Sunday, 3 December 2006
Look over there—Lady Macbeth is still scrubbing at her hands. For her it’s not a problem; it’s a routine. It’s how she feels comfortable. You might stop her doing it, forcibly, and save her fingers from blisters; but to do so would only result in more severe blisters on the skin of her mind. Leave her alone. Obsessive compulsions, most of them minor, are surprisingly ubiquitous in society. There are reasons why. Many of these repetitive actions are codified by society (religious ritual, say); some are privately arrived at and privately observed; a very small number are treated as if they were pathological. I’d suggest the reverse; they are, in their myriad variety, a necessary prophylaxis against the chaos of the universe.