Confessions of an escapist

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Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:13 am

Hello,

Are you an escapist? Would you like to share with us your story?

In order to bring some structure, there will be 2 basic questions which should be adressed in the posts that are @topic:

Q1. When did you first realized that you are an escapist?
Note: The answer should refer to the approximate time in your life when you think that you became an escapist, not the time when you first heard about the term and realized it is suitable for describing you.

Q2. What is your favorite form of escape?

In the unlikely event you don't know what "escapism" means, here is a broad definition:
Escapism is a mental diversion by means of entertainment or recreation, as an "escape" from the perceived unpleasant or banal aspects of daily life

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escapism
Last edited by Arclight on Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:32 am

1) Long time ago, can't really remember now.
2) PC games.
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:01 am

1) Since I was old enough to understand the spoken word.
2) Science fiction

All fiction is esapism to me. The less likely it is to happen to me in real life, the better the escapism - hence sci-fi & fantasy > drama, romance & comedy.
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:51 am

For people who consider themselves escapists i would have expected longer posts. My 2 questions are meant as guidelines specifically because i expected people with vivid imagination to post replies.

Personally i became an escapist during highschool when i was forced due to various reasons (illness, familly problems, changing home etc) to change my behaviour, from a very outgoing teenager to a person who spent most of his day inside. It didn't took long (maybe an year) to make the transition but even though i knew back then that i've become an escapist, i couldn't come to terms with reality.

My original form of escape was music, then movies and now video games. Though in present time i only have 1st world problems, the monotony of my every day life makes me want to escape.....and i have yet to aquire the desire to connect in a meaningful way with the world. To be frank though, i worry about that from time to time.
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:57 am

1. Probably when I was about 9 years old.

2. It has evolved over the years. Early on it was sci-fi and obsessively teaching myself basic electronics and digital logic; by the time I started high school I was already wiring up some fairly complicated digital and analog circuits of my own design. When the first PCs came out I spent a couple of years teaching myself how to program, and scraping together enough money to put together my own CP/M system (an IMSAI, like in the movie Wargames). Starting in college and through much of my adult life it was mostly video games and obscure jazz/rock fusion music. These days I don't game much any more... what little free time I have these days tends to be spent either surfing the web trying to keep up with the latest tech, or doing something beer-related (brewing beer, going to homebrewing club meetings/events, judging in beer competitions, attending or volunteering to work at beer festivals, etc.). Still occasionally do the fusion music thing too; heard Allan Holdsworth play a little club in Chicago a few months back.

Arclight wrote:i have yet to aquire the desire to connect in a meaningful way with the world. To be frank though, i worry about that from time to time.

I can relate. For most of my life I've been a bit of a loner myself; somehow I managed to get married and raise 3 great kids, but until just the past few years tended not to connect with or form lasting friendships with other people. I still don't know the names of my neighbors other than the ones who had kids our kids played with (we've lived in our current house for over 10 years). Aside from immediate family, the people I'm most "connected" to IRL these days are the friends I've made in the local craft/home brewing community.

Getting to meet many of the TR "regulars" (and staff!) IRL at the BBQ these past couple of years was great...
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:10 am

Hmm probably around age 5 or 6, I received a Mac 2e. Since then. My primary means are gaming and weight lifting. I enjoy MMOs for their social element and weight lifting because what man doesn't love crushing old PRs? Progress!
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:49 am

Arclight wrote:For people who consider themselves escapists i would have expected longer posts.


Being concise and accurate is not mututally exclusive to escapism. I have a vivid imagination and can be mentally hyperactive (and I excuse my occasional outbursts by blaming coffee overdose) but that doesn't mean I have to be a stereotypical escapist.

In fact I don't think you can stereotype an escapist today, since (beyond the fundamental eat/sleep/survive necessities of life) pretty much everyone who enjoys any kind of artform or hobby can be classified as one.

