Abstraction to me is completely different because instead of trying to get a feeling from a scene (i.e. happy sunny meadow w/ flowers makes people feel happy) you are expressing a feeling with color or movement (i.e. the color in some of Rothko's paintings makes me feel as if I'm being sucked into his world). One is not inherently better than the other although in my experience realism seems to be easier to digest for those who do not practice a visual art.
To my fellow colleagues who wish to see more realism...... here ya go! I'll warn ya--realism is not my strong suit!