Is escapism bad?

Is escapism bad?


2 min read

Is escapism bad?

Escapism has been on my mind of late. I admit, life isn't always a bed of roses, and it helps to 'run' away by burying your head working on something else other than your problems.

Why do we escape?

To be honest, I often think it is partially a self-defense mechanism to clear the mind, a form of stress relief, to escape from the fact that we will cease to exist one day. Working as a programmer, I do take occasional naps to recharge, and to rest my mind hoping there would be a creative solution to a problem at work.

Digging further, I realized that escapism might have been how I coped with trauma. I remember daydreaming about playing The Sims whilst I was taking an maths examination back in school. As I got older, it progressed to be coming up with fictional scenarios and replaying them in my head.

Even writing this is hard, hard in the sense of trying to form coherent paragraphs from my mind.

But let's step back a moment and think about it, isn't everything we do some form of escapism? Sure smoking, doing drugs and other vices may not be the most productive form of escapism, but it's isn't more or less effective to take our minds away from problems than say being a workaholic.

I don't think escapism is necessary a bad thing, an hour or two of Netflix or reading a book is fine, even traveling out of the country to get away is ok (that's what leaves are for).

For me, I enjoy playing Factorio, a game where you build automated polluting factories to produce items of increasing complexity, while fending off pollution-hating aliens. It's addictive as there is always something you need to do to find the perfect balance, and it's a game where you can revisit after a couple of months and still get into it. That is one of my escape holes.

Traveling is another. I would do solo trips out to Japan, sitting in an airplane looking forward in anticipation to a foreign country where I can barely speak the language. Walk around the streets aimlessly, without a specific goal or objective in mind, simply to experience.

The thing is, recognizing why we feel this way helps. I think everyone participates in some form of escapism, otherwise we would be panicking about life all the time.

Perhaps, doing all these help to fill a missing part of our lives - to simply exist to exist.