on a convenient device. It used to be that we had to go to the movie theater or the library or bookstore to find these escapes. Now, we have them streaming in our own home, and available at the tips of our fingers through ereaders and/or mobile devices. And binge watching TV series has become a sport of it’s own. Before Netflix, sitting in front of the television for an entire day was considered excessive. Not so anymore – in fact, people brag about it.
This retreat into fiction is a healthy coping mechanism. We do need to get away, and delving into worlds other than our own is good for us. It not only helps us to relax and forget our stress, but it could give us insights that we can take back into our reality by presenting perspectives outside of ourselves that we can only accept through fiction. The overwhelming response to last week’s episode of Game of Thrones (Battle of the Bastards) is a great example of this. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve heard say that it was disturbing and dark, yet ultimately satisfying. I’ll go further to articulate why: it spoke to our innate sense of justice. We don’t like seeing the bad guys win, and after seasons of seeing it happen, the violent ending to several villains that have plagued that world was a relief to finally see them reap what they sowed. This doesn’t make the viewers that liked that episode bad. It means the show spoke to deeper senses within them at levels they can relate to. If we all went back to our lives after seeing that with a better sense of how we react and cope with the injustice in our own lives, then that artistic representation broadened our horizons in a way that reality couldn’t.
Of course, there are limits. One must be able to distinguish the difference between fiction and reality, and while it may seem that it should be obvious, it isn’t always with the increase in “fandoms” out there. I think what it really boils down to is this: the things we love in fiction should be one part of a full life, and should be kept in balance. Once that binge watching affects your ability to keep up with the reality around you, then it’s time to use some discernment in knowing if it’s time to turn off the TV or ereader, and to actively deal with the life that you have. You’ve got to do it sooner or later, anyway. The point, as it always is, is balance.
That’s all today. Take care. Have a Happy Friday tomorrow and a wonderful weekend.