calm, cool night
Sometimes we look at the reality around us and we look at the alternate reality that we play out in our minds and we wonder, which is the better form of reality that we prefer? (For the sake of this post, I’ll use the term ‘alternate reality’ loosely, non-scientifically and define it as the life in which we imagine ourselves having in our minds that may or may not overlap and layer over reality)
The moment we consider our alternate reality to be better than what is in existence is the point when reality starts getting really unattractive, whether perceived or real. Yes it is of course true that both can run concurrently and not interfere with each other, but the key link here is which is considered the distraction from which. In the alternate reality, everything is possible; we can make anything and everything happen according to our fancies and wishes and nothing is truly too difficult to achieve or obtain in this alternate world. In contrast, there are many limitations in the real world we live in, and many a time many things do not go according to the way we might like them to.
This sets up a contrast between the ease of the alternative against the difficulties of the actual; it lays the opposition of ‘in control’ against ‘out of control’ in the two different yet possibly similar worlds.
Fluffy as these all may sound, it is actually quite simple: how developed your alternate reality is depends on how your reality is. As a start, the alternate reality is probably a manifestation of reality, or more specifically, what is desired and/or not obtainable in reality. The degree of control we have over our lives determines how advanced our alternate reality is; if we have much control over our lives, there is no need for a created sense of control that comes with the alternate reality. If we have most of what we desire in reality, there is no need to create the existence and possession of certain things and people in our alternate reality simply because we already have them to begin with and thus need not supplant or replicate what is real and substantial to be unreal and make-believe.
Two ways to look at this. First, you can consider the alternative as a detraction from the real since it distracts you from achieving whatever you desire because you choose to falsely believe you possess what you desire by planting it into the alternative rather than actively pursuing it in real life. The other manner of looking at it is that if there are certain things in which you lack in real life, there is no harm in indulging in the created reality that you actually have it and just enjoy it in a daydream; this potentially can make you happier because the lack/void is filled up artificially.
Now you’ve spotted the keyword. Artificially. Sad to acknowledge, but the alternate reality will always be an artificial creation that is unlikely to spill over into reality (much as we might wish for it to). It is definitely healthy for us to indulge a little in a world in which we have control over everything, but the point when it starts getting unhealthy is when it causes us to be delusional and leads us to be unable to distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. That is a sign of excess and is an indication that the alternative has a hold over reality.
Perhaps the important first question to ask yourself is:
would you give up reality as it is and choose instead to live out the one in your head?