New and Better Ways to Escape Reality

by Mark Votava


I am beginning to think more about the many things that take my attention away from faithful presence to the place I live and the people around me in my life.  I am called to love.  I am called to humility.  I am called to grace.  This needs to be an embodied practice within me.

Sometimes I have found myself too preoccupied with things that do not help my relational connection with others.  I am tempted to escape into the internet with countless sites of social media and websites.  The virtual world of the web takes me away from the face-to-face of everyday life.  My head hurts from too much time spent in this virtual world.

I have been tempted to spend countless hours in front of my computer screen watching Netflix TV shows and movies.  Recently I had to cancel my Netflix account because it was becoming too much for me to handle as there are so many things to watch that take up a lot of my time.  I am tired and exhausted from all of this.

I have had to look at my social life also.  It is fun to go to social events and parties.  But sometimes all it turns into is small talk with many acquaintances where I could be more intentional by spending my time deepening a few relationship in a more authentic way.  Sometimes the discernment to say no to some things is hard so I can say yes more profoundly to what I really care about.

There are so many things that distract me from a way of love, authenticity and community.  These are the things I want to base my life on, but often times I am on the path of addiction to screens and the approval of others.  I cry out to God for the freedom of authenticity and life to flourish within me.

  •  Engrossing and addictive distractions

Gus Gordon writes, “The genius of our culture is to provide all the necessary fillers, new and better ways to escape reality.  It convinces us that life would be incredibly dull without distractions and cravings of every kind.  We are seduced to live our lives in terms of engrossing and addictive distractions.”

  • Distractions are the North American way

For some reason we think that there is life in our distractions.  Distractions are the North American way.  Distractions are the norm.  Distractions are predictable.  Distractions are controlled by our own agenda.

  •  Escaping our lives and responsibilities to one another

We love to escape our lives and responsibilities to one another for the thrill of distractions sometimes.  Distractions, we think, are the ultimate path to our “happiness.”  But the truth is that distractions always lie to us.  Distractions take away our imaginations for something countercultural.

  •  A technique to escape reality in the place we live

Distractions scare the mystical imagination with images of the “real world” promoted by the empire.  Distractions are a technique to escape reality in the place we live.  Distractions are addictive and irrelevant to true life.  When will we be tired of being seduced by our distractions as the body of Christ in the parish?

Why are we so distracted to what is truly meaningful and authentic in everyday life?