Is willful ignorance about one's own mortality escapism?



I don't mean if someone is dying of cancer and they refuse treatment or something -- I'm saying if a healthy person who is unhappy obsessing over his own inevitable death one day chooses to ignore this in order to relax and be happy, is this escapism? Is it a petty, cowardly act? Should one obsess over it, meditate on it and try and somehow find peace with it, or just live their life - and is doing the latter escapism? Is pushing it out of one's mind some kind of desperate coping mechanism, where meditating on it until you find peace with it is the only way to confront this issue bravely, or is the opposite true?


I acknowledge my post has some interesting word usage, such as petty or cowardly, so I'll provide some context. This was made clear to me from the following words of one of the users:

My point was: why do you feel this that "finding peace" with your upcoming demise is a requirement? Who/what put that requirement on you? And why do you feel that postponing this process is "cowardly"? Who/what told you it is "cowardly" to not resolve your angsts right away? Note: you shall not give the answer to those two questions to me. You need to give those answers to yourself. And after that, the follow-up question becomes: do you really care about that this who/what thinks these things?

I am told to give these answers to myself, but I feel that this might provide some context, as I've said.

I feel that this "finding peace" is a requirement because it would enable me to not obsess and feel unhappy about my own inevitable demise one day.

I put that requirement on myself because I believe it is an 'antidote' of sorts to not worry about this sort of thing.

I don't feel, but worry that postponing this process is "cowardly" as I'm wondering if others agree or disagree that it escapes the reality of our demise by not thinking about it -- hiding from the thought of it and unable to bear the hard truth.

Basically, I'd like to allow myself to learn how to not dwell on it, but I don't want to be escapist -- unable to handle the truth of reality so I retreat into ignorance of the fact of my own demise. So I'd like to know if this is not dwelling on it thing is justified or not so as I can think of myself as not cowardly.


Posted 2018-06-25T00:01:35.447

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– Philip Klöcking – 2018-06-26T14:40:52.437



Actually the whole business of living other than the animalic part, is denying death. So the idealism you are seeking by not denying death is itself a denial of death.


The human animal is the only animal that knows it is going to die. (Sartre)

As a result we fear death but not necessarily consciously:

If this fear [of death] were as constantly conscious, we should be unable to function normally. It must be properly repressed to keep us living with any modicum of comfort. We know very well that to repress means more than to put away and to forget that which was put away and the place where we put it. It means also to maintain a constant psychological effort to keep the lid on and inwardly never relax our watchfulness. (Zilboorg)

The only way to constantly repress this fear, is self-esteem:

Self-esteem provides a buffer against death-related anxiety.

The fact that religion is part of our nature makes salvation a universal desire:

Every society thus is a "religion” whether it thinks so or not: Soviet “religion” and Maoist “religion” are as truly religious as are scientific and consumer “religion,” no matter how much they may try to disguise themselves by omitting religious and spiritual ideas from their lives. As we shall see further on, it was Otto Rank who showed psychologically this religious nature of all human cultural creation; and more recently the idea was revived by Norman O. Brown in his Life Against Death and by Robert Jay Lifton in his Revolutionary Immortality. (The denial of death, Ernest Becker)

Self-esteem is the umbrella for all the concrete forms of religion:

One's ego-ideal is his religion. The self-esteem is the self-estimation of how much is the self-image consistent with the ego-ideal. A higher self-esteem means a higher chance of salvation, thus less fear of death.

Now that you know that all the business of non-animalic living is due to the universal urge for the death denying factor self-esteem, you should live from the perspective of inevitability of this dreadful fact:

Either have sufficient self-esteem or suffer from the fear of death or its endless manifestations.

Manifestations of death anxiety:

For behind the sense of insecurity in the face of danger, behind the sense of discouragement and depression, there always lurks the basic fear of death, a fear which undergoes most complex elaborations and manifests itself in many indirect ways. No one is free of the fear of death. The anxiety neuroses, the various phobic states, even a considerable number of depressive suicidal states and many schizophrenias amply demonstrate the ever-present fear of death which becomes woven into the major conflicts of the given psychopathological conditions. We may take for granted that the fear of death is always present in our mental functioning.(Zilboorg)


Your urge for idealism is really an urge for self-esteem, but the problem is that constant confrontation of one with his own death results in ultimate despair, therefore by chasing this idealism, you are choosing despair as a source self-esteem.

