Philosophical Rambling: Escapism

bill-sarah at bill-sarah at
Tue Jul 18 20:38:50 EDT 2000

On the whole books as a drug issue:  books might not be physically
addictive, but neither is one of the other things commonly compared to a
drug: religion.  (I hope, at least, that it's not physically addictive).
Lots of people, Marx most notably, have suggested similarites between
religion and drugs.  I don't believe that most people who are religious are
using their faith like a drug, but I do think that in some cases people do.
I've got an uncle, for example, who was an alcoholic for a while, and ended
up giving it up and becoming a Jew for Jesus.  From what I see, religion for
him now fills most of the needs that booze used to fill.    It fills his
emptinesses, helps him escape, and keeps him safe.  These days, religion is
his drug of choice.  He might not agree with me, but he thinks that fantasy
and magic are evil, so he won't know.

> Britta:
> + Hallie's mail ticked me off on another tangent:
> [fantasy books as escapist drugs]
> Well, um. I think not. Tempting as it is to cast books as "smart drugs",
> they seem not to have toxic or degenerative effects no matter how
> they are or how many you consume. Their "good" effects are not
> linked: reading 8 a night will not necessarily make you a better or worse
> person than the girl-next-door who reads 1 every 2 nights.
> I don't think books would ever count as clinically addictive, either,
> their pages were imprinted with an actual substance, and that would be
> cheating. It's not a physical craving I feel for books.
> They can fill emptiness, or be comforting, but not in a chemical
> of one's emotive state or in a way that's guaranteed to have a specified
> + self-righteous about not doing any drugs, not even alcohol,
> which is fair enough. Do you exercise to the point of endorphin rush?
> Do you eat chocolate, or drink coffee/tea? Do you suffer from Seasonal
> Affective Disorder (in which case, light can be a drug)?
> + Reading, especially fantasy is just another way to escape,
> The side-effects of alcohol are possibly slightly beneficial, and in
> excess are toxic (I drink, by the way). I don't think a DWJ binge could
> harm one (my parents' comments on reading under the covers seemed silly
> - I'm longsighted now!).
> Books are compulsive and often broaden one's horizons with new
> Given that they have no measurable clinical effect, though, I'd say
> is a sloppy term. And in describing a book, you're unlikely to be quite as
> silly as a drug-visionary trying to convey the import of a chemical vision
> ("Man, if you stand on the table, you can, like, *touch the ceiling*").
> Tanaqui
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