Man taking a shower. Click for attribution and to enlarge

While I was taking my shower at 8 this morning a simple truth suddenly hit me.

So after breakfast (fruits, honey, Soya milk and a very strong espresso) and after getting dressed (I usually dress very well when I need to pull myself together) I went into my library and searched for an old worn-out book, The Conquest of Happiness, London, George Allen & Unwin, 1930.

I read aloud the very well known passage I was looking for:

“One of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important, and that to take a holiday would bring all kinds of disaster”.

[Bertrand Russell, 1930]

Well, I won’t take a holiday because I’m having too much fun, but I’ll slow down a bit and start yoga.

51 thoughts on “Why Taking Showers Can Be Good for Mental Health

  1. A teacher of mine told us about his experience teaching an old French priest, in Paris before the 39-45 war, what a shower was. He brought the class down when he said: “When I thought he had understood, he looked at me and said «But you must get your cassock all wet»”
    The man on your photo must have been of the same generation.


  2. That book of Russell’s was a teenage favorite of mine. I remember his comment about the too-examined self — comparing self absorbed people to a sausage machine that considers itself too wondrous and complex, too deserving of examination and admiration, to make sausage.

    He also commented that the happiest man he ever met believed that the British were two of the lost tribes of Israel, if only it could be proven.


    1. That’s a nice one!

      I remember we discussed somewhere Russell’s view of religion. I like his ideas very much. He is always very clear and deep, though remaining simple and understandable by everybody. I wish people wrote like him today, but they don’t. In India they do at times.

      I remember another great sentence of his, from that same work, that is very classical oriented, about ‘otium’:

      “To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilisation.”

      Leisure is growing in rich countries, and also the power of filling it stupidly.


  3. @Andreas

    Thank you for appreciating. It seems it is already a few times we muse about this topic. As in your post where you said you were ‘shrinking’ your blog.


    1. It is rumoured that the remnant of Andreas’adherents will each receive a complimentary copy of his book. Each will contain an individual comment, sometimes complimentary, sometimes not, but always signed and dated.


      1. Really? I can’t believe it 🙂 What an idea. And I always loved this English expression: “It is rumoured that …” You people may be reluctant to marriage proposals but you’ve created a wonderful language we can continue to woo you with 😉


          1. You can count on it! Start by sending me you phone number. After at least 3 years of blogging discussions, maybe more, I think it is high time man.

            Amico mio tu sei. I’ll send you mine by e-mail right now.


        1. Never too hot to drink wine. Meeting you and The Commentator face to face in the same place would be a worthwhile experience.
          I’ll take a shower before going.


        2. Never too hot to drink wine.

          One more reason to visit you people. Here in July ….

          Paul, meeting face to face you and Alessandro (and Philippe too!) over a couple of good wine bottles it would be one of the happiest moment in my life. And I am no type of man not to be sincere in such matters.
          I think you know it Paul, and I know it too you people out there (Phil also!) are very sincere people.

          My, I may sound pathetic, but frankly I don’t give a damn.


          1. I heard no ranting. And I’m sure about your wine, since, French people (New World Italians are no different), even if from the New World, art still French people, and after all who cares about wine – as long as I can drink good Scotch that the party may begin!


  4. That Bertrand Russell is a smart guy. Forecast the Emperor’s importance … wait let me count… 59 years before he was born. 😛

    Seriously though, I like showering after a tiring day. And since it’s summer now, I’d be happy to shower the whole day. *rushes off to petition boss for a shower at his desk*


    1. Ahhhmwaauuooaahhhh!!!

      Ashish, my best Indian male friend ever and forever!!

      Listen now man seriously

      As for your imperial territories and their encounter / clash with Western territories, I got a couple of comments / discussions that beg for some Indian insight, ok?

      Will you see to it? You, or, if you don’t want, Nita, Poonam Sharma, Destination Infinity, Amil, Amith, Vivek S. Khadpekar, Nomad, Reema, or any other you can think of?

      Will you spread the news for me, for your favourite and official imperial historian ever?