It's okay to deny death since you can never completely become aware of it, because no matter what, there will be some self-esteem left, even in depression:

The torture of depressive psychosis: to remain steeped in one's failure and yet to justify it, to continue to draw a sense of worth-whileness out of it. (The denial of death, Ernest Becker)

Do not add to the guilt (the existential guilt) which is already inevitably there . Seek pleasure and high self-esteem. It's okay to escape: even the last one to tell you that which is Albert Camus, made worth out of his condition of being special because of realizing the truth of our existence and he did not choose to despair. he chose pleasure and had several girl friends at the same time.

[III] How to obtain "Self-esteem" ?

The features of genuine sources of self-esteem:

(A) Does not involve self-accusation as in depression.

(B) Does not involve self-inflation as in narcissism, where the self is a balloon with no real concretization for the self-esteem origin that can be approved by others. This is doomed to failure and the subject will swing back to/from despair.

The genuine origin of self-esteem must be concrete and objective so that it can be approved by others and therefore reflected from them:

If I were asked for the single most striking insight into human nature and the human condition, it would be this; that no person is strong enough to support the meaning of his or her life unaided by something and/or someone outside himself or herself. (Angel in armor, Ernest Becker)

Whatever your own version of meaning of life (your origin of self-esteem) should be testified and shared by others.

Update: What i mean by others is not necessarily the whole culture, but a sub-culture or even part of that would work.

This brings us to the Epicureans, which in addition to emphasizing the importance pleasure as a way to mask existential dread, they also emphasized friendship. Having a group of friends that share your answer for meaning of life (even if the answer is nil), will boost your self-esteem.


Posted 2018-06-25T00:01:35.447

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1Wow, lots to think about; I up voted your answer. However, I'm not sure I agree with the first sentence: "The whole business of living other than the animalic part, is denying death." I don't think living is about denying death as much as it's about AVOIDING death. For example, all the safety rules and regulations help us avoid injury or death, not deny it. Or is that what you meant by "the animals part"? – David Blomstrom – 2018-06-25T03:26:04.520

What i mean by animalic part: actions that does not reflect that we have a symbolic self but rather reflect our animal half. – Themobisback – 2018-06-25T03:35:43.617

"The human animal is the only animal that knows it is going to die." I can't agree with that, since no one knows what nonhuman animals think about death. We can't ask them and they can't tell us. Such a statement only lowers my opinion of Sartre. – Bread – 2019-02-10T01:50:44.200


Interesting question; I've been pondering/researching the topic of escapism recently.

To answer your first question, willful ignorance can certainly be a form of escapism, in the broad sense of the term - keeping in mind that "escapism" is rather loosely defined. If escapism has a more precise philosophical definition that I'm not aware of, then you can ignore my post. ;)

The question of whether willful ignorance of one's mortality is a cowardly act is a gray area. Willful ignorance can certainly be a cowardly act; in fact, it could probably be considered an illegal act in certain circumstances.

However, if we focus exclusively on willful ignorance of our mortality, then it's more of a gray area. If pondering one's mortality induces depression, then does willfully blocking the thought out of your mind make you a coward, or is it just a common sense antidote to depression?

We might therefore say that the question of whether willful ignorance of one's mortality qualifies as cowardice depends on the reason one chooses to ignore it. However, this reasoning might just lead us in circles.

One could also argue that pondering one's mortality is ultimately useless. All we know for certain is that we're going to die. What happens after our lives end and the very definition of life and death are questions people have been pondering for thousands of years.

In this spirit, we could argue that willful ignorance of mortality is no more cowardly than willful ignorance of quantum physics. Why waste your life pondering something you may not have the aptitude to understand?

Looking at it from yet another perspective, I like this quote...

Music and art and culture is escapism, and escapism sometimes is healthy for people to get away from reality. The problem is when they stay there.

In this spirit, we might argue for some balance, taking time to occasionally ponder our mortality without becoming obsessed with it.

In summary, I would argue that willfully ignoring one's mortality can qualify as a form of escapism - though it could also qualify as other things. Similarly, it can be considered cowardly, but it could also be a practical or even courageous act.

Unfortunately, I haven't had time to ponder a set of guidelines that help us know whether a specific act of willful ignorance (regarding our mortality) is cowardly or not. If any philosophers have tackled this subject, I'm all ears. However, I have a hunch it largely boils down to opinion.

