Time spent doing whatever it is you do to escape your daily life would be better spent acquiring a life that needs no escape.
Paradise was always over there, a day’s sail away. But it’s a funny thing, escapism. You can go far and wide and you can keep moving on and on through places and years, but you never escape your own life. I, finally, knew where my life belonged. Home.
It may be escapist, but if I have a choice between watching the news or reading a book which gets me to see the world through different eyes, I will always choose the latter!
It is usually unbearably painful to read a book by an author who knows way less than you do, unless the book is a novel.
Comfort and security are all well and good, but not at the cost of liberty, love and lustiness. The Bohemian knows that money, property and status have little to do with the content of one’s character, and that professional success and widespread celebration have little to do with talent. Of value to the Bohemian is spiritual integrity and creative freedom. The Bohemian would sooner live in poverty than submit to an undesirable job.
An escape can become escapism before we even know it. Books are wonderful things, but you can't live in someone else's story. You have to live your own story.
Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you've never been. Once you've visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.And while we're on the subject, I'd like to say a few words about escapism. I hear the term bandied about as if it's a bad thing. As if escapist fiction is a cheap opiate used by the muddled and the foolish and the deluded, and the only fiction that is worthy, for adults or for children, is mimetic fiction, mirroring the worst of the world the reader finds herself in.If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldn't you take it? And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with(and books are real places, make no mistake about that); and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real.As JRR Tolkien reminded us, the only people who inveigh against escape are jailers.
I think that pretty much every form of fiction (I’d include fantasy, obviously) can actually be a real escape from places where you feel bad, and from bad places. It can be a safe place you go, like going on holiday, and it can be somewhere that, while you’ve escaped, actually teaches you things you need to know when you go back, that gives you knowledge and armour and tools to change the bad place you were in.So no, they’re not escapist. They’re escape.
Do the children who prefer books set in the real, ordinary, workaday world ever read as obsessively as those who would much rather be transported into other worlds entirely?
I long ago abandoned myself to a blind lust for the written word. Literature is my sandbox. In it I play, build my forts and castles, spend glorious time. It is the world outside that box that gives me trouble. I have adapted tamely, though not conventionally, to this visible world so I can retreat without much inconvenience into my inner world of books.
There has always been, for me, this other world, this second world to fall back on--a more reliable world in so far as it does not hide that its premise is illusion.
Dr. Manning said he'd thought at first it might be sleeping sickness, or even narcolepsy, whatever that was, but - no, Pete was healthy enough physically. Manoel growled that the boy was bone-lazy, spending his time fishing and reading. Reading! No good could come of such things.'In a way you're right, Manoel,' Dr. Manning said hesitantly. 'It's natural for a boy to day-dream now and then, but I think Pedro does it too much. I've let him use my library whenever he wanted, but it seems... h'm... it seems he reads the wrong things. Fairy tales are very charming, but they don't help a boy to cope with real life.''Com certeza,' Manoel agreed. 'You mean he has crazy ideas in the head.''Oh, they're rather nice ideas,' Dr. Manning said. 'But they're only fairy tales, and they're beginning to seem true to Pete. You see, Manoel, there are really two worlds, the real one, and the one you make up inside your mind. Sometimes a boy - or even a man - gets to like his dream world so much he just forgets about the real one and lives in the one he's made up.''I know,' Manoel said. 'I have seen some who do that. It is a bad thing.''It would be bad for Pete. He's a very sensitive boy. If you live too much in dreams, you can't face real life squarely.'(Before I Wake...)
The walls were lined with books, many of them in foreign languages, like insulation against the immediate present.
For I need not remind such an audience as this that the neat sorting out of books into age-groups, so dear to publishers, has only a very sketchy relation with the habits of any real readers. Those of us who are blamed when old for reading childish books were blamed when children for reading books too old for us. No reader worth his salt trots along in obedience to a time-table.
So many bad things have happened to them that they can't trust the good things. They have to shove them away before someone can get it back.
Existential anguish derives from the human freedom to think and act, experience love for life, and fear death. We must decide whether we wish to embrace all experience and encounters in life or seek escape from various aspect of human nature. How we resolve to address existential anguish becomes a large part of our personal story.
