Imagine this: you’ve got some free time and you’re wondering how you should spend it. You’re feeling lazy so you decide to post the question to your 231 Facebook friends. Surprisingly, or not, you get only two replies with ideas.
The first, from Brian, who you went to high school with but haven’t seen since, suggests you read the groundbreaking work of Dr. Robert John Auman, the 2005 Nobel Prize winner in Economics, about correlated equilibrium and the intrinsic nature of conflict and cooperation in game theory.
The second, Margret, your neighbour who has eleven cats all named Christopher, suggests you watch reruns of Are You Being Served?, especially ones where Mrs Slocombe getting sloshed on gin.
Which do you choose?
If you answered Dr. Auman, well, howdy to you Sheldon from The Bing Bang Theory. Maybe this is a good opportunity to familirise yourself with the rest of us, living here all around you on planet earth. And just so you’ll know, the rest of us chose Mrs. Slocombe, but of course.
Why do we choose so, why do we go for the light-as-feather and not the heavy-loaded? The answer to that lies in the meta-healing effects of escapism. It is the hard-knock life that wounds you and it is high time to heal thy self.
No Escaping Life, Just Pausing It For A Bit
Escapism has bad reputation. The uber-aware, always-connected, achievement-oriented creature that is the 21st century human being is restless, never satisfied and always on the lookout for TNBT (The Next Big Thing). But what about the small things? The little, simple chunks of whatever that are on the verge of irrelevance. Do you know who said “Dream small!”? Nobody.
Somebody should have though. Even better – daydream small! There’s nothing wrong with a little piece of escapism. On the contrary actually, and in order to understand it you first need to realise there are two kinds of escapism: the good and the bad; the ugly left to a small rural town in New Zealand.
Bad escapism is one that harms you. Binge drinking until quarter past four in the morning and passing out on your living room sofa is one example. You might got a few hours of daisy-hazy alcohol-fumed blissfulness, but when you wake up late to work and get to the office all tangled and subdued you realize that the opportunity for head-clearing was wasted. Bad escapism, bad.
Good escapism is attending to your hydroponics vegetable garden. It is a calming, repetitive, almost meditative activity that won’t burden your alcohol levels. You spent time clearing your head in the most proper way. Everybody wins, even the carrots, the cabbages and the cauliflowers.
Simple Is Good, In All Shapes And Sizes
So we are all up for some good old escapism. A dash of repression, half a cup of ignoring and sprinkle some intentional avoidance on top. The big bad world will still be there once you return to it, so any time spent “escaping” it is time well spent.
Going back to the question we opened with – Dr. Auman on correlated equilibrium in game theory or Mrs Slocombe on lots and lots of gin, the choice appears a pretty easy one. When we wish to (cliche alert!) glide for a while above the turbulent winds of life, here’s why a simple-minded activity is the best one to serve that purpose.
Simple is good. It relaxes us because it relates in our minds to a time in our lives when we had the perfect balance between freedom and curiosity – childhood. No one can argue that childhood isn’t simpler than adulthood. It is. Simple activity triggers nostalgia that wraps us in a soft and fluffy blanket of goody good.
Food illustrates this point really well. If you are drowning with assignments at work, or with chores at home, and your boss / spouse isn’t being a massive help, and you need to get away for a couple of hours, and you happen to be hungry, what would you prefer to have – sautéed Dover Sole with almond-pistachio barberry golden basmati in a chardonnay-shallot emulsion, or a buttery chicken tikka? Not for nothing the term Comfort Food was coined.
Yes, It Is Your Cup Of Tea
Taking a mental break from the (cliche alert!) modern day rat race is advisable, even necessary. The bad reputation of escapism derives from a misguided conception of high-minded go-getters. They are wrong, and the negative connotation that was attached to the term ‘escapism’ is wrong too. But we aren’t going to contact Mirriam-Webster or the Oxford lads, we’re just going to let it slide. Now you can feel better with yourself about these ‘stolen’ moments.
Like any machine, we also can’t run on full power all the time. And the only way to wind down and relax, is to let our human-CPU, our brains, a chance to spent some time on Simple Mode.
Gaming has always played an important role in that sense. Long before the days of computer gaming, man was engaged in R&R in the form of games. From the heydays of board and card games, we, as adults, always relished the opportunity to be a kid again for a couple of hours.
There are countless scenes in films where you see a group of grownups trying to guess a word while one is making ridiculous gestures with hands and body. It might look absurd, but it is obvious that the group has engulfed itself in the simplest form of enjoyment. And talking about films, the biggest box office hits are almost always glorified simplifications of life itself. And for a reason.
Spin & Heal
Slot machine games are as simple as it gets. We, at Prime Slots, are the last ones to argue anything different. You hit a button, reels spin, and then they stop. You hit that button once more and guess what – reels spin again until they don’t. But you are engaged, and your brain floats aimlessly though eye-catching graphics and some cool animation, tingled by the repetitive sound bites. The other reason you are so engaged, besides the purposely-simple interface of the slot game, is that you got a little something at stake.
Complete engagement is crucial if you wish to achieve the perfect meat-healing effect. If your mind still wonders back to the daily happenings then you’re doing something wrong. The whole purpose of meta-healing infused escapism is to tune out from (cliche alert!) the daily grind. Petty cash does the work and at times can lead to instant win. Small change won’t make a bend in your bank account, it will only keep you at the edge of your seat. Next time you go to the tracks, look around and you’ll understand what we are talking about.
We all deserve some down time and when you are engaged in escapism, you are giving back to your mind and body, appreciating all the hard, almost non-stop work they are putting in for you. It is the ultimate karma between you, and yourself.