P.S. In my cursory research, I approached escapism from a psychological perspective, and it didn't appear a lot of research has been devoted to it. I wasn't aware that philosophers had much to say about it, which is ironic when some have speculated that philosophy itself is escapist...

Is Philosophy Inherently Escapist?

David Blomstrom

Posted 2018-06-25T00:01:35.447

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This question takes it for granted that fear of death is a logical necessary thing. However, there is nothing that is more clearly a product of evolution than fear of death. There is no deep truth about the fact that lack of fear of death is not selected for in nature. It is hard to defend the worth of meditating and/or obsessing about something that has an obvious evolutionary reason (because make no mistake you are not obsessing about death you are obsessing about your fear of it).


Posted 2018-06-25T00:01:35.447

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1Am I obsessing about my fear of it if I feel unhappy thinking about it rather than scared? – sangstar – 2018-06-25T13:24:45.773

Do we need a citation on "[...] clearly a product of evolution than fear of death." – Mindwin – 2018-06-25T14:22:27.013


Death is a fact of life and one should take account of it. Consequences for others will usually follow one's death, and if one simply ignores the fact that one will die (imminently or long-term) that is generally irresponsible. If, for example, one makes no provision for others, who may otherwise be drastically and disastrously affected by one's death, this is negligent or worse.

On the other hand, death is irrelevant to the everyday projects and preoccupations of anyone who has no good reason to think their death is imminent. If I want to write a book, give up smoking, take a holiday, move home, put in for promotion, save for a new car, marry and have or adopt children, try to solve a mathematical or historical problem, work out a position on the Ontological Argument, form a reasonable estimate of the consequences of global warming for future generations, consider what can be done for the homeless, and so on endlessly, I am not guilty of escapism : I am just getting on with life in a rational way.

Geoffrey Thomas

Posted 2018-06-25T00:01:35.447

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Loaded expressions, unsourced expectations

WARNING: One can resolve a question in two ways: 1) by giving an answer that satisfies the query. 2) discover that the question is moot, or posed under false/unsubstantiated pretences. I intend to resolve this question by the latter.

I believe the resolution to your question lies not in what we answer you get here, but in examining yourself and why you are asking the question. Your entire post oozes of loaded expressions and the pressure on you to fulfil some kind of expectations.

The expectation in the question is to brood over ones eventual demise. But who is expecting you to do that? Who requires you to do that?

You ask:

Is it a petty, cowardly act?

Petty and cowardly according to who? Who is it that requires you to brood over your death? Who is it that will judge you as "petty, cowardly" if you do not?

My point here is that you appear to have pretty much already made up your mind about the answer. You are nearly begging the question, saying that one must brood over one's eventual death, and that if one does not do that, then one is a petty and cowardly creature.

But why did you reach that conclusion? From where/who/what did you fetch the notion that brooding over one's death is a requirement? By what law/rule/maxim/argument/claim did you conclude that not brooding over one's death is "petty, cowardly" escapism?

My advice to you is to go back and examine these things. If you find that you still have legitimate reason to pose the question, then please edit the post to reflect this. If you do not find why you have assumed that brooding is a requirement, or that escapism is "petty, cowardly", then there is your resolution to the question.


Posted 2018-06-25T00:01:35.447

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It’s been on my mind lately, and I’d like to not address these kinds of thoughts using mindfulness, but I don’t want to think this is a cowardly act, cowering from the reality of life by ‘fleeing into childlike ignorance of the fact’ and I’m looking for justification as to why this is not the case. – sangstar – 2018-06-25T08:31:30.127

@sangstar I did not say anything about using "mindfullness". My point was: why do you feel this that "finding peace" with your upcoming demise is a requirement? Who/what put that requirement on you? And why do you feel that postponing this process is "cowardly"? Who/what told you it is "cowardly" to not resolve your angsts right away? Note: you shall not give the answer to those two questions to me. You need to give those answers to yourself. And after that, the follow-up question becomes: do you really care about that this who/what thinks these things? – MichaelK – 2018-06-25T08:35:50.257


Yes, it is escapism

In some other eastern religions/philosophies such us Buddhism you should prepare for death even at an early age which is no negative at all in fact it's mandatory in order to attain a much deeper understanding of existence. Knowing that nature is impermanent (nothing lasts forever) and we must die makes you less attached to life and therefore you will suffer much less.

