Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Evasion Of Reality

Rate this topic


Matthew J
 Share

Recommended Posts

I was not sure if this belonged in "questions about objectivism" or "The Morality of Alcohol" thread, but eventually decided it merited its own thread. Please feel free to move it if I was mistaken.

A coworker of mine told me today that she planned to go out to a bar tonight, get drunk past consciousness and hopefully not remember what she did next so she wouldnt have to tell her husband (who is in Iraq). I pointed out that her desire to drink might be rooted in a desire to evade reality. Surprisingly her response of very pointed and aggressive in the affirmative. She agreed that her only desire was to be absolutely unaware of anything and forget for a short evening, everything that was wrong with her life. Completely taken aback, I had no response. What could I say to this woman that would convince her that this was wrong, and would not make her happier, or serve any purpose whatsoever? I could not think of any argument to suggest that could possibly convince her to stay conscious. I want to hear your thoughts on the matter. I do not want this to turn into a discussion of alcohol, but of a desire to be unconcious, or evade reality, so please keep that in mind in your replies.

Thank You.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would tell her to get a divorce. If all she can think of is concealing information from her husband, who is risking life and limb in combat, then she has no business staying married.
I don't think her husband's military service matters here, but I'd at least agree that she isn't acting in the smartest manner.

I want to hear your thoughts on the matter.
Is she planning to work to change things tomorrow when she recovers? If she is not, then her problem encompasses more than a short evening. If she is, why not start now, tonight?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unless this person is incredibly important to you, I wouldn't waste my time trying to convince her at all. If she's an avowed evader, she's probably just going to evade anything you say anyway.

In my experience, people usually need to figure this one out on their own. Most of the time, any advice you have to give goes in one ear and out the other. My 2 cents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She agreed that her only desire was to be absolutely unaware of anything and forget for a short evening, everything that was wrong with her life. Completely taken aback, I had no response. What could I say to this woman that would convince her that this was wrong, and would not make her happier, or serve any purpose whatsoever?

Context matters here ... it depends on what is getting her down, how it happened, where these frustrations fit into her heirarchy of values, and if she has any control over solving the problems.

But, honestly the only thing you could say to that would sound like something quoted from Dr. Phil ... "You know better than that. Drinking doesn't solve problems, it creates them, and you won't feel any better about the situation you're in until you get off your ass and work towards a solution."

It's true, but I doubt she wants to hear that. Unless you're a good friend, the only thing you could say is "Have a good time and be careful as you get your blackout on. Let me now how that works out for you."

But, if she's just saying that under stress, and really just means to go have an evening of fun to decompress a little, it's perfectly understandable. She's exaggerating, and probably won't get as suicidally drunk as she lets on. Some things you just can't solve right away, and sitting at home stewing on a Friday night just makes the ulcers happy. Go out, see a band, have a couple of drinks, visit with friends, laugh, and enjoy the evening. It's not everyone's way to recharge, but it works for some.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excellent stuff, Synthlord. Thanks a bunch for the ideas guys. I've pretty much settled how I'm going to treat the situation. From here, I think I'd just like to know in what cases, if any, an evasion of reality is moral. and If none, I'd like to have a hierarchical proof of its immorality.

I'm currently reading OPAR, and though I find I'm familiar with nearly all O'ist stances on different things, and can explain what is moral or immoral, I cannot find the link between the three axioms, and epistemelogically prove them in ethics. Theres alot of things in between I'm missing. So.. any help on this one would help me out. Thanks again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I want to know is, how is what this woman is doing an evasion of reality?

She clearly knows she has problems in her life.

She clearly knows what she is going to do.

The only evasion I could think of would be if she actually thought being unconscious for an evening was going to SOLVE her problems somehow. It is possible to reach a stage where you are so emotionally overwrought that you can't even begin to approach the problems and you need to cool down--to go do something else--until you get your equillibrium back and you can approach the problem in a fashion that won't actually make it worse. This is acceptable. It may even be advisable.

However, if your purpose isn't to enable yourself to solve the problems, but to gain relief from them for a short period of time so that there's a delay between now and the next time they render you unable to function, then you're evading reality. You're evading the fact that your self-medication is not HELPING you, but HARMING you, by making it seem like you don't really have to SOLVE these problems at all.