Every unpleasant worldly experience in life exposes our sensitive nervous systems to painful phenomena. Despite all the beer commercial advertisement slogans urging us to live with gusto, life is unavoidably painful. Life is a battering ram that inflicts trauma upon human beings. People blunt the traumatic force of enduring a lifetime of pain, fearfulness, and unremitted anguish and boredom with religion, sex, booze, drugs, fantasy, and other indulgent acts and forms acts of escapism.
If fiction and fantasy books are escapism, then let an author write them so as to better equip the reader to face reality by the end.
A wave of saudade swept over me as I realized home never existed at all. The concept of home felt far from my reach, and I felt sick with longing.
Los Angeles was the kind of place where everybody was from somewhere else and nobody really droppped anchor. It was a transient place. People drawn by the dream, people running from the nightmare. Twelve million people and all of them ready to make a break for it if necessary. Figuratively, literally, metaphorically -- any way you want to look at it -- everbody in L.A. keeps a bag packed. Just in case.
The only way to truly help most drug addicts and most alcoholics is to—instead of them—change reality.
Humans had built a world inside the world, which reflected it in pretty much the same way as a drop of water reflected the landscape. And yet ... and y
His eyeless skull took in the line of costumes, the waxy debris of the makeup table. His empty nostrils snuffed up the mixed smells of mothballs, grease, and sweat. There was something here, he thought, that nearly belonged to the gods. Humans had built a world inside the world, which reflected it in pretty much the same way as a drop of water reflects the landscape. And yet... and yet... Inside this little world they had taken pains to put all the things you might think they would want to escape from - hatred, fear, tyranny, and so forth. Death was intrigued. They thought they wanted to be taken out of themselves, and every art humans dreamt up took them further in.
Art helps you connect to the world, not escape from it. That is the difference between art and entertainment.
Our ability to detect and measure the passage of time is burdensome. The conception and sensation of time bears down upon all of us. It weighs us down; it compresses our souls. There is a variety of ways to escape the dull passage of time or the fearfulness of our accelerating march towards death. We must choose our mechanisms for dealing with the inexorability of time and our finiteness. We can fill our void with work or pleasure, laughter or pain, and fretfulness or courage. We can seek a sense of purposefulness or acknowledge the meaninglessness of life. We can seek to escape the drudgery and pain of life through alcohol, drugs, or pleasure seeking, or by working to support our families and create artistic testaments to our worldly existence.
To read fiction means to play a game by which we give sense to the immensity of things that happened, are happening, or will happen in the actual world. By reading narrative, we escape the anxiety that attacks us when we try to say something true about the world. This is the consoling function of narrative — the reason people tell stories, and have told stories from the beginning of time.
How can you be happy in this world? You have a hole in your heart. You have a gateway inside you to lands beyond the world you know. They will call you, as you grow. There can never be a time when you forget them, when you are not, in your heart, questing after something you cannot have, something you cannot even properly imagine, the lack of which will spoil your sleep and your day and your life, until you close your eyes for the final time...
Reading is important. It’s not primarily escapism (though it can be, and there’s nothing wrong with some of that in good measure) and it’s not primarily a way of passing the time. Reading is important to the good life because it stokes the furnaces of our intellect, allows us to expand our understanding of the universe, both inner and outer, for practical gain and simple pleasure. It can induce awe, inspire respect, excite, piss off, and intrigue. These are things that make life worth living.
[All the ancient wisdom] tells us that work is necessary to us, as much a part of our condition as mortality; that good work is our salvation and our joy; that shoddy or dishonest or self-serving work is our curse and our doom. We have tried to escape the sweat and sorrow promised in Genesis - only to find that, in order to do so, we must forswear love and excellence, health and joy.(pg. 44, The Unsettling of America)
We have made it our overriding ambition to escape work, and as a consequence have debased work until it is only fit to escape from. We have debased the products of work and have been, in turn, debased by them.(pg. 43, The Unsettling of America)
All we do is work to maximise our consumption privileges and to be able to tell people at parties that we’re a lawyer, an artist or a police officer.
All the time, I looked out our lattice window. I watched the birds fly by. I followed the clouds on their travels. I studied the moon as it grew larger, then shrank. So much happened outside my window that I almost forgot what was happening inside that room.
A person must face the root cause of their relentless personal pain. Irrespective of whatever bricks buttress our youthful personal philosophy, pain avoidance, and pain therapy are likely two of its foundation stones.