Epicurus believed that fear of death was a mayor obstacle to true happiness in this lifetime. If we could accept death, not ignore it or mystify it, but truly accept it as the end of being, then we could find happiness in this life.


Posted 2018-06-25T00:01:35.447



Terror Management Theory (TMT) was proposed in 1986 by social psychologists Jeff Greenberg, Tom Pyszczynski, and Sheldon Solomon. Terror Management Theory proposes that we create or use beliefs that are convenient at allowing us to manage or ignore terror.

As a hypothetical, imagine the following folk philosophy story:

You need to go to the river to collect water but there is a good chance the journey would result in death (as evidenced by your friend that was killed recently during the journey). Eventually you would need to find a way to overcome your fear if you are to survive.

How would someone convince themselves to be brave?

TMT says that by creating a story or using one they were told which convinces them not to worry, would allow for the life sustaining activity to take place. Before the story, the person's fear barred them from performing the necessary activity, to take place.

Believing they have protection from the tribal leader, from a ritual, or from a spirit, they can now survive the extensional terror that life brings, and make proper decisions. Or even if they are killed, the belief that a backup of them will be restored into an exciting new afterlife, can provide a person with increased evolutionary fitness.

This is especially powerful as a tool to a person living in an ancient pre-scientific society to manage the insane amount (seemingly random) ways people would be killed or die. Sleep always brought death. And these tools would be passed down to their children as stories and traditions.

Today many people still use cultural rituals in place of scientific methods to predict or abate danger, and in many instances to increase their safety. Evidenced by the demographic that responds best to fear based marketing.

I'll be ok as long as I carry a rabbits foot or build a doomsday shelter before Haley's comet returns...

And lo and behold, sometimes that doomsday shelter kept great great granddaddy alive after all.

Gabriel Fair

Posted 2018-06-25T00:01:35.447

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Two facts of life: a. One day I will be dead. b. One day I will be to old to work and earn enough money for a living. And I assume that you don't believe in life after death.

Both facts are inevitable. But the first requires no preparation. There is nothing that you can do to be better off when dead, no mistakes that you could make that cause you to be worse off when dead. The second is different: You prepare for this, by saving, paying into a pension, and so on, to avoid being without means when you get old.

So ignoring the first fact is not escapism. There is nothing you can do. Ignoring the second fact is escapism, and one day you will pay the price for it.

Being upset with the fact that you will die one day, or obsessed with it, or worried, doesn't serve any useful purpose. So anything would be good that stops your mind from obsessing with death in a way that affects you negatively. Trying to ignore death might not help you with this, you may have to get your mind to a state where it says "I know I will die one day, but that's Ok", and when you are in that state, you can ignore death from then on.

PS. You should obviously care about the financial effects of your death, like making a will, making sure that dependents are taking care of, and so on (unless you are completely alone in the world and have nobody you care about). Not taking care of these things would be escapism, but I assume that's not what the OP is asking about.


Posted 2018-06-25T00:01:35.447

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There is another option which requires neither ignorance nor making peace with the disturbing truth. What we dislike the most is not the idea of death itself (in death, no wish goes unfulfilled), but the fear of death, particularly the fear of imminent death. However, as people age and approach the end of their life, the fear of death tends to diminish. I can safely say that I, as a young adult, am more afraid of death than my 90-some year old grandmother, despite the fact that every next year may be her last. As depressing as that is, it does not seem to bother her in the slightest. This is actually not uncommon. So ask yourself this: Would you be as afraid of death as you are now if, as the time approaches, you know that you will not be afraid?

The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour). ― Vladimir Nabokov


Posted 2018-06-25T00:01:35.447

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"The unexamined life is not worth living" - Socrates

It is widely recognised that many of our choices in life rely on the assumption we have endless time. Recognising the limitations of time can help us prioritise, and be happier. And make practical arrangements, life insurance, will writing, and putting aside money for and planning your funeral.

Why do we fear death, which we will not experience?

