Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Rae Renzi | Escapism: (Arguably) a Critical Skill for Survival
Author Guest / February 16, 2011

Why are do we get hooked on fiction? What in us supports the reading habit and the huge industry that feeds it? Escapism of course. Escapism has a bad rep. Undeservedly, in my (possibly self-serving) opinion. I think that far from being a sign of mental deterioration, it is a hallmark of adaptation. Animals, humans included, evolve in response to stress of one kind or another. Not going deep into Darwinism here, but survival of the fittest is the basic rule. Early on, this meant those who had the skills to get food, to run off competitors, to ward off threats and to abundantly procreate won the day. (Sound familiar? The romantic hero/heroine is a prototype for successful biological adaptation.) These days we have come up with group solutions to most of the stressors: we no longer have to chase down our food, we have laws to define our turf, police to deal with threats to life and limb, and procreation in vast numbers—no longer necessary to the survival of the species—is now frowned upon. Along the way, we’ve collected a host of other stressors: various health woes because we don’t have to chase down our food, annoying neighbors we…