Saturday, March 23, 2013

Vicarious Living isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

Co-op Art Gallery at Coconut Point, sponsored by the Art Council of SW Florida
We live in a crazy world where you can experience many things by virtue of your computer or T.V. screen. Watching the Travel Channel is almost like being there. A virtual pet can offer hours of play time without the responsibility. Virtual life experiences can give us a taste of what it’s like to be a mother, a father, a teacher, or a movie star without having to go through the hard work that actual parenthood or stardom involves.

The problem with virtual experiences is that they are not real. Some of them are simply make-believe and don’t mirror real life at all. Real life pain hurts. Raising real kids is difficult, messy, and hard. Online romances may blossom and grow, but real love is not built on fantasy or false assumptions. Real love is built on relationship and knowing the weaknesses and faults of a person, as well as their strengths.

"Emulsions" oil/mixed media, by Barb Valentine
Real life grounds us. It reminds us of our human weaknesses and foibles. Fiction and fantasy cannot provide a strong foundation for living. We must do those things ourselves in the process of making mistakes and learning from them. Both the Batman and the Sandy Hook shooters were caught up in self-created fantasies. They had difficulty separating their virtual world from the real world. Once they began to mimic their virtual reality and live it out, they lost touch with the real world in which they lived.

"A Happy Place" acrylic by Annie St. Martin
Groupies and stalkers become obsessed with the person they idolize. They build their own reality and create scenarios with their beloved; vicariously living and breathing through the one they adore. Their hold on real life becomes warped as they live out a fantasy life in their head. This behavior seems to be on the rise as more and more young people lose their grip on reality.

"Eyeing You" Epoxy Resin by Ira Nason
A make-believe existence robs you of your life. Being real is being authentic. An authentic person knows who they are and what they believe in. An authentic individual recognizes that actions and choices have consequences:

  • If you have sex outside of marriage, you may get pregnant or worse, contract a venereal disease. Unfortunately, babies are not valued in a world where virtual reality separates us from the consequences of our actions. Using a thin veneer of denial and pretense we make choices that go against everything we have been taught or that we believe in. Becoming pregnant or giving birth to a child means you have a responsibility to give that child not only life but a better future. 

"Magnificent Tulips" oil, by Mickie Timmons

  • If you steal or take from others what is not yours, you may get caught, go to jail, or simply degenerate into a low-life when you could have taken the necessary steps to create and grow your own wealth. Your respect could have been earned rather than taken. You end up substituting a fake existence for one with substance and the foundation for happiness.

"Golden Gate" mixed media by Sylvie DeGraff
Artists create a virtual reality. Screen writers and authors couch their words in a seemingly real world, but their creations are of the mind; their pages inhabit a world of fantasy and make-believe. Unless we are grounded in reality and truth, we may live out our entire lives vicariously through others instead of forging an authentic life for ourselves.

"Ancient on the Planet" mixed media on panel by Ursula Cappelletti
The paintings in this blog were supplied by artists currently showing at the Co-op Art Gallery sponsored by the Art Council of Southwest, Florida at Coconut Point.