I do not remember what exactly I read and when, but it did start making me think about “escapism”. There is this track of Das Ding with the constantly repeating sample/vocals: “why is my life so boring, why is my internet so slow?” Obviously a reference to a futile ‘importance’ of a certain element in the life of the young. If happiness in life depends on the speed of your internet connection, something must be wrong.
Then again, what is it that should make life enjoyable? Partying? Work? Family and friends? Or rather: being successful? Holidays to faraway countries? A bigger car than the neighbours? Peace of mind perhaps? The knowledge that you will live on in some way in your children and grandchildren? Are not many of these things purely ‘Western’ / ‘modern’ goals to fill what appears to be a void?
For many years I had the feeling that much of ‘modern life’ mostly is indeed the filling of an existence the usefulness of which is questionable. I never cared about ‘career’, making tons of money, big cars, far away vacations, buying tons of useless things. So what do I do? Study, read and oh yes, I do have some modern appetites: music and film.
My studies have make me encounter many interesting subjects. All kinds of religions, mythologies, esotericism, interesting people, exotic ideas, thought-provoking theories. For a (too short) while these studies inspired me to investigate things, write articles, contemplate subjects. In times I do not have the time for such subjects I even have the idea to miss something that I ‘need’, something that takes my mind away from the maelstrom of life …….. Is that not actually the same as listening to music or watching a film? Is not that study just as much escapism as the other two activities?
When I think about what it brought me, it is hard to write up a list. Sure, I can tell you a thing or two about some subjects, but nowadays I do not know much by heart. Does studying make me a better person, or rather the other way around? I am also interested in marginal currents, sometimes even thinkers that many people disagree with. I have developed a world-view that is at points quite far from what is perceived ‘normal’ in the society that I live in. Is it actually not much easier to just go with the flow, not think about things too much? Go about daily life. Work, gym, watch the newest and most popular films and series, go to parties and visit family?
Maybe so, but I am afraid that is not me. I am not good around people. I may read a lot, but to most people I have little to say. The music that I listens to, nobody knows. I know but few people who share my interests in music or other subjects and I see them very infrequently. In my life there have been only a few people who really inspired me. Of course it happens sometimes that some (online) contact mentions something that ‘gets me going’, but it has been a long time since I had a ‘project’ to keep me occupied for a while. I have made several websites about different approaches to the subject of Freemasonry which was fun to do, but there hardly is feedback. The Farwerck website does result in an occasional email and I sometimes run into new information, but that is maybe work for a few hours. Besides, all that is just passing information. What does it bring me?
For a while I told myself that I walk the path of Jnana Yoga. I am not interested in Hatha Yoga, meditation, mindfulness, etc. Jnana Yoga is a path of knowledge/study with the idea that in the end, the ratio will ‘outgrow’ itself, be the step stone that ‘higher faculties’ can use to ‘jump to the next level’. I doubt this is a realistic thought. Is that not a bit the idea of the Baron von Munchhausen who pulled himself out of the swamp by his own hair?
Should I focus on these ‘higher faculties’? Do they exist? Will that help me make me feel life is not just a dreary chain of events? I doubt it. I guess I am one of those pessimistic thinkers who thinks that in our Kali Yuga things are more likely to do ‘down’ than ‘up’.
So like many people I just keep myself busy. Not with the hottest video games and the newest episodes of “Squid Games”, but music that nobody likes, films that nobody needs to see, books that nobody wants to hear about and websites that nobody reads. Just escapism while believing that my interests are ‘better’ than those of the majority, while I actually am just as much a lost Westerner as the next woman, man or something in between.
Sorry about all this. Passed halfway of my life and wondering what the next half will bring. Midlife crisis? Nah, it’s actually not much different from the past decades. It is Will and perseverance that make me keep filling my void, sometimes with sharing things online in the hope that it may help someone in some way. (The above will not be one of these things.)
I can only hope I will continue to find forms of escapism that I enjoy. Things that inspire me would be better though.