On a similar topic, the need for retreat:

I believe that teaching today, in all and any context, must involve the strategies of the psychoanalyst. That’s how traumatizing our pleasure-culture has become, not by being pleasurable but by denying our ability to rest. I’m reminded of Zizek’s remarks on Lenin who withdrew to Switzerland in the dire times of 1915 to a kind of inner repose in which he read Hegel. When he re-emerged, it was with the refined capacity to strike at the heart of the matter.


I’d put this in the same context as Malcolm X’s experience of studying in prison. In fact it’s true of many revolutionary leaders, that they move from being jailed on political grounds, straight to leading a mass movement. I’d taken it as an impressive sign of strength of character — but perhaps even the isolation of jail can provide something of value*.

See also this HN discussion of doing nothing for 2 minutes. And this is discussion from a high-energy technophile crowd, appreciating the value of stepping back from the cycle.

* to be clear, not trying to be rosy about this — being locked up is a soul-destroying experience for most, even if there is occasionally a small silver lining.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *