In our post-computer world a new stereotype has emerged, that is the man that lives as much as possible in a virtual reality within computer games. Escapism is nothing new because it is born of man’s innate desire to…. errrr…. escape? Or to live in heaven. To always feel relaxed, good, or excited. These feelings when found in the real world may be better or more intense but they come at a greater price and involve greater risk.
For example, imagine sex with a wife that you had to court and now support, vs internet porn. Or the thrill and horror of combat versus mowing down a hoard of high pixel zombies with a belt fed gatling gun. Or the satisfaction of a hard days work or building a successful small business versus building a kingdom from scratch in a fantasy land. It is no wonder that man has been drawn into these online worlds just as he has ever been drawn to cinema, and to literature, and since the dawn of time to the story teller by the campfire.
Life is so hard, even in fat times like today where we have replaced physical toil and pain with the rat race and anxiety. The mind is so vast and the daydream so ever available that we can hardly resist the temptation to enter into our own minds any more than the crackhead can resist the call of his crack pipe.
But the real world can only be escaped in death, and if we do not strive sufficiently, death will find us. Properly plugged up I can survive in a coma, but my actual body would pay a terrible price.
But what if I could live in a daydream while in this coma. (The movies Inception or Surrogates might come to mind.) If given a choice between living a short life in a vivid fantasy of your own imagination while your body wasted unto death, versus a long life of toil, tedium, and stress intermingled with times of contentment or pleasure, and moments of ecstasy, what would you choose? The truth is that many would choose the short dream-life ending in wretched death. The proof of this is the number of people who turn to hard drugs in spite of at least a couple hundred years of evidence of their destructive power.
Methinks that those who seek to escape this world by living within someone else’s imagination, or by consuming whatever joy or peace can be purchased by their hooded corner pharmacist must do so because they are, to one degree or another, empty and unrooted. They have no sense of the past, cannot see themselves in the context of the present, and have too little hope for the future.
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1 thought on “Better to dream unto death, than toil and live.”
Hmmm…I think your title is misleading. You are making a statement that it’s better to dream than to toil. Yet your essay doesnt’ advocate that escapism through a dream induced life is better. I think your title should have a question mark so your reader can decide if you have answered that question….which I think is what your essay does. Or does it?