Escapism Is Rearmament

You probably heard all of the knocks against escapism growing up. Stuff like: “Grown-ups don’t waste their time with that kind of stuff.”

Like what? Reading a book?


With all the ugliness and strife in the world, who wouldn’t want to escape? That’s where we come up with some of our best ideas.

Escape . . . removing oneself from confinement or a dangerous situation.

And yet escapism gets a bad rap. It’s seen as retreat, a frivolous diversion into the unreal. Avoiding real life and real responsibilities.

Even the dictionary seems to hold this view:

. . . habitual diversion of the mind to purely imaginative activity . . .

But that’s not what we do. We aren’t forced to flee to these imaginative worlds by marauding enemy hordes (though the enemies of civilization, intellectual and physical, do fit this bill). We seek to escape to somewhere better, even if only for a little bit, to recreate ourselves. 
Recreation = re + create

Retreat is running away.

Escape is rearmament. 

There’s been a lot of mockery directed towards the political class’ constant referencing of the Harry Potter series, but in a way it does make sense.

Stories are how we make sense of the world. There’s plenty of references to other works of fiction, be they literature or film, that provide deep and abiding lessons and insights into human nature.
Not to mention epic battles, magic, giant robots, hard-boiled detectives, romance, and lawyers and politicians and other strange, bloodthirsty creatures from the depths of hell.

This is why I’ve been loving the #PulpRevolution stuff and have been so excited by it.

And to detractors of escapism, what do you call spending forty-five minutes listening to a Beethoven symphony but escapism?

Read those books and play those games. Watch those movies. Listen to that music. Sometimes they provide more insight and renewal than the reality around you that wants to chew you up and eject you on the other end.

Maybe you’re discouraged from escaping because the world at large doesn’t want you to hear those other ideas . . .


    • I remember asking my dad one time when I was fourteen or so why it was so important to read. Mind you, I loved to read even then, but was asking specifically about fiction. I understood why history books and philosophy, etc., where important, but not so much imaginative stuff or literature.

      And my dad said something that stuck with me so much I still remember it over twenty years later: “It’s important to know and understand how other people think.”

      Even in your entertainment, this is true.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I think there is a time to be present and a time to escape (if one so wishes). But we have to trust that most people can make this determination on their own. I like how your invitation to escape is almost an invitation to the arts (and all creative sides of who we are) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the idea! Art is something, for whatever reason, it seems like our culture devalues. And yet, we don’t seem to attach this stigma of “frivolous diversion” to people who obsess over sports…

      Liked by 1 person


    There you go Alex! – piggy backing off Lauren’s comment.

    As for escapism it is awesome. I went out for a ride on my bike for an hour the other day and stopped off to get a Diet Coke (mmm chemicals) next to the river. It was awesome! – I felt 11 years old again and completely forgot about all the various irritations of adulthood/smartphones/politics/tower block fires (I live in England so the Grenfall incident is on the news constantly) etc.

    Also weight training/reading biographies/meditation/waling all seem to be escapism for me – an immersion in the physical/mental senses – or into the world of someone else’s life through reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awesome! Thanks for the link to the article Lauren referenced, EA! Good stuff.

      I hear you about a bike ride. What some scoffers would say is a waste of time or a retreat from reality completely miss the point. Seeking those transcendent helps stave off the pull of the gutter in the so-called “real world.”


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