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A few words on Escapism. What’s the need to do so?

 

“To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the most pleasant sensations in the world.” Freya Stark may very well have it right. While it’s no secret we’ve all experienced the 3pm Thursday blues with a side of ‘get me out of here.’ Sugar levels hit extremely low and now you’ve found yourself perusing Google for flights. But flights to where? Well at this point, flights to anywhere.

In loosely defined terms, we are addressing Escapism. A more often than not, western world considerable option, where we seek to flee the mundane and morbid aspects of our everyday lives. In the many forms that it comes; the work day, the non-compliant children or the hot-headed boss, we ruminate, surely there is more to life than this.

Though, seeking to escape is no new concept. It has been deliberated by philosophers from Bloch to Freud. The ambiguity of either somewhere or someone new propels a strong urge to act or imagine out of curiosity. The car we can’t buy, we seem to want more. The place we can’t go, becomes ever-so desirable.

I must ask, what is it that are we actually escaping? We live in a society where the majority of what we need is available or in abundance, yet it doesn’t seem to be enough.

Rooted in the consumerist culture we now live, we are sold products and ideologies to help us rationalise and accept that the job we do day-to-day doesn’t need to evoke meaning. We do it because; well – we need money. This mentality burdens us with a stark interplay between our time spent at this job, to then our time spent doing the things we actually want. What we like to call ‘down time.’ Inclusive of; binging on entertainment, overeating and scrolling hours through Instagram all in the name of washing away that weary Thursday.

Unfortunately, this clouds the mystical nature of Escapism. It now becomes a literal escape route where we run from what is actually going on. Escapism should be sought after in an aspirational light, not a quick fixture to rid ourselves of new found habits or the dreariness of the everyday we seem to put up with.

Trusting that reality will always seam bleak when we compare it to our imagination, will help us ask ourselves that when we book that plane ticket, are we doing this for the right reasons?  Unequivocally, there is more depth in visiting a place for its character; with faces rare and sounds beating a rhythm we’ve never heard, shapes a complete and utter sensory overload, rather than to just remove oneself from ones home.

Escapism should allow us to fantasise about what ispossible and in small measure, produce progressive emotions like; intrigue, exoticism and a hunger for the new. This way, we propel forward, in a sustainable way, not as an addictive retreat.

Let us not ruin the mystique of the word and burden it with our minute ‘hurdles,’ rather let it slide in and out of our lives freely, with the essence that it carries. Diverge the monotonous reasons, invite the galvanising ones and by all means, book that ticket. 

Words | Isabel Hawthorn

Image | Jason Lee Parry

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