How to Value Individuality and Create an Enstatic School
Chapter 10: Into Great Silence
Into Great Silence
I enjoy solitude when I am alone around the house … with no-one to tell me to shut up— PHILIPPA (aged 12–13)
Introduction: Quietened by Bodily Delights
It was Augustine, no less, who described his infancy in this way: ‘I knew nothing more than how to suck and to be quietened by bodily delights, and to weep when I was physically uncomfortable’ (Augustine 1991: 7). Augustine was very careful in his writing, and we should note that this is described as something he ‘knew’. For the rest of our lives, we know how to be quietened, but how often do we forget how important this is, whether quietened by bodily delights or by curiosity or love or sadness. Troubles are subject to ‘the talking cure’, and we are encouraged to express ourselves, loudly and proudly; many of us fill in the gaps with loud television programmes or music. I am a huge fan of talking cures and of self-expression, and most of my solitary times (including writing this book) are accompanied by music. But I am also a fan of quietude. Many people and many schools seem to have forgotten this quiet way of life. It is sad that something learned as an infant could be so easily forgotten. Solitude is a form of disengagement, and disengagement can be ‘perceptual, cognitive, emotional, [and] actional’ (Koch 1994: 52, quoted above in Chapter 4). Although silence is defined in...
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