Reality can be slow to percolate. We may have a complacent and idealized view but slowly, drip by drip, reality can seep in. When the UK had the Brexit vote, there were many who cheered and celebrated, there were almost as many who thought “oh fuck”, but now the consequences of that “decision” are filtering through. It is painful, messy and drawn out. It hangs like a cloud over Europe and it will not shift.
Consequence is one aspect of reality.
If we are complacent and arrogant it can be a very long time before we acknowledge the causal relationship between our actions and the consequences. I have a very rough theory, no rather a trend. It says; the more intelligent you are the slower it is that reality percolates. It is not a perfect trend, maybe a guideline. This is partly because intellect can invent a whole bunch of alternate scenarios in regard of what is transpiring, it may even do this deliberately so as to stop the actual reality getting through. There must be any other explanation than the reality.
To give other examples. Two people could be involved in a somewhat co-dependent relationship where arguments and manipulation are common. One day the argument goes to another level and one of the “partners” walks out. The other thinks; “he (or she) will come back begging before long”. There is precedent. However, time goes by and this doesn’t happen. The waiting party tries to inject some manipulations as a hurry-up. There is no response. Soon it begins to dawn that no matter how many more manipulations are attempted, it is done, finito, caput. It can be a very long time before the reality of the situation percolates and the consequences of behaviour are acknowledged. People can take their unreal justifications to the grave.
The wider the significance of consequence, the longer the reality takes to percolate through.
A couple could be relatively happily married with children. One of them is away on a business trip and one night the opportunity of a drunken shag presents. It seems harmless enough. But the person shagged decides to intervene in the lives of the “happily” married couple and starts texting body-part pictures to the ‘phone of the shagger. The wife (or husband) of the shagger gets suspicious and sees these. All hell breaks loose. The reality of the situation shatters the imagined bliss. The shagger might imagine that a repair is possible, but it isn’t, things will never be the same. The children grow up in a broken home in which there is animosity between the parents. One of the children gets mentally ill and is in and out of psychiatric hospitals for their rest of their lives. I could expand this scenario, but won’t, you can if you like.
The time taken for reality to percolate is proportional to the initial levels of complacency.
The more one believes that something could not possibly happen, it is so off the radar, when it does it remains utterly inconceivable for a very long time. The fortress of denial is so sturdy that not a single iota of the reality can percolate through its mighty walls. That could not possibly happen, ergo it didn’t, even if it did.
Until you can acknowledge reality it is impossible for you to respond to it.
You are over due on the rent on your cottage. The landlord has taken you to the county court and you have a letter from the bailiffs saying that they will be around to evict you next week. You have a week to find some alternate accommodation. “That is not really happening, everything will be OK”. When the bailiffs turn up and chuck you out on the street with all your belongings it is more than a little too late to deal with the reality of the situation. The moment has passed.
The only way to offset this tendency to not be real, is to try to be a bit more real. That way reality may percolate a little quicker. But first you have to be prepared to face reality. The consequences of not facing reality are often more wide-ranging than facing it.