Is LV a form of escapism?

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lurcherlover
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Post by lurcherlover » January 17th, 2019, 12:39 am

I'm always a bit obsessive about certain things. When I was a musician then I was obsessive about music, and now I'm no longer playing I'm obsessive about Librivox, and recording as much as I can. I suppose I have always been obsessed with recording, in the past music, but now voice narration.

The Oxford dictionary describes the word thus :- escapism - the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.

So, is this some sort of (incurable) disease, and how many of you think you might suffer from it?

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Post by mightyfelix » January 17th, 2019, 1:14 am

For answer, I will quote a portion of J.R.R. Tolkien's On Fairy Stories, a lengthy and well worthwhile essay on, well, fairy stories. Here he defends one of the four functions of fairy stories, that of Escape:
In what the misusers are fond of calling Real Life, Escape is evidently as a rule very practical, and may even be heroic. In real life it is difficult to blame it, unless it fails; in criticism it would seem to be the worse the better it succeeds. Evidently we are faced by a misuse of words, and also by a confusion of thought. Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it. In using Escape in this way the critics have chosen the wrong word, and, what is more, they are confusing, not always by sincere error, the Escape of the Prisoner with the Flight of the Deserter.
and
Many stories out of the past have only become "escapist" in their appeal through surviving from a time when men were as a rule delighted with the work of their hands into our time, when many men feel disgust with man-made things.

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Post by lurcherlover » January 17th, 2019, 2:14 am

Well, that is J.R.R. Tolkien's view, but it doesn't really agree with mine. For instance, even if I do dislike materialism and the worship of material possessions, I still appreciate many man-made things, for example a good microphone, or a beautifully crafted cabinet. But a lot of things, jewellery, cars, the latest gadgets, all leave me cold.

Your quote- surviving from a time when men were as a rule delighted with the work of their hands into our time, when many men feel disgust with man-made things.

But you haven't said what you think ...

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Post by TriciaG » January 17th, 2019, 6:50 am

I use LV to escape from housework. Thing is, it still needs doing when I leave my Happy Place. :roll:
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Post by Kikisaulite » January 17th, 2019, 7:29 am

TriciaG wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 6:50 am
I use LV to escape from housework. Thing is, it still needs doing when I leave my Happy Place. :roll:
And I escape from writing my PhD thesis. :D The same problem as with housework though... :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Post by ej400 » January 17th, 2019, 10:49 am

I don't see it as an escape really, I see it more as an enjoyable couple minutes alone reading a book... but out loud. It's just something to do when I have time to do something I want to do. There's nothing I'm escaping from, so I don't see how it could be a form of escapism, I see it more as something just for fun.

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Post by Cori » January 17th, 2019, 1:18 pm

Interesting that you're combining (in your first post, at least, if not necessarily in reality) obsession and escapism, Peter. They seem very different to me, though both worthy of thought.
There's honestly no such thing as a stupid question -- but I'm afraid I can't rule out giving a stupid answer : : To Posterity and Beyond!

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Post by fiddlesticks » January 17th, 2019, 1:25 pm

I have used LivriVox to escape from a lot of things, from trying to ignore a day where little things just keep going wrong to to escaping the horrors of an emotionally abusive father (fortunately he is out of my life now) and everything in between. Often I am on here just for fun, but hanging out on LV has also helped me get through some very difficult times when I just needed somewhere that did not have any negative associations with it. Before I got my car, which was somewhat recently, this was the only place I could escape, and therefore keep my sanity!
Though I would not say I am obsessed with LV, maybe at one point a about 3 years ago I think, but not anymore.
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Post by mightyfelix » January 17th, 2019, 2:40 pm

lurcherlover wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 2:14 am
Well, that is J.R.R. Tolkien's view, but it doesn't really agree with mine. For instance, even if I do dislike materialism and the worship of material possessions, I still appreciate many man-made things, for example a good microphone, or a beautifully crafted cabinet. But a lot of things, jewellery, cars, the latest gadgets, all leave me cold.

Your quote- surviving from a time when men were as a rule delighted with the work of their hands into our time, when many men feel disgust with man-made things.

But you haven't said what you think ...
Perhaps I shouldn't have included that second quote, as it came some pages later and was on a slightly different topic. The first passage I quoted really better reflects the main thrust of his defense. Another point he makes elsewhere, which I entirely agree with and have in fact experienced, is that, after a temporary escape, or distraction if you will, we then return to the "real world" with a different view of it. After reading about talking animals and dancing trees, for instance, we will look at real animals and trees around us in perhaps a different, and not less true, way.

