It is striking that so many people spend so much of the time living - psychologically and to some extent emotionally, otherwhere than they physically are.
This is not really wishful thinking (which instead focuses mainly on the future). It may be escape, but if so it is interesting that escape is often into imagined situations of hardship and terror.
What it mostly is, is escape into myth and away from materialism.
A person's real life - in terms of the life of the mind - may have little or no connection with the observable facts of their life.
Because the facts of a person's life are dead (not unimportant, not without powerful effects - but dead).
The most immediate and distressing deficiency of modern life is is deadness, the disconnection of the human soul from human experience.
Of course, life is also experienced by most as meaningless and purposeless; but this deadness comes before that - a person disconnected from real life, or denying of the reality of life, cannot even begin to think about meaning and purpose.
The modern experience is of materialism (dead facts and events) and future hope (of different dead facts and more pleasurable anticipated experiences).
This is the reason why the modern condition is so intractable. The deadness and disconnection generate desperation: an urgent desperation which is unbearable and which leads to desperate measures in order to distract or to obliterate - or to escape.
Distraction of the mind and obliteration of thinking are dead ends, they are the driving force behind hedonism and the driving force behind the growing economy and technological neophilia - measures leading only the need for more of the same; but escape keeps life alive, keeps the soul connected with the imagined world - albeit in an encapsulated fashion. A holding operation.
Perhaps this is why the modern elite (whatever they may think or do in private) publicly scorn the world of imagination and fantasy, and openly despise those who inhabit it.
This is, of course, what the system requires for perpetual growth.
Living in the past or a fantasy - a situation in which the realest life is experience in the imagination - is not a sufficient answer; but it is the first step in retaining a sense that life has been or could feel real, and a person might connect with life - have a relationship with reality.
Meaning and purpose are absent, there is only the here and now of imagined, immersive actuality stretching back into memory of similar times.
A state of limbo, rather than a heavenly state - but a state with much more potential than the usual alternative.
At any rate, it seems clear that their 'secret life' of fantasy - living in the past or imagination - is what some people, and not the least lucky people, may look back upon as their real life.
When the hundreds of hours of office work and passively-experienced entertainments and forced-gossip are faded, certain bright moments of imagination (pregnant, it seemed, with something greater) may yet remain.