Friday, 1 March 2013

Walter Mitty Revisited.

At times during my life I’ve encountered people who’ve needed to seek out or construct alternative realities in which their consciousnesses can function more comfortably. These are people who are drawn to fantasy, the supernatural, and maybe the mystical. And I’ve observed that such people are generally denigrated as being weak – too weak to handle the world of mundane reality. ‘He lives in a dream world,’ people say with a disparaging air.

Well, maybe they’re not weak at all; maybe they’re just different. Maybe they’re HSP types; maybe they have something that the ordinary person doesn’t have. In that case, isn’t it likely that they see and feel the wrongs, the injustices, the things that don’t make sense, more than the ordinary person does? And isn’t that why they need to escape – because it’s the only way of relieving the pressure to which the ordinary person isn’t subjected and so doesn’t understand? Isn’t it why such people often become writers, poets, artists and composers, thereby explaining to themselves and others what the world of mundane reality is about on a deeper level, or where to look for an alternative? Isn’t it why they famously end up living in garrets, and why they often end their lives prematurely, either consciously or through excessive indulgence in the most readily available narcotic?

(Do you know what my latest thing is? I've developed a near-obsession with the need to take food to hungry children. The image of a little girl with an empty bowl and desperate eyes won't leave me alone. And there are plenty of them living in the world of mundane reality.)

As time goes by I’m becoming ever more convinced of the phenomenon known as HSP, since it’s the best explanation I’ve found so far for a life spent needing a constant supply of parachutes. I will say one thing for it, though. It works wonders in developing the capacity for abstract thought.

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