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cliché image of tropical island hammock

Quote: The pocket-size book was invented in the sixteenth century, and it has proven to be the most convenient and safest means of escapism known to humankind. --Yi-Fu Tuan, 2002

Quote: Scorned and ridiculed as feather-lite, escapist pap when it emerged in the mid-seventies, and now reduced to a kitsch scenario of Afro wigs, polyester suits and drunken singalongs at office Christmas parties and bachelor weekends, disco is just about the last place anyone would look for avant garde practice. [...] --Peter Shapiro, The Wire Magazine, Feb 2003.

Schloss Neuschwanstein, near Munchen, Germany appears to come straight out of a daydream of a castle.


The tendency to escape from daily reality or routine by indulging in daydreaming, fantasy, or entertainment.

Escapism is the excessive mental diversion by trivial entertainment as an escape from a dull reality or routine.

Escapism has gone on throughout time, although (arguably) the disconnection from the natural inherent in today's urban, technological existence encourages it by removing people from their biologically stable behaviour patterns. Entire industries have sprung up to foster a growing tendency of people to escape modern life. Principal amongst these are television, films, computer games, the internet, and supply of recreational drugs.

Note that it is important to separate the activity from the attitude with which it is carried out, since many activities that are normal parts of a healthy personality (e.g. sexual requirements) can become avenues of escapism when taken to extreme. Although recreation may refer to the same activities, the word 'escapism' carries a negative connotation, suggesting that escapists are frustrated souls, perhaps by their inability to connect meaningfully with the world. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escapism [Jun 2005]

Escapist fiction

Escapist fiction is fiction which provides a psychological escape from thoughts of everyday life by immersing the reader in exotic situations or activities.

Genres which include elements of escapist fiction include:

--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escapist_fiction [Jun 2005]

Religion is the opium of the people

"Religion is the opium of the people" (translated from the German "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes") is one of the most frequently quoted statements of Karl Marx, from the introduction of his 1843 work Contribution to Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_of_the_people [Jun 2006]

See also: 1843 - Marx - opium - religion

Escapism - Yi-Fu Tuan

  1. Escapism - Yi-Fu Tuan [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    "Who," writes the distinguished geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, "hasn't--sometime--wanted to escape? But from what?" In his fascinating look at the idea of escape, Tuan suggests that all human culture is really a kind of flight, an evasive mechanism, a means of not facing facts: our shelters give us refuge from the weather, our cities give us protection against nature red in tooth and claw, our religion and institutions give us solace against the certainty of death. "A human being," he says wryly, "is an animal who is congenitally indisposed to accept reality as it is." Tuan examines the artifacts of our present civilization to buttress his argument. The cornucopia of the modern supermarket, for instance, with its "dazzling pyramids of fruits and vegetables, its esplanades of meat," which promises ceaseless abundance, and the growth of escape-to-nature ideas, which, he insists, depend on an antithetical escape from nature (nature being, in his definition, "what remains or what can recuperate over time when all humans and their works are removed"). That escape to nature, he suggests, relies on an unfortunate abstraction, one of simplicity. Images of nature, he continues, are often formed from wishful thinking and not from direct experience, and they tend therefore to lack the complexity of reality. Tuan's vigorous essay is provocative, challenging, and a pleasure to read. --Gregory McNamee, Amazon.com

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