No need to escape
by: John Tyrrell
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Looking once again to Patheos for writing inspiration, I find Tom Rapson explaining Why Spirituality is a Better Escape Than Drinking, Sex or Drugs.
Now I do know that some people do overindulge in alcohol or drugs for the purpose of blotting out the reality of their own lives. I'm not sure you can achieve the same aim with sex - it seems to me to be an activity which thoroughly immerses the participant(s) in messy reality.
Perhaps Rapson has a point that spirituality is preferable to either alcoholism or drug addiction. But I'd point out that the spirituality based AA, when examined objectively, has an abysmal success rate. Drinkers prefer the bottle to AA's higher power - as a means of escape, anyway.
But I think the real problem with Rapson's argument is that he extends the idea of spirituality to being a better escape than drugs and alcohol to the idea that therefore we should all devote our lives to spirituality - that we should all escape our everyday cares by spiritual practice. ( Spirituality is very loosely defined, by the way.*)
But - we don't all need to escape. What we need to do is to deal with our lives. We need to embrace the here and now. We need to get a grip on our day-to-day concerns. We need to live.
Escape is not the answer. Identifying the means of escape - whether it be drugs, booze, meaningless sex, or fantasizing about communicating with a nebulous deity - does not serve to solve the problems you are attempting to escape.
Engaging with life - working things through - that's what moves us towards solving problems. We don't need spirituality. It just gets in the way.
* Loosely defined, I suppose many people would find spirituality in the header image - or in the full photograph below from which it was extracted. For me, the photograph involved capturing an image of the reality of nature at 8:03 am, 23 September, 2013 at Ooh Ah Point. Nothing spiritual in it at all.
Double Rainbow at Ooh Ah Point
Photography by John Tyrrell
(full size original available for download by clicking on image)
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