“Most human beings have an almost infinite capability for taking things for granted.”
When I read this quote, just one of many profound thoughts from Aldous Huxley, the author of Brave New World, I thought of one thing that most of us take for granted: toilets.
Yes, toilets. We all have them. There are three of them in our house alone and each one gets plenty of use multiple times a day.
Think about it. You feel the need to use the toilet, you take care of your business, and once all the paperwork is done, you flush. Poof, all that nastiness is gone. It’s magic.
But where did it go? Who knows? Who cares? Outta sight, outta mind, right?
That’s why