Edited on: 13.10.09.

2009-01-08-135490

Upon returning to this here blog, I discovered a link I had put in an otherwise blank draft post entitled “On Escapism.” (The link was to the curious essay “The Rabbit Hole: Anime and Escapism” from the on-hiatus or defunct Tachikomatic Days.) It was apparently part of an ongoing discussion, one which I intend to extricate from solely anime-watching and assorted nerdery.

No, what I wish to discuss today is the concept I call “cocooning,” or the deliberate and repeated self-withdrawal into private worlds of either one’s own or someone else’s devising.1 I’m no stranger to it, and I doubt you are either. In our current postmodern cultural climate, where everything seems to be subject to change and pop culture rewards us with endless variations on the same themes, cocooning could be considered an almost sensible response. But I digress…

As both a Christian and a person who cares about what’s real and what’s not, the brief but profound isolation from reality that is escapism causes at least titters of worry on my part. At one point, I maintained a full-blown obsession about it, if you can believe that. In any case, we all have our little cocoons of ephemera to amuse us and belief to sustain us, so in one way it’s unavoidable. Part of it, I suppose, is the old dividing line between what makes a hobby a hobby and an obsession an obsession. Like food or drink, it might be up to us to use such things responsibly. I’ve seen some even suggest that, especially among consumers of more creative cultural products, the obsession in question may provide a good mirror of their own lives and conduct and a worthy tool of reflection. I for one have always used concepts, the written word, and other inanimate personages to learn more about myself.

I suppose I’m saying all this because I maintain a healthy (in size, not in actual health) cocoon around myself these days. I feel more aware of those around me than I used to, however.

God willing, we won’t end up as the dessicated husks with a telepresence depicted in every major sci-fi dystopia from The Matrix to Surrogates.

Gentle reader, I yield the floor to you: what’s your opinion on this matter?

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1Good gracious, that’s a convoluted definition. What am I, Samuel Johnson?

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