Thursday, September 29, 2011

Against escapism

Escapism is a mental diversion, as an "escape" from the perceived unpleasant or banal aspects of daily life. It also means actions people take to help relieve persisting feelings of depression or general sadness, and, generally speaking, such actions taken fail to solve their problems, just like an ostrich burying its head inside the sand!

Carl Jung, in his commentary to The Secret of the Golden Flower" has the following to say about modern escapism through eastern route:

"Western imitation of the East is doubly tragic in that it comes from an unpsychological misunderstanding as sterile as are the modern escapades in Taos, the blissful South Sea Islands,and Central Africa, where 'primitivity' is earnestly being played at while Western civilized man evades his menacing duties...."

Master of Chinese-culture Nan Huai-Jin (南懷墐) looked at the issue from a Eastern perspective and arrived at similar conclusion. In his Chinese book 現代佛学者修証者對話 (Dialogue with modern Buddhist practitioners), he commented on the Kundalini experience of some western people as depicted. I was surprised to read that in many instances he pointed out that such "experience" or "feeling" were not due to chi activation, but due to some physical or mental conditions that should better be treated by medical doctors! And in one particular case, he said one middle-aged lady's condition was solely due to her menopause!

Whereas I can't fully substantiate either Jung or Nan's respective contention, I certainly believe that there are many cases whereby people seeking to solve their problems through spiritual means should better discuss their problems with their doctors (including psychiatrists or alternative medicines) or their counselors (or clinical psychologists, accountants, lawyers, close friends, boss or co-workers, marriage counselors etc.) who would offer them more practical advice.

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