"Death is non-existence, and I know already what that means. What was before me will happen again after me. If there is any suffering in this state, there must have been such suffering also in the past, before we entered the light of day. As a matter of fact, however, we felt no discomfort then." - Senecca

Other cultures have very different attitudes to death. Our modern attitude is I think, primarily a result of our shift to atomised societies and individualism. In history and mythology we see death as most obsessed about by the greatest egoists, the Yellow Emperor who died from mercury-based longevity potions, Sisyphus who was punished for the hubris of trying to live forever, Tantalus for taking ambrosia & nectar from Olympus, Sun Wukong for stealing peaches of immortality and Lao Tzu's alchemical potion.

"Death is only the end if you assume the story is about you." - Night Vale

Recognition that everything is temporary is counted among the most ancient wisdom, like the persion phrase - a phrase that is declared to make sad people happy, and happy people sad. In Buddhism any response to that fails to recognise the lack of any unchanging identity or essence, is one of the main causes of all our suffering, and the quest to understanding the causes of ageing sickness and death was sent Buddha into the religious life, and was answered with his awakening in the four noble truths.

"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them." - Ecclisastes I

This book of the Bible goes from this recognition, at first terrifying, to recognise that there is simply a time for all things, and to understanding:

"So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?" - Ecclisastes III

In cultures with a healthier or morning resigned approach to death, we tend also to see an expectation of life after death. But the idea people live on is also a recognition of a persons being is not just inside their head but in their works, that our impact on the world lives on in our families, our societies.

We did not arise fully formed with a Private Language for thinking, our minds needed language developed by societies and their practices even to fully form. Our whole extended phenotype not only shapes us, but means we shape future generations.

Don't obsess over or ignore death. Understand it, see it's place in the world, in your life. Ask what drives the reflex to fear it and ignore it? What drives obsessing over it with anxiety? What is preventing calm acceptance?

“When you need an answer, look over your left shoulder and ask your death.” - Castenada.


Posted 2018-06-25T00:01:35.447

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It's "Ecclesiastes". Also please add the verse numbers. – None – 2018-06-30T06:56:24.093


You may find interesting what Gautama Buddha says about this. First, I would point out that the Dhamma is not a compulsory doctrine; it's for people who are seeking a philosophy for calming an uncalm mind. In the Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta and the Vacchagotta Sutta Buddha observes that points of view on existence or nonexistence after death are "not connected" to calming.

Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta: The Shorter Instructions to Malunkya

"So, Malunkyaputta, remember what is undeclared by me as undeclared, and what is declared by me as declared. And what is undeclared by me? 'The cosmos is eternal,' is undeclared by me. 'The cosmos is not eternal,' is undeclared by me. 'The cosmos is finite'... 'The cosmos is infinite'... 'The soul & the body are the same'... 'The soul is one thing and the body another'... 'After death a Tathagata exists'... 'After death a Tathagata does not exist'... 'After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist'... 'After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,' is undeclared by me.

"And why are they undeclared by me? Because they are not connected with the goal, are not fundamental to the holy life. They do not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That's why they are undeclared by me.

Chris Degnen

Posted 2018-06-25T00:01:35.447

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It isn't escapism - but only because your post is worded in such a way as to provide the answers in the wording of the questions

I'm saying if a healthy person who is unhappy obsessing over his own inevitable death one day chooses to ignore this in order to relax and be happy, is this escapism?

If we go by the Oxford English Dictionaries, then escapism, by definition, is the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy. Since you've already stipulated that this "healthy person" is unhappy obsessing over his own inevitable death (i.e. it constitutes an unpleasant reality for him), then by the above definition of the word escapism, choosing to ignore it in order to be happy is not escapism. If, on the other hand, he chooses to ignore it by being happy then it would constitute escapism.

That said, this really isn't the meat of the question.

Is it a petty, cowardly act?

This is a pretty strange thing to ask. Why would it be petty and cowardly if you don't want to think about something you can't do anything about anyway? As MichaelK pointed out, it's an inherently loaded statement. To begin with, you haven't even properly defined a "petty, cowardly act", which would effectively just make the whole question an opinion-based one.

Is pushing it out of one's mind some kind of desperate coping mechanism, where meditating on it until you find peace with it is the only way to confront this issue bravely?

Bravely is itself being used as a loaded word here. It's a coping mechanism by definition since you've already told us in this situation why this healthy person has put it out of their mind. You've defined this person has putting it out of their mind as a coping mechanism in order to be happy. It also implies that learning to, in your words, "cope", is a cowardly act, and that a brave man can't learn to simply cope with the fact that he's going to die by ignoring it and living his life anyway.

