I was recently going through a difficult time, experiencing multiple stressors, most of which could be attributed to having been out of my daily orbit, away from the comfort of hearth and home. I had done some traveling abroad and though I enjoyed it immensely, it had been stressful. Upon my return home, I was heading into town to get a new driver’s license (to replace the one lost when my wallet had been lifted in Rome) and I was contemplating several other stressors in my life that had accumulated as a result of the trip abroad. A line from Hamlet flashed through my mind, “Oh, if I could be bound in a nutshell and there be the king of infinite spaces.”
I knew what he meant. I wanted to retreat to my “nutshell”, which would have been my hearth and home, and if I could never, never, ever, ever leave those safe confines then all would be well. I could amuse myself with caring for my lovely dachshunds, my lovely wife, taking care of my yard and garden, feeding the lovely birds which deign to visit me each day, then all would be well. I would need no more! As some old c & w song goes, “Let the world go away…”
But, “mindfulness” immediately visited me and I noted what was going on, noting the lunacy of retreating to any private world, any “nutshell.” Escapism is never anything but escapism To be a human is to be engaged in the world and thus to be subject to the “thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir too” (Shakespeare). Retreating is always tempting but it is not reality
Yes, the world is ugly. But if I retreat to my “nutshell”, I am still face-to-face with a profound ugliness—my own. I’m reminded of an old bromide from decades ago, “A man who lives by himself, and for himself, will be spoiled by the company he keeps.”
An afterthought—I think the home-schooling people need to be aware of this issue.