What is Escapology?

It’s the art of escape from modern traps. These include debt, stress, unrewarding work, marketing, noise, corporate values, mauvaise fois, depression, bureaucracy, and obstacles to doing what you most want to do. Escapology asks you to consider the circumstances in which you’d most like to live and then encourages you to find a practical way to engineer them, ideally with a sense of play and adventure.

What is the magazine like?

The magazine is no longer in production, but all thirteen issues are still available to buy in print and PDF formats. It was written to stand the tests of time, without the usual magazine clutter like news items and product reviews, so the content has remained relatively fresh.

Each issue is a compendium of essays and anecdotes about Escapology. Some are “how to” pieces while others are stories based on experience. The magazine has its own consistent look, typeset to a distinctive scheme. It is square in format. Issue One is our shortest issue at 34 pages and Thirteen is our longest at 122 pages. New Escapologist was released to an irregular schedule between 2007 and 2017.

Why did you close the magazine?

It was hard work and, after thirteen issues, we reached peak pay-off. The spirit of the magazine lives on in the newsletter.

Can I write for the magazine and/or website?

In the days of the magazine, we’d welcome unsolicited submissions from people who’d read our contributor guidelines. Today we’re unlikely to want guest content but if you think you’ve really got something for our blog or the newsletter, please get in touch.

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

Actually, the publishing of New Escapologist was not-for-profit. It makes no money and never did. You can escape by embracing minimalism, embracing the Epicurean pleasures, and learning how to handle money. New Escapologist Issue Three: the Practicalities Issue and the book Escape Everything! are sources of information on how you can escape.

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

We recognise Universal Basic Income, free movement, automation, and an end to the Protestant Work Ethic as social values worth hoping and campaigning for. They represent escape for all and, in some cases, seem to be gaining international traction. As individuals, however, we cannot wait for this utopia to arrive and Escapology is the answer until then. And who knows? Once escaped, your mind may naturally turn to this sort of activism.

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 help answer this question in a sarcastic level of detail, our editor Mr. Wringham keeps an online diary to document a post-escape life. There is also a chapter dedicated to answering this question in Escape Everything!

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

Minimalism doesn’t advocate living in a white-walled box. That would be something like “nothingism.” Instead, here’s an expert answer from 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 challenge to mobility.

Why do you dislike television so much?

Because it advocates popular opinion. Escapologists should seek to build muscles of resistance instead of accepting whatever is popular or conventional. It also dictates where and when you pay attention; any technology that informs your actions or behaviour should be escaped.

Does your project have anything to do with Houdini?

He was the inspiration for it. We use Escapology as a metaphor. Here’s a clarifying excerpt from An invitation to Escapology:

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.