Fear of Being Real

I think it fair to say that in the West, at least, most of us live in a kind of cocoon. Anything unpleasant is not to our taste. We may even be a little squeamish about reality. “I don’t want to look at that!” So, we prefer to live in a kind of white-picket-fence-fantasy-land. The nasty stuff is most often out there, over there, in a land far far away. When something comes along and stabs a pin into our bubble we don’t like it. We can be very complacent in our cocoons. “How dare anyone upset our “reality”, our nice cosy illusion!”

But as the saying goes “shit happens” and if we are not prepared for it we can have a lot of trouble accepting it. For a long while I lived in the bubble of academia. That was my world. When I started doing a spin-out I quite quickly changed my view and met a whole bunch of different people, which opened my eyes. I live in a very nice part of the UK and it is safe here, there is little poverty and not all that much crime. People here are in this cotton-wool-fluffy cocoon. Should a yardy turn up, blinged up and toting an AK, people would tut-tut and say how terrible it is. When hardship strikes the shock of it is all the greater. It takes longer for people to be real in cotton-wool-fluffy-cocoon-land. There is a tendency to bury our heads in the sand and say, “it will be alright”, but sometimes it isn’t. We tend to offer this kind of palliative. I am going for a cancer check-up next week. And someone might say, “it will be alright, they won’t find anything”. But I know that there is a chance that they might and in a few minutes the direction of my life could change, and I will be back on the merry-go-round. I don’t need the palliative, I am clear, prepared and real about it. Others may feel the need to verbalize or imagine that I need some reassurance. I don’t.

I have this theory that anything which in even the slightest way threatens to pop an illusion bubble is most unwelcome. This is perhaps because people fear being real. Reality can take a very long while to dawn. We are capable of kidding ourselves and propping up the bubble with a defence shield of words and justifications, much like a missile defence system. But on occasion a reality missile can penetrate the shield. They are not universally impenetrable.

Having cued this up:

Which do I prefer, palliatives or reality?

Have I ever had an illusion bubble popped?

Did I resent this?

Did it piss me off?

Do I fear being real?