What is Escapology?

It’s about deftly avoiding the potential traps of modern life: debt, stress, unrewarding work, marketing, noise, corporate values, bureaucracy and over-government. It’s about embracing freedom, Anarchy and Absurdity. It’s about overcoming miserliness, passive-aggression, mauvaise fois and submission. Escapology asks you to consider the circumstances in which you would most like to live and encourages you to find a way of engineering them.

What is the magazine like?

Each issue is a compendium of funny and existential essays and anecdotes relating to Escapology. It is beautifully typeset, it is square, it is released to an irregular schedule, it is between 34 and 110 pages, and it can be purchased here.

Why produce a print magazine?

We love the Internet but it has its limitations. The instant-publishing process of blogging and podcasting is convenient, direct and nicely guerrilla but doesn’t lend itself well to content of true quality. The old-fashioned publishing process involves lots of editing and sub-editing: it has the quality control that websites rarely have.

Can I write for the magazine and/or website?

Yes. If you want to write for the magazine, please check our contributor guidelines and then get in touch.

It’s alright for you with your fancy publishing business but how am I supposed to escape?

Actually, the publishing business is not-for-profit. New Escapologist makes no money. You can escape by embracing minimalism, embracing idle pleasures and learning how to use money. New Escapologist Issue Three: the Practicalities Issue is one source of information on how you can escape.

Isn’t it better to try to change the world’s shortcomings than escape them?

You’re welcome to try. People have been trying to improve the world or smash the system for years. The problem is that individual movements all have their own ideas on how the world should be run. There will never be a universally-satisfactory outcome. Escapologists recognise that life is short. We opt for ‘flight’ over ‘fight’ and to ignore the system where others would smash it.

What would I do if I didn’t go to work?

There are many options. Escapologists have reported enjoying travel; charity work; political activism; cottage industry; dedication to an art or craft; physical challenges; autodidactism; and decadent laziness. To go some way to answering this question, I maintain an online diary to document my post-escape life. It’s called An Escapologist’s Diary.

Why be a minimalist? Who wants to live in a white-walled box?

I’ll hand over to Leo Babauta (who fields more questions about minimalism here and here).

It’s a way to escape the […] excesses of consumerism, material possessions, clutter, having too much to do, too much debt, too many distractions, too much noise. But too little meaning. Minimalism is a way of eschewing the non-essential in order to focus on what’s truly important, what gives our lives meaning, what gives us joy and value.

What does minimalism have to do with Escapology?

One of the most important things to strive for as an Escapologist is mobility. Each possession or dependency is a threat to mobility.

Why do you dislike television so much?

Because it advocates popular opinions. Escapologists should seek to build muscles of resistance instead of accepting whatever is popular, fashionable or conventional.

Because it dictates where and when you pay attention. Any technology that informs your actions or behaviour should be avoided.

Because it is an unnecessary commitment and an enemy of mobility.

Does your project have anything to do with Houdini?

He was the inspiration for it. We use escapology as a metaphor:

Houdini’s popularity as an escape artist came about during a time of technological and political revolution. It was during the 1900s that Ransom Eli Olds implemented the first mass production of marketable cars, Thomas Edison’s phonograph made a commodity out of music, and the colonial expansion of Europe and America prompted the birth of the somewhat unpleasant political period known now as New Imperialism. Technologies and movements initially plugged as liberating would soon be discovered by thinkin’ types to be nasty, horrible traps designed only to placate, segment and enfeeble. When people become dependent upon companies or governments to entertain them, to transport them, to plan their days and to import their goods, they forget what it is to be free, alive and autonomous.

The work of Houdini and his contemporaries escaped the province of curiosity – that of conjuring and ventriloquism – and into the universe of metaphor.

Taken from An invitation to New Escapology.