Escape into Meaning: Essays on Superman, Public Benches, and Other Obsessions

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Escape into Meaning: Essays on Superman, Public Benches, and Other Obsessions

Escape into Meaning: Essays on Superman, Public Benches, and Other Obsessions

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Learning, you learn, is not really a process of expanding your mind, but of watching it shrink against all there is to know. I find that once I articulate something in speech, it sticks in my mind more or less intact—but only for a little while. The point of school was to get good grades, and the point of good grades was to get into a good college, and the point of a good college was to get a good job, and the point of a good job was some or maybe all of the following: (a) to make money; (b) to be happy; (c) to be independent and not live at home; (d) to seem desirable to potential romantic partners; (e) to not be the type of person your parents are embarrassed by when they’re at a dinner party and everyone is talking about their kids. The essays in this book follow the same pattern of thoughtfulness, deliberation, and tact that his video essays carry.

At first, I treated college the same as I treated high school, riding the momentum of thinking one way for a dozen years. At nineteen, I needed more than confidence; I needed permission to break free from the only value system I’d ever known, a value system shared by so many in my social universe.I hope not, but I don’t know how to fix it, so I should probably leave the indictments to those who do.

I just wish everybody would express themselves a little more like that instead of cringing in conformity. The Comforts of Cyberpunk (together with Escape into Meaning - which I consider somewhat of a part 2) where Evan explores the aspects that make the dystopian cyberpunk aesthetic so appealing to himself and others.What angels invented these splendid ornaments, these rich conveniences, this ocean of air above, this ocean of water beneath, this firmament of earth between? But to look at this as a stand-alone literary work:most of the essays poorly break some rules that make the arguments fall flat or the writing feel disjointed. R. James, from Edgar Allan Poe’s terrifying tale of a doppelganger to Charlotte Riddell’s Open Door that should definitely stay shut, join Stephen as he tells you some truly terrifying tales. Puschak shrewdly uses it as a counterpoint to his other essay The Comforts of Cyberpunk, which is about letting go of these feeling of powerlessness about the state of the world and embracing the comforting idea that you only have to take care of yourself in a world that is wildly out of control.

A pioneer of the “video essay” format, his YouTube videos — in which he critiques fine art, film, literature and more — have more than 223 million views. I wanted to retrieve the cloudy, half-formed thoughts from my head and give them shape, make them real. Here he dissects the blissfulness of sitting on a public bench in Barcelona, watching the world go by during the covid-19 pandemic. When I finally crossed the college checkpoint and arrived at Boston University in 2006, a school perfectly “good enough” for my parents, I was a deeply uninspired person, trained to view education as a game, not a source of joy or fulfillment.His closing essay provided me with a great amount of inspiration and insight into how to make progress on an artistic endeavor. The deeper he dives into his privatest, secretest presentiment, to his wonder he finds this is the most acceptable, most public and universally true. The dumb way to review that book would be to challenge's Evan Puschak's opinion with my own and analyse how correct his worldview is. So many of my professors at BU were obsessed with their subjects, and that enthusiasm was infectious.



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