Change in escapism

Students+all+around+the+world+are+feeling+the+pressure+of+life+and+school%2C+needing+an+escape.

Photographer: Omar A.

Students all around the world are feeling the pressure of life and school, needing an escape.

Myriah M., Reporter

Have you ever imagined running away from everything? All the stress, the expectations? Or have you spent hours scrolling through your feeds and recommendations? These are both forms of a term called escapism.

Escapism refers to any activity that creates a diversion or an escape from reality and routine. In psychology and philosophy, the term has a negative connotation. It is seen as borderline avoidance, and generally, laziness. However, in times of great distress–say, a global pandemic accompanied by worldwide social and political unrest and a continuously declining environment–the world might call for an escape.

The current state of the world has changed the way most people seek to getaway. Whereas previously, most people searched for a break from control, recent trends have shown much more of an inclination to regain a sense of balance. 

Only months ago, many people felt trapped in everyday life. They reached for fiction and fantasy to find a release from the routine, finding freedom and comfort in the strange.

A student suffering over studying. (Photographer: Omar A.)

In recent months, however, trends show many more people reach for media, as it provides a sense of management away from their lives that feel beyond control. One example is the rise of “cottagecore,” which, through the ideas of growing one’s own food and making one’s own clothes, prompts the idea of complete control over one’s life. An article by Hook Research explains this change in escapism, “instead of yearning for adventure, [people] are trying to regain a sense of control…”

As Jeremy E. Sherman (Ph.D.) writes, “We are confronted with way more reality than any of us can stomach…” With constant access to news on top of the everyday stresses of life and school, it only makes sense that some people find comfort in escapism. 

Many people turn towards fiction to find not only freedom and security but also victory. When you are watching or reading about other characters with problems different than yours, it’s easy to be lost in the unordinary. Seeing others triumph gives some people a sense of accomplishment that can be lacking in real life.

So while it is important not to avoid life, it can be healthy to step away from everything for a bit. Seeking solace in fiction or imagination is not a bad thing and can be crucial to surviving stressful situations.

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