Monday, January 18, 2010


Atheists have confessed to going to empty churches in search of solitude. Religious have confessed to going to toilets in search of solitude. Busy executives harassed by endless interruptions of telephone calls, and knocks on their doors have found that toilets are places of contemplation and creativity. Mobile phones and bleepers slip into toilets too. Psychoanalysts may consider such events non-accidental. Parents search solitude in toilets. Away from their children and spouses. Children can be scared of toilets and it appears that political campaigners know it. Now some have exploited this fear of toilets in their campaign to preserve water by having a running toilet (see photo on the left) to scare children. No Royal flush is no longer acceptable. Children fear sometimes things coming up from water like a monster. I had a patient, a sweet, little girl who expected a huge shark to turn up in her tiny toilet. Some institutions like our National Health Service in UK under the pressure of the religious groups allocated rooms known as "quiet room" for the observance of faith. However, these facilities are not private and anybody can walk in. They are usually avoided by most. I wonder if the future architects would design solitary cells to accommodate human need for solitude. Something we all need. Human beings can be vicious beyond imagination, and at the lower end of the scale spiteful out of their own fears, usually fears of facing their own inadequacy and inferiority. Solitude is a great escape from envious attacks and intrigues. There is also expectation that human beings as social animals must be social at all times and that living with others at home is a sign of health. But solitude can be both an escape from cruelty of human beings and allow one the time for: creativity, healing, happy reflection on past events and being more in control of whom one lets in into that precious space of personal intimacy. In solitude great works of art, science and politics were completed for the benefit of society for centuries to come. Hardly, antisocial behaviour. Those who have anti-social personality have used their solitary time to plot destruction and wicked pleasures. Solitude is also a bit of anxiety provoking situation to insecure people as they feel excluded and not in control of what those who live alone actually do. There is a science fiction writer who predicted different future, where there are more people living alone in a state that controls everything including their genetic make up. I find it interesting, as it actually suggests that state would view people living alone as a threat unless their genetic make up is also controlled. Creativity can be a threat. Blackboard covered in a chalky writing gets erased for new material. But what if everything we have worked for our whole life is erased from history for ever because somebody comes along who is more creative, more persuasive and more successful? Fate worse than death for those who dream of eternal significance for themselves. Envy of creative people can lead to destruction of those people but also to growth by actually helping those people and feeling part of it. Rich aristocrats knew that one has to conquer own envy and supported arts. Some are remembered only because of that. Everybody has to deal with their envy, but it does require work. Sometimes very little: A kind word of support is all that is sometimes needed. Giving someone space to be alone and not harassing them with social expectations. At other times an awful lot of work is required if trying to entice a great person to live with you.

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