If I do what I do at LibriVox as a temporary escape, I believe I'm enriched for it, and what's more, I'm allowing others to be enriched by the fruits of my work. The only way I see that it would become problematic is when it becomes not escape but, as Tolkien said, "The Flight of the Deserter," that is, if I have legitimate duties that I intentionally and knowingly neglect or shirk because of what I do here.

lurcherlover
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Post by lurcherlover » January 17th, 2019, 11:10 pm

I suppose that certain distractions and to be able to think about them, and the creative things I do for Librivox or whatever, keep the demons at bay. Very occasionally doing commercial work does also keep me in a sort of happy escapism but it does add some pressure of deadlines. Obsession is another thing on which I have to keep a tight reign, or things get a bit unpleasant.

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Post by lurcherlover » January 17th, 2019, 11:19 pm

Cori wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 1:18 pm
Interesting that you're combining (in your first post, at least, if not necessarily in reality) obsession and escapism, Peter. They seem very different to me, though both worthy of thought.
Whilst being very different, they can be linked, at least in the way my mind works, but I suppose a more normally balanced person would see them differently. But walking my dog and looking after my wife, (although she looks after me even more) keeps me sane.

(I do have an obsession with microphones and recording equipment though and I have to try and control these things as much as possible).

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Post by Nedge » January 18th, 2019, 12:29 pm

Anything fun can be seen as escapism, or not. It depends on how one looks at it.

Librivox is fun for me. I enjoy recording, much as I enjoyed reading aloud for hours to my five children. I like the community here, and I also like shutting the door and doing this fun thing for an hour or two when I can. It's not escape, per se, but it DOES keep me from fretting over my clients when I should be taking the evening or weekend to recharge my batteries.

That's it -- Librivox is a battery recharger!

Nan
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Post by Boomcoach » January 18th, 2019, 1:19 pm

I agree with Nan that almost anything can be seen as escapism. For myself, reading, especially fiction, certainly is escapism. I move away from the "real world" for a little while, but almost everything I have read has given me some insight into that same "real world" so I don't mind escaping for a little while.

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Post by cowguy02 » March 8th, 2019, 5:18 pm

lurcherlover wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 12:39 am
I'm always a bit obsessive about certain things. When I was a musician then I was obsessive about music, and now I'm no longer playing I'm obsessive about Librivox, and recording as much as I can. I suppose I have always been obsessed with recording, in the past music, but now voice narration.

The Oxford dictionary describes the word thus :- escapism - the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.

So, is this some sort of (incurable) disease, and how many of you think you might suffer from it?
Yes that is what it is but it was a lot more fun before you called it out!!!!!
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Post by Elizabby » March 8th, 2019, 7:16 pm

lurcherlover wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 12:39 am
The Oxford dictionary describes the word thus :- escapism - the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.
Not at all. For me Librivox is my creative outlet. I like working with text (especially children's books) and especially thinking of all the different voices that a dramatic work involves, bringing the readers together to create something genuinely worthwhile and new. I also see a lot of value in PLing, and I can do this as I knit or crochet, so I combine my love of reading and creating in a different way! LV also taps into my love of learning, which I see very much as a lifetime endeavour. Through LV I've read Dickens, Hardy and other authors I wouldn't have had the patience to read for myself. I've enjoyed again classics such as Pride and Prejudice and The Secret Garden, and introduced my children to Dr Dolittle! It's also my legacy, and will allow my children and perhaps even my grandchildren to hear my voice after I am gone.

LV is also a community which gives me interaction with people - something I miss since semi-retiring from work. My health doesn't allow me to go bike-riding or to the gym anymore, but LV is a low-pressure environment where I do what I can when I have time and energy for it. I can do a five minute recording or answer a couple of posts or look at a few new books from the Suggestions forum, if I'm crashing hard post-chemotherapy I can take a couple of days off, then come back and pick up again. It isn't like when I was at work and felt immense pressure to not let the team down, or not let patients down, and I had to do it even if I was sick or tired or brain-foggy.

When I want escapism, I watch TV or play computer games - those are much more passive activities which are mere distraction or entertainment. After spending many, many hours in hospital waiting rooms I am acutely aware of the difference!

Also, there is nothing wrong with a bit of escapism. It definitely has its uses! My reality can be sitting in a chemotherapy chair for eight hours at a time. A bit of escapism keeps me sane! Distraction and relief from unpleasant realities is quite different from despair or neglect of bettering oneself or one's situation. I've chosen to undergo chemotherapy as the best course for my health, but distraction from the reality of it is a legitimate coping mechanism. True flight from reality would be to rip out the IV line and go for a walk in the park!

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