      From *here*, *here* especially where I also speak of India and the rest, and *here*, where I play and sing inviting the UK to love the continent and join us 😉

      Which is a comment on this:

      [“Aren’t the French and the British lost in an opiate dream that they can still play a world role ‘of their own’? Aren’t their imperial souvenirs damaging our region – the Eu – since they delay with their outmoded dreams its becoming the US of Europe ie a federal state like India or the US are, at present the EU being irresolute, divided, weakest politically? With the huge challenges ahead of us? With the Bric countries (Brasil, Russia, India, China = 50% of world population!) developing so fast? I mean, is this opiate dream of grandeur intelligent? Is it smart-thinking? Is it saving our ass in the medium range? It isn’t. DAMN. It isn’t.]

      I love you my friend! – but mind I am no gay and prefer chicks, of the unbaked type you prefer too ça va sans dire 😉


        1. Ah ah ah, You are sweet Nita!!

          Well, not so difficult I hope, I’ll try to explain.

          Italians are European, so I am talking about our region, Europe.

          Here the EU (European Union) is getting progressively tighter towards a federal state, like India or the US are: several states that got together and founded a nation, with central govmt, military, foreign policy etc.

          It seems natural to me that in the near-medium future the small will succumb in the Big Game, the bigger won’t.

          Now it turns, the most successful European states, the UK and France play an outmoded opiate-nostalgic-dream prima donna role (together they are just 100 million) and in a way or another delay the making of the United States of Europe (especially the UK to be honest: being an island they fear a United Europe: why, aren’t they European too? They were a Roman province lol for 400 years, much longer than the British empire. But in any case.)

          Now why you Nita. Well, as a citizen from India – a huge federal democracy (500 different languages and ethnicities maybe?) – that works despite understandable problems – what can you say to the British to appease their anxiety since the UK keep telling us: “You’ll never make it” and I reply “India made it and was perhaps less homogeneous & more varied than Europe, why the hell should not we make it for Chrissake?”

          You see, it’s a survival thing, not cafe talk imo. The Bric countries (Brasil, Russia, India, Chima = 50% of world population) are developing fast. A question of math, given today’s trends. In 20 years maximum things will be totally CHANGED.

          America will remain powerful. But Europe? It will decline quickly if it remains divided by petty national nostalgic-big-powers calculations.

          So I say: you UK people are short-sighted. What the hell is this pride (or fear) about? 50 million people, may they impede a great ideal such as a European nation (that Rome realised 2000 years back which made us all similar btw?) You may leave the Eu if you will, but why staying and dismantling the process from within?

          Continentals’ (right or wrong) impression is that they do (Trojan horse we call it from a foundation Western Greek poem like Mahabaratha or Ramayana are foundational to you people out there)

          I mean, we’re just annoying mosquitoes. What’s the end of mosquitoes lol? Plus a multipolar world is after all more stable and might favour general peace and prosperity to all humankind.


          Thus being too wordily said, I told Ashish from Maharastra my next reincarnation will be a guy singing Italian opera music in a Mumbai restaurant 🙂


          1. “…a guy singing Italian opera music in Mumbai Restaurant.”

            Hmmmm! Maybe I’ll join you, E la fuggevol ora s’inebrii
            a voluttà


          2. I’m not sure what worries me more, dear Giovanni, the total mistakenness on the part of some concerning British motives or the revival of European hegemony and ambition for world domination. Lessons clearly still have to be learned and patience is required. We must not get too excited.

            Join the vision of many in Europe, including Britain, for a kinder, more tolerant, less arrogant place where due regard is given to differing points of view and outlooks, without coercion, and we may go forward together to create a new, better future together – a force for permanent good in the world – not an amalgam of cultures, but a safe haven where all may be fulfilled and flourish in peace,unity and variety. The old ways will tear Europe apart, as they always did.


          3. Okay, I get it. To put it simply, I think it will work better than it has for India. I am afraid I do not think it has worked very well for India but then in India the British just forced it down our throats. It would have worked better if right at the start the Indian Union had given space to different ethnicities and acknowledged differences but gave equal status and rights to different ethnicities, minorities, and languages. They do so now to some extent but only after a lot of heartburn and fighting and demands. This is not just about language.

            There is still a lot of resentment in India and you will understand it if you read *this post* which has more than a thousand comments and still active.

            I think the EU already has its own identities carved out pretty well and will find it easier to form something that will work better than India. How well I cannot say. Overall I think its good, because the weak will be protected by the strong from economic downfall. And you know what happens with a weak economy. It gives rise to discontent, violence and terrorism.


