We all live to escape, whether it’s through books, television, films, the theatre, music, art, video games, the imagination, even travel. We lose ourselves in another world, a world where things are different, where somebody else has the highs and lows, where we can watch from afar, safe from the hurt and heartbreak. As humans we’ve been doing it for as long as we’ve been telling each other stories, passing on tribal law or ancient legends. We enjoy living vicariously through others, it brings us joy and adventure in a controlled environment. Society is founded on our desire to escape from reality.
We spend billions of pounds every year to escape from the lives we have. Does it bring happiness? Absolutely. Does it allow us to cope with the pain and the fear of the great unknown we face every day? Definitely. Does it bring long-lasting satisfaction? No.
It’s why we always crave more, another good book, the latest film, the next episode on television. The need to escape is like an addiction, you need the next fix, the next installment to get you through the day, through your life. Take it all away, the books, music, films, everything and make everybody go cold turkey, living reality 24/7 and the world would come to a screeching halt. I don’t believe we’d be able to function without it.
Is it wrong to want to escape? I don’t think so, because of my ME, I’ve spent the majority of my life wishing I was somewhere else, living another life. In fact the whole point of Holidays From Home is the ability to escape your reality and go to another place, it’s helped me through some horrendous times; but wouldn’t it be amazing if the life you were living was enough, that you had all that could possibly need without slipping into someone else’s reality.
I don’t believe it’s possible to remove our desire for escapism, it’s just not how we were designed. The world would be a duller place without the generations of great story tellers, who have transported us and helped our spirits soar, whatever their choice of medium.
Science and technology is credited with the success of humans, our ability to create and solve problems; but maybe it’s really down to our imaginations and our ability to withstand the challenges and suffering we face, by emotionally escaping real life, if only for a short while.