The vast majority of us don't have creative jobs, and we are constrained by both laws and the desire to be socially accepted. This stops us from acting on our imaginations to some extent - so I feel that creativity and imagination are unintentionally repressed in a lot of people these days. As a result of this repression I assume we seek ways of satisfying our creativity and imagination by immersing ourselves in the surreal;

It could be something simple like using fiction or music to block out the real world by immersing you in an alternative one.
It could be something more complex, such as a hobby that is meaningless in the grand scheme of daily/social survival, but which you pour your repressed talent/creativity/emotions into.

Arclight wrote:I have yet to aquire the desire to connect in a meaningful way with the world. To be frank though, i worry about that from time to time.


I wouldn't worry about that too much; I'm no shrink, but that sounds like you are a little depressed because you're not a highly-sociable extrovert. If anything, this world has too many extroverts and we need to shut up and listen to the introverts a bit more. Introverts do more thinking per spoken word, and there's somewhat of a movement towards introverts being socially acceptable. Taking introverts/extroverts to the extreme you have autistic geniuses and celebrity airheads. I know which group of people I'd rather represented humanity in the future, so that is the direction I would hope we move in, as a species.

Is that a long enough reply for you? I'm going home now, to my escapist retreat ;)
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:05 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
Arclight wrote:For people who consider themselves escapists i would have expected longer posts.


Being concise and accurate is not mututally exclusive to escapism. I have a vivid imagination and can be mentally hyperactive (and I excuse my occasional outbursts by blaming coffee overdose) but that doesn't mean I have to be a stereotypical escapist.
[........]
Is that a long enough reply for you? I'm going home now, to my escapist retreat ;)


Yes, quite satisfied, you spoke at length this time around. Have a safe trip home.
Last edited by Arclight on Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:08 pm

I've played video games for about 33 of my 37 years. We had Pong and Atari 2600, then Commodore 64, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, PC etc. To me, my "Golden Age" of escapism was from 98 - 2000 when I was in college and had all the great old RPG's to play on the PC. Baldur's Gate 1+2, Planescape Torment, Fallout 1+2, Diablo 2, Icewind Dale, etc.

College people have so much free time if they are not studying an intense discipline. I know I didn't appreciate it at the time, but I spent a lot of time on all these games.

I also enjoy fantasy/Science fiction escapism on TV, movies, and especially books. George Martin (FINISH YOUR SERIES BEFORE YOU DIE), Robert Jordan, Isaac Asimov, Serenity, Star Wars, The Matrix, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings. We have so much variety, it is overwhelming.

I am not sure the cause of my escapism, I had a reasonably happy childhood. I guess I just enjoy these pursuits.
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:16 pm

1) When I was 12.
2) Digging ditches, populating them, then filling 'em back in.
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:20 pm

Hawkwing74 wrote:I am not sure the cause of my escapism, I had a reasonably happy childhood. I guess I just enjoy these pursuits.
I think one could argue that most entertainment is escapism. I could even see spectating sports as a form of it.

In response to OP, I would count many things--video games, movies, books, and some graphic novels--as my forms of escapism. I enjoy them because they are mentally engaging (most of the time), or else they allow me to "turn off" and not have to engage with anything.
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:28 pm

1. Somewhere around kindergarten. Got a wild hair/hare and simply wandered off.
2. Getting outdoors and exploring. Otherwise a list an absolute mile long... seriously. A lot, and anything new that comes up that I deem interesting.
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:49 pm

Arclight wrote:Yes, quite satisfied, you spoke at length this time around. Have a safe trip home.


Hmm, quantity rather than quality. Much like my dinner - after surviving yet another suicidal cycle dash across the city ;)
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:49 pm

Arclight wrote:For people who consider themselves escapists i would have expected longer posts.