          4. I cannot speak for the errors made by anyone over half a century ago, Nita, but you sound some important warning notes for Europe.


          5. @Vivek S. Khadpekar

            I was expecting a bigger contribution from a man of your knowledge. But even just your presence is a gift, I really mean it Vivek!


      1. The problem with the EU is that de Gaulle actively excluded the UK throughout the formative years of the Common Market.

        That means that now the UK has to accept institutions which are foreign to our way of doing things. Little of what is important to us or to our culture finds expression. In view of the fact that our own institutions have developed over a period of more than 1000 years at great cost, we find that very trying and no allowance seems to be made by the others. They could easily accommodate us and perhaps learn from us as well. The Civil Law which predominates in Europe also jars with our own Common Law.

        It is all very ironic in view of the fact that Churchill was a pioneer in the concept of a united Europe, particularly since, with Germany, we have, I think, been net contributors throughout our membership and now we have a massive trade deficit. France has never budged on the inequities of the CAP. She does not attach our importance to the rule of law and to adherence to the multitude of regulations that emanate from Brussels. There is a vast overspend on administration and the finances are veiled in the obscurity and secrecy typical of all EU operations.

        Many, many here (including me) share the vision of a united Europe, but it is the way of going about things that is the problem. I may be wrong, but I sense that other member states are motivated more by self-interest than we are.

        We have no real voice. I know it is unreasonable to say it, but it is as though Napoleon and Hitler have their final victory over us.

        Please understand.


        1. I understand dear Richard. Now I am a bit tired. I will try to ponder every word you have written. Put this way it sounds much sweeter and better. You are a good man. But I always knew that.

          [I’m tired since I took a train this morning at 6:30 am to Tuscany since I can’t find my brand new tablet pc. It was not there. So it must be here, somewhere in my labyrinthian studio]


  5. That was a good one, MOR. 🙂
    Taking a shower always helps me to unclog my brain and negativity. Although I must admit, I spend way too much time taking a shower than a guy of my age should.
    Talking of Bertand Russell, I had tried reading his History of Western Philosophy – which is considered his most seminal work. That was anything but a simple read for me. Perhaps because one needs to have some background in that subject before one could devour HoWP.
    Not sure if you have watched his this very old, rare interview on you tube. Here it is: Fascinating stuff.


    1. @Dev

      What a great movie! A rare gift I appreciate so much Devinder!

      I confess – as regards the ‘history’ of philosophy only, not philosophy – I always had so many Italian and German books I didn’t find it reasonable to buy R’s tomes about it. But apart from mathematics, I have almost all R’s books, an excellent man from any point of view.

      I am happy that a young Indian Canadian like you read him. But, if you want to better understand both the West and the Indian heritage, especially where they intersect, I advise you Professor S. Radhakrishnan among the rest, my guide to the little I know of India complex heritage, amazing philosopher in both traditions –West and East – and also statesman, since he was the second President of India (1962–1967). Just his Indian Victorian prose is a pleasure in itself.


  6. I don’t take holidays because I don’t have a job. More importantly, on the entire World Wide Web you couldn’t find a pic of a hot chick taking a shower?


    1. Don’t whine CyberQuill since everyone of us at your age HAD A LOT of problems (I’d much prefer to have both your age and your problems and forget my darn 62 years). Unfortunately one learns how to live decently only when life is at its end.

      I was the one taking a shower, so a pic of a man was more appropriate, even though, right, chicks having showers, especially without clothes, are by far preferred in my book. Next time I take a shower I’ll show a naked chick – so my readers will think I am gay.

      By the way, in ancient Britannia, ie *here*, come check how your avatar is behaving. One never knows, your avatar’s name being Qwil. You’ll have an important role, I’m not kidding, even though I’m not sure this is enough to draw you over there.

      Ok, in the next chapter you’ll have a harem of chicks, ok? How many do you want? 20? 42? 64? You tell me the number. It is not difficult.


