I've been visiting all my usual places of distraction, and there is no escaping the awfulness that is currently going on in the world. The local newspaper has a highly-paid commentator using two horrible massacres in one day to attack Democrats. On social media, nice ladies I met in bellydance classes are reminding everyone that it isn't about guns. JFC. I need some SPACE, and I can't find it.
But that's been part of the problem that led us to this moment: so many people willfully putting their heads in the sand. How to strike that balance, between paying attention and going crazy, or becoming apathetic?
So I've been thinking about the difference between "escapism" in a specifically defined way (as avoidance of reality) and creativity, imaginatively exploring ideas that can expand our options, something I think can only make the world healthier. I'm sure I've used books and movies and things in an escapist way, turning into myself and avoiding the external world. But a lot of these creative works serve to connect us to the larger world, to explore moral problems, to think about the way things could be different and better. I don't think it's helped the world, that options are so limited, that the color palette is so dimmed, that people feel squashed into cookie cutters. Yeah, I'm strawpersoning, but you know what I mean.
One of the things that I have envied gamers is in having another way to bring this aspect of individual expression into their lives, to color their realities. Of course sometimes it doesn't work to make those realities better. But even for the squalid stereotypes of overweight isolated introverts in their parents' basements -- would removing gaming automatically give them social skills, jobs, a meaningful place in a world where the best many can hope for is a bullshit job? (Go read David Graber's Bullshit Jobs
Even the mass media blockbusters can bring us hope, make us think, and again, stimulate our minds and our imaginations, the best part of our species.
We've been talking about dusting off an early Star Wars
RPG that I might be able to get the hand of, so this might be a good time!