Originally posted by BigDoggProblem
...is not something one is supposed to do. However, if the current reality is not acceptable, is it possible that living in denial of that reality is a method of changing it?
To change one's perspective or attitude on some matter is also to change reality in some respect, owing to the fact that our mental lives are a component of reality. This is something that I think vistesd has referred to as the "inseparable entanglement" of our mentality and reality. That is to say, our mental attitudes are not somehow wholly separate from reality but also intimately entangled up with it. On the other hand, unfortunate or unpleasant aspects of reality do not somehow dissolve just because one turns a blind eye to them. In this sense, there is an external reality that is not entangled with, or dependent on, our attitudes.
We could consider a concrete example of, say, one's coming to the awareness that he or she will die someday. This can be quite an unpleasant aspect of reality. It can bring about existential dread and even crippling fear. Suppose this person is in fact gripped by dread of this awareness. Then, if he or she could change his or her attitude to one of denial or ignorance, then it would indeed change reality in the sense that it would substantially change this person's mental attitude toward the prospects of death and spare his or her reflective energy for more positive, enabling thoughts. But, of course, it would not change the reality of the matter
that this person will one day die. There are also many problems with this approach, including (1) it is unseemly from an epistemic perspective, since it promotes ignorance and/or denial, which are generally not considered worthy or appropriate ends for cognizers (ignorance can be perfectly appropriate depending on the specifics, but this is more a case of willful ignorance, which is generally not a noble thing) ; (2) there is a problem of efficacy, since it concerns trying to influence doxastic states that are generally not under one's direct control; and (3) there is yet another problem of efficacy, since this approach reinforces and draws on a perennial source of existential conflict and suffering, which is the craving for the world to be something other than what it is. As such, this is generally not a healthy or appropriate approach, and I cannot recommend it.
The way I see it, there are generally three elements to conflicts of awareness: (a) The fact that the world has some aspect UA; (b) the fact that subject S knows (a); and (c) the fact that S has strong negative affective attitudes towards (a) or (b) or both. Relieve any of (a), (b), or (c) and the conflict is relieved. The denial/ignorance approach aims to relieve (b), but this seems like the very worst approach to me, pursuant to the problems I mentioned above. A much better approach would be to attack either (a) or (c), perhaps depending on whether or not (a) is something reasonably within S's control. If the unpleasant aspect of the world, UA, is reformable, then one viable option is to just change the world for the better such that UA does not obtain (then (b) will naturally also no longer obtain, too). If UA is not reformable, then one should attack (c) through promoting a healthy acceptance of UA. Attacking (c) is one option that is always viable, regardless of whether or not UA is reformable by S. As such, it is perhaps the most powerful approach. However, it requires practices in ego dissolution, which is the main tool for this work.
At any rate, getting back to your initial question, there are at least a couple ways to think about the question. In one construal, you are asking if relieving (b) can also relieve (a). The general answer is clearly no. In another construal, the question is whether relieving (b) can clear up the conflict. Yes it can; but it would seem to be a very poor, impoverished approach to meeting that goal.