      1. MOR, Your sense of humor and wit is really something :). Btw, I checked that Rome is some couple of hundred miles from Cannes, same distance as what Paris is from Cannes. As you know, I will be at Cannes film festival around mid-May..there is a possibility I might visit Rome for few days. Of course you being there is a big attraction for me, apart from seeing your great historical city. I will keep you posted..I’m assuming you have the same email through which we interacted last year. Who knows we both might be sipping coffee together in a month from now 🙂


        1. Wonderful Devinder, I’ll be more than happy to receive you with due honour! Your film at the Cannes festival! Wow we readers of your blog have been following the making of it bit by bit.

          Come to my place Dev, so close to mighty Colosseum (400 yards), I have btw a place for at least 2 people at my home which is more or less independent, so you’ll meet a real Roman family or, if you want to be on your own there are hotels or B&B in my district at a reasonable price.

          It is Caelium (in Italian Celio), one of the historical 7 hills of Rome since on such hills Rome first developed, and one of the few true Roman neighbourhoods left.

          My area is right down-town, in the middle of everything, and a public transportation hub where you reach anywhere AND, it is ideal for young people: lots of cosy places, pubs, wine houses (and chicks, proliferating).

          I’ll send you all my contact infos by mail.

          Ciao then dear Dev, and arrivederci I hope!

          Man of Roma

          Btw, I checked that Rome is some couple of hundred miles from Cannes

          You made me laugh. Yes, compared to Canadian distances, Cannes and Rome are very near 🙂

          I liked that you preferred the idea of Rome instead of Paris. Paris is 1000 years old. Rome is exactly 2764 year-old. Since according to tradition Romulus founded Rome in 753 BCE on the 21rst of April. So yesterday it was Rome’s birthday.


          1. MOR, You are one of the sweetest persons I might have met, especially on the internet. I just read your email too. Thanks a lot for such a warm reply to my comment. I’m still smiling at your generous offer regarding staying at your home. 🙂 I’m very shy when it comes to staying at friends’ homes, but if I come we can figure out some nearby hotel/B&B for me to stay so that I can have your gracious company most of the times.
            I guess I will now try my best to make it to Rome, even if its for couple of days only. I will keep you posted since I have your coordinates now.
            Thanks once again. 🙂


      2. I don’t want a harem. I don’t even need one. All I want is health and money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money and money.

        At a signal from Richardus and Qwil the group’s women blessed with the bloom of beauty slowly advanced towards the centre of the hall that had been cleared for the purpose.

        That’s my important role? To given the signal to a female choir to commence chanting?


        1. Austria Man, Austria man, what can I do with you. A good woman is much much better than any money. With her you can build up your life and the money too, which is of course necessary.

          And, your role in the *Manius’ soap* is far from negligible. Think of it Vienna! You are part of the buds of course, but while the others are Celts, you have German blood from Pannonia (of course), and you can understand a bit the Angles & Saxons & Jutes and … and … great threads, fun (and teachings) can derive from ALL this.

          So cheer up man. You may be broke – I was too at your age – but at least you are part of a great epic …. :mrgreen:


  7. I signed up for Pilates and I love it.
    I’m aware it’s not yoga but it does have a beneficial effect on me.
    Buona Pasqua


    1. Pilates? Wth … in any case buona pasqua ‘piemontesina bella’!

      Come faceva quella vecchia canzone about a love in Turin? …ah yes, I found it on the web.
      So sad and beautiful. Sheer Mittle-Europa actually.

      Addio bei giorni passati,
      mia piccola amica ti devo lasciar,
      gli studi son già terminati
      abbiamo finito così di sognar.

      Lontan andrò
      dove non so;
      parto col pianto nel cuor,
      dammi l’ultimo bacio d’amor.

      Non ti potrò scordare
      piemontesina bella,
      sarai la sola stella
      che brillerà per me.

      Ricordi quelle sere
      passate al Valentino,
      col biondo studentino
      che ti stringeva sul cuor?

      Lolina, il tuo allegro studente,
      di un giorno lontano è adesso dottor,
      io curo la povera gente
      ma pur non riesco a guarire il muio cuor.

      La gioventù,
      non torna più.
      Quanti ricordi d’amor!
      A Torino ho lasciato il mio cuor.

      Ricordi quelle sere
      passate al Valentino,
      col biondo studentino
      che ti stringeva sul cuor?

      Ricordi quelle sere
      passate al Valentino,
      col biondo studentino
      che ti stringeva sul cuor?


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