Should one obsess over it?

Once again, what do you mean by "should"? Presumably, you are asking, "If I want to be a brave man" - which isn't guaranteed in the slightest, not all people want or care about being or appearing brave - "should I confront my death?" In that case, what does it mean to be brave? And lastly -

Should one obsess over it, meditate on it and try and somehow find peace with it, or just live their life

One could make the argument that living their life constitutes finding peace with death in the first place. Most everyone knows they're going to die, but one could also say that deciding to deal with death when death comes to deal with you is a valid way to find peace with your own mortality. After all, if you find peace with death and have nothing to fear from it, that doesn't mean you slit your own throat - you'd just go on living anyway.


Posted 2018-06-25T00:01:35.447

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In answering do you have any references to others who would take a similar view to the one you are taking or would argue in a similar way? This would give the reader a place to go for more information and support the answer as more than an opinion. – Frank Hubeny – 2018-06-25T11:48:09.163

1@FrankHubeny Well, I'm not sure what you're asking of me since I don't think I've made any arguments worth mentioning. I'm merely pointing out (probably not very clearly if you've asked this of me) that the OP is self-referencing. OP asks if it's a coping mechanism, after clearly describing a coping mechanism being used. OP asks if it's escapism, but in the description clearly describes something that isn't escapism. The only real argument I've made is that someone who can simply ignore the fact that he'll die might be, at the OP's consideration, be someone at peace with his mortality. – Almadel – 2018-06-25T12:13:12.787

Since you are a new user, your post appeared in a review queue. I am trying to guide the way you might answer questions here by suggesting that answers have references and not be primarily opinions. That is all. Admittedly I don't see how this can be answered otherwise, so I voted to close the question. – Frank Hubeny – 2018-06-25T12:26:17.817


There are two main ways to deal with fear. One is to formulate a course of action that will resolve the anticipated fear-inducing situation with enough confidence. The other is to accept those consequences that you anticipate.

If you fail to do one of the above you are probably resorting to escapism.

From a rational standpoint, you should invest your energy and effort into actions that will yield the most return (by your own subject criteria).

Of course, avoiding death is not something you can realistically do and trying to do so will feel pointless for most people (at least at this point in history). Is choosing to avoid doing something you deem as pointless cowardly or petty? Probably not. But if you suspect it's not pointless, it may be.

Finally, if the only option to deal with death is to accept it, is failing to do so cowardly or petty? You can try to find the answer for that yourself.

Personally, I think the essence of the problem is not with those simple emotions and goes beyond the scope of this question, but the short would be that the difficulty of accepting death is inversely proportional to all the other fulfilling things that you have achieved in your life.


Posted 2018-06-25T00:01:35.447

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References would be useful for anything you can find. For example, could you reference some text in the first paragraph about there being two main ways to deal with fear? This would strengthen your answer and give the interested reader a place to go for more information. – Frank Hubeny – 2018-06-26T13:00:42.393


I would have to argue that your inevitable demise is not your reality until you are facing it. The unknowable circumstances surrounding it will have it loom over the heads of many in their everyday life. However, because of this I wouldn't even call it escapism to avoid thinking about it. And furthermore, once you are facing it in your reality, I could hardly imagine it could be considered cowardly to find some comfort in escapism but that of course may vary with perspective.

Now to get slightly more general, I also see an inherent negative connotation you are bringing into escapism.. i.e. "unable to handle the truth of reality." Now, if this escapism is an excuse for one to ignore their responsibilities or deny a hard truth that must be dealt with then I can understand (rather than an inevitable death "one day", maybe something more along the lines of getting laid off and ignoring that reality, not finding a new job, etc).

However, I find something a little more beautiful in escapism. It can be therapeutic to avoid reality and the doldrums of every day life for a while. Take a vacation, read a book, study some abstract or idealist philosophy, play some music. Chances are you might have needed that break and you see yourself revitalized back in your routine. Furthermore, take a look at art and music in general; can't this be escapism? Either for the artist or the viewer/listener. A world without any of that I'd need quite a bit of escapism from.

I'd imagine for a healthy mental state, a balance of escapism and reality laser-focus might be perfect. Also, under my definition (maybe too positive?) of escapism; even if avoiding thinking about death will still be considered escapism, isn't that permissible? And possibly necessary?

Brian Carroll

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