This is pulled from the book I was given for Abnormal Psychology, George Vaillant’s Adaptations to Life. I highly recommend it.
In the book, Vaillant uses the example of fantasy versus sublimation as immature versus mature defenses. When a person chooses to entirely escape from reality, they can no longer determine what is real, and they will deny that their actions have consequences. Far enough into fantasy, and they are living in a world of delusions, where they can be happy, never considering that those around them are made unhappy or even unsafe by them.
For instance, Joe Biden’s delusional take on home defense, which displays a shocking level of ignorance. “Here is his advice: ‘If you want to protect yourself, get a double barrel shotgun. Have the shells for a 12 gauge shotgun, and I promise you, as I told my wife—we live in an area that’s wooded and somewhat secluded—I said, Jill, if there’s ever problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put that double-barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. I promise you whoever’s coming in is not going. You don’t need an AR15. It’s harder to aim, it’s harder to use. And in fact, you don’t need 30 rounds to protect yourself. Buy a shotgun. Buy a shotgun.’
NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam tells the Post that following Biden’s advice in the vice president’s home state of Delaware could result in charges for aggravated menacing, reckless endangering and violating the hunting “safety zone” law.” (Weiss, Debra, ABA Journal, February 26, 2013, http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/would_following_joe_bidens_shotgun_advice_break_the_law/)
Following his advice could get you killed, since you just fired off both rounds of your defense, unless you were foresighted enough to buy a shotgun with a magazine, except that is what they want to ban. And this, from a man whose person and family is surrounded day and night by armed guards.
Sublimation, on the other hand, is to take a tragedy and learn from it, allowing it to become a stronger point than it was before. Larry Correia, a respected gun expert and author, had this to say about a tragedy last year, and how we could prevent further events like it. “No. Hear me out. The single best way to respond to a mass shooter is with an immediate, violent response. The vast majority of the time, as soon as a mass shooter meets serious resistance, it bursts their fantasy world bubble. Then they kill themselves or surrender. This has happened over and over again.” (Correia, Larry, Dec. 2012, http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/an-opinion-on-gun-control/)
In an immature world, knee-jerk responses that cause people to retreat from reality and lash out with their eyes closed can lead to the loss of freedoms for those who are innocent. A mature sublimation of the event leads instead to a safer world through education, training, and direction of fears and punitive measures against criminals rather than the population at large.