I get this question a lot. More often than not, in our days, when everything, from politics to economy, to relationships goes to hell and beyond. Or perhaps I don’t get this question, I get the inquisitive looks and the occasional question “How do you deal with life?”
Is it sex? Nope. Sex never solved any problems – if anything it created quite a few more. You know, when done right, with the right person, in the right place, sure – but as far as I know nothing was ever resolved that way. Apologies my dear hippies, “make love not war” is a nice slogan, but quite unattainable.
Is it through work then? You just put all of yourself into it and then maybe forget what is going on around you. This is a path many follow and one that all too often leads to good, albeit boring lives. Passive and self-centered. If your job is okay, you might have one more hobby, maybe a dog, maybe an occasional erotic partner, a Sunday place to hang out. I mean, there are worse ways to live, and this one certainly is the median.
But is it really the median you’re after? Is average really the best you can do? I despise the very idea of it. And yet so many do. Which would drive a person crazy; if it weren’t for magic.
Magic you say?
Yes indeed. The synapses in your brain that make you create beautiful mental images. The same brain that creates dreams, nightmares, memories -that are usually tampered with because of emotions- and the same brain that functions non-stop, keeping you up at night, thinking of all the different scenarios that did not play out.
Guilty as charged ladies, gents, and all who identify as whatever they want. I am an escapist. I will read books, I will immerse myself in them, I will watch TV, films, the whole thing. Everything and anything to get as far away as I possibly can from the grim and gritty world we live in.
Give me the wizardry world, give me Middle Earth, give me Fillory, all of the magical lands and all the magical instruments. Comic books? Sure! I am a sucker for Batman, a misanthropic -probably schizophrenic- vigilante with a thirst for justice.
What did you say? Why do I not try and solve everyday problems? Why don’t I become more radical and actively protest about all the shitty things around me?
What you don’t understand is that escapism is not just another form of getting away from reality and all its problems. At least not for good. It’s not permanent solution. It is a form of preparation. A platform for dreams and desires for something better; dreams that are made by the few, but that are something, ultimately, for the many.
I am fully aware that delusional people also can be escapists. Hell, some of the most hideous crimes have been committed in the name of escapist stories like, say, religion. (Didn’t expect that, did you?)
But in the name of a dream, an escapist fantasy, all the great revolutions have started. And most have failed admittedly. The few that succeeded, though, became beacons of hope.
Did you know Fidel Castro started the Cuban revolution with 19 men? A dream? Escapism?
Now, imagine that…