From the sound of things, Matthew, she may be engaging in some mixture of the two. As you said, she can't fix some of her problems herself, so this cool down may become a frequent thing. In your place, I would encourage her to get her relaxation, then come back and focus on those problems that she can solve so that she doesn't have nearly as much in her life to be frantic about. Then I'd remind her that it's really hard to do anything at all when you have a hangover . . . maybe she could go get pizza and watch a fun movie to relax, instead. The next day she'd feel better, not worse.

Evading reality is never moral. However the reality that you're in no shape to deal with a given problem at the moment may require you to avoid it for a while.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
I was not sure if this belonged in "questions about objectivism" or "The Morality of Alcohol" thread, but eventually decided it merited its own thread. Please feel free to move it if I was mistaken.

A coworker of mine told me today that she planned to go out to a bar tonight, get drunk past consciousness and hopefully not remember what she did next so she wouldnt have to tell her husband (who is in Iraq). I pointed out that her desire to drink might be rooted in a desire to evade reality. Surprisingly her response of very pointed and aggressive in the affirmative. She agreed that her only desire was to be absolutely unaware of anything and forget for a short evening, everything that was wrong with her life. Completely taken aback, I had no response. What could I say to this woman that would convince her that this was wrong, and would not make her happier, or serve any purpose whatsoever? I could not think of any argument to suggest that could possibly convince her to stay conscious. I want to hear your thoughts on the matter. I do not want this to turn into a discussion of alcohol, but of a desire to be unconcious, or evade reality, so please keep that in mind in your replies.

Thank You.

Point out to her what a pathetic level of existance to she's subjected upon herself.

The only way to win this argument is to show how much she's losing by doing this. Show her how she used to enjoy things and she's compromised and lived a life she doesn't enjoy now.

That is NOT intrisic with becoming an adult, only with her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
Excellent stuff, Synthlord. Thanks a bunch for the ideas guys. I've pretty much settled how I'm going to treat the situation. From here, I think I'd just like to know in what cases, if any, an evasion of reality is moral. and If none, I'd like to have a hierarchical proof of its immorality.

I'm currently reading OPAR, and though I find I'm familiar with nearly all O'ist stances on different things, and can explain what is moral or immoral, I cannot find the link between the three axioms, and epistemelogically prove them in ethics. Theres alot of things in between I'm missing. So.. any help on this one would help me out. Thanks again.

This, of course depends on how close the two of you are and how much effort this person is worth to you, but you could offer to spend time with her either alone or in a larger group. I would guess from what you have said, that she feels more lonely then anything else. If on the other hand she has committed some number of moral crimes and feels truly guilty for them but not enough to change, then I would stay away from her.

About your 2nd question I am not sure what you mean exactly. You ask how to prove the axioms in ethics, but ethics are derived largely from the axioms, which means that you can't. The axioms and axiomatic concepts are before proof in a way. They are self-evident and cannot be denied without referring to them. Take for example the AC "that your senses are valid". If someone were to argue that there senses were not valid, what grounds could they have for any statement of this kind which refers to reality? Basically none.

Regarding the link between them, again I am not sure what you are looking for, but I think I would say that they(with their corollaries) are all necessary for any other knowledge. Reality has to exist and you must be capable of being aware of it and what you are aware of must be itself otherwise nothing can be definatively known.

Hope that helps. Like I said, I am not sure that I understand the questions, so if I missed it entirely try re-asking and I'll take another crack at it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What could I say to this woman that would convince her that this was wrong, and would not make her happier, or serve any purpose whatsoever? I could not think of any argument to suggest that could possibly convince her to stay conscious.

What is the point of telling such a person that her actions serve no purpose, rather than asking what purpose she expects them to serve? If there is no purpose, she'll realize that when she is unable to provide an answer. If there is a purpose, maybe through further questioning you can help her find a better course of action.

This woman doesn't need a moral lecture; she needs psychological counseling. If you want to proscribe an action to her-- tell her to talk to a professional therapist.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If one is going to get stupid drunk the least one can do to protect oneself from doing something one would later regret is to do it while NOT in public. Unless she intends to cheat on her husband, you might advise her to at the very least stay home for this "activity."

Edited by Inspector
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If one is going to get stupid drunk the least one can do to protect oneself from doing something one would later regret is to do it while NOT in public. Unless she intends to cheat on her husband, you might advise her to at the very least stay home for this "activity."

Or to bring a condom.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...