I can write a lot of words about trying to analyze when and why I became this way (perhaps because I was a very stressed person when all of the sudden I had only my grandparents to look after me... or perhaps it was something else) and about the extremeties of my gaming "escapism" (which, for exaple, caused me to stay extra year at university), but that won't change the basic answers I gave above in any meaningful way. If part of your "escapism" involves enjoying such "detailed" information - I suggest watching more "soap operas" and other genres of TV series :wink:
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:09 pm

Chrispy_, you almost seem to equate introversion with intelligence and lots of thinking, and extroversion with stupidity. Though I am an introvert too and quite intelligent (oh well, oh well), I'm not sure that these things are related in majority of people. Extroversion may have something to do with empathy, too, and creativity, and other positive personal traits. If you're able to talk at length about your ideas and discuss them with other people then you will likely get more and better ideas. If you're able to talk aloud about your feelings then you will likely be more aware that you have feelings and what they are. Also, there are many colours between intro- and extro-, I'm not an introvert in every situation, "just" in most situations.
After what I've read here, and after asking me about me, I can almost equate escapism to addiction. Do I get it or is it wrong? No matter what, it's good to ask yourself where your escapism comes from and how much it affects your life, your social life in particular. It may be a dangerous drug or it may be harmless, and to get an answer, one has to ask this hard and many times, betray his or her own *escapism*, and not *escape* without an insightful answer. Which no one else, ever, can give.

Thx for listening, I've written this mostly for myself, and ignored both points 1 and 2.
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:07 pm

Wirko wrote:Chrispy_, you almost seem to equate introversion with intelligence and lots of thinking, and extroversion with stupidity.

As a broad generalisation, yes.

Thousands of authors have spent their lifetimes filling libraries with books on the subject of human behaviour. For me to try and suggest a one-sentence sweeping generalisation that applies to all seven billion of us is difinitely going to misrepresent a lot of people. I do however think that if a hypothetical global survey were ever carried out, the average IQ of noisy, shouty motormouths would be significantly lower than that of the shy, quiet dreamers.

The idea that extroverts who talk more are likely to discuss and iterate ideas faster than introverts is true, if you treat the intro/extro as black/white.
In reality we are all grey and it is only the defective extremes of this scale that lack of, or excessive communication causes the downsides you suggest.

I'm basing this on personal experience, and a bit of Freud - so I'm hardly qualified nor suggesting I'm right or wrong. That's just how I perceive things.

Wirko wrote:equate escapism to addiction

That's scary, but it's alarmingly accurate.
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:12 pm

When I first read this post, I thought it would be about how the OP channels their inner Houdini.

I definitely have escapist tendencies. I have tended to view this as more of a negative character trait overall, particularly in my recent life. But like so many things, it depends on perspective.

The main reason why I associate it with negativity is that I tend to escape more when I'm avoiding certain things in life. This could be anything from self-directed work to engaging in certain social functions/situations. When I detect that I am escaping (my responsibilities), it can lead to depression. The opportunity then exists for the depression to make me want to escape even more. And a feedback cycle potentially ensues.

On the other hand, I've had positive development as an escapist. When I was a kid, I used to spend hours doing things that a lot of children my age didn't seem interested in. For example, this lead to my developing an interest in music at a young age and the development of a moderate musical talent playing piano. I remember my first music teacher telling my parents I was too young for her to take me on as a student. But after convincing her to audition me, she agreed after she saw the focus I was capable of at my age. I was, for the most part, an only child, so I suppose that encouraged things even more.

As I've grown older I've found my escapism to be less and less "productive" and, I suppose, positive. It can get to be quite a destructive habit, similar to an addiction - especially if it devolves into a depressive cycle. The tendency can also make certain large self-directed tasks organizationally difficult and inefficient (ie, graduate theses). I think the key is a bit of discipline (or at least structure) and moderation (IE, only allowing yourself to escape for long periods once in a while, and if doing so frequently, set boundaries and time limits, etc). It can be a positive trait - IE, learning to play musical instruments, investing in other productive hobbies like creative writing, visual arts, etc. But, as I'm finding more and more as I get older, the key to many things like this is moderation and being honest with yourself.
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:53 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:All fiction is esapism to me. The less likely it is to happen to me in real life, the better the escapism - hence sci-fi & fantasy > drama, romance & comedy.


Might want to reconsider that whole romance one. :D
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Re: Confessions of an escapist

Postposted on Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:13 pm

B.t.w, I really can't wait for a proper "virtual reality world" to appear - that would truly be an ultimate form of "escapism"... Alas, that would probably never happen during our lifetime, so all I have left with is books like "Snow Crash" or "Ready Player One" and my imagination :cry:
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