The Story Of Your Life, Revised

1325 words - 6 pages

The thin line that reality lies upon presents a problem that many will have to face. This is due in part by the fact that not many of us can truly grasp what reality is. The most encompassing definition comes from the Oxford Dictionary which describes it as, “the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them”. As Gilbert describes in a chapter of his book titled, Immune to Reality, when faced with harsh realities people naturally look to create notional ideas to shield themselves from the bitter truth. The psyches defenses lie in wait for those devastating moments in one’s life, ready to twist situations to make them bearable. However, as much as we may want, novelist Phillip K. Dick aptly points out “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away” (The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick). No matter how hard one tries to escape it, even with the help from a crafty psyche, reality will always persist. The human psyche is a flawed mechanism that vaults people into a land of make-believe where character development is stunted and happiness is but a hollow emotion.
As a result of the human psychological immune system, people begin to lose track of what they actually experience, and what is just a fabrication of the mind. One of Gilbert’s main points is that human psychology allows us to spin facts to make very upsetting situations easier to handle. Gilbert specifically says, “When experiences make us feel sufficiently unhappy, the psychological immune system cooks facts and shifts blame in order to offer us a more positive view.” (Gilbert 139). A recurring phrase that Gilbert uses is “cooking the facts”. He makes the comparison of a chef to the human subconscious being that it creates believable facts without the mind ever being aware of the process. Only when the mind believes a fact to be genuine will it accept it. However, one of the systems main flaws is that it is unable to do the same for the myriad of other problems that we must deal with constantly. The accumulation of these small incidences is what really poses the biggest threat to our mental state of health. The mental wall may be able to repel a few intruders but as they pile up, the wall will eventually fall. Gilbert puts it as, “a handful of iniquitous individuals can often cause more death and destruction than an invading army” (138). While on the surface it makes sense for the bigger problems to be taken care of, it hurts in the long run. As soon as we begin to manipulate such life alternating events that fulfill the requirement to activate our psychological defenses, we are in actuality just placing a Band-Aid over a deep wound. On the surface, it may seem to ease the pain however no real healing has occurred. It may feel better for a little to delve into a reality that you can mold into your own, however the mind is too smart for such tricks. Guilt soon settles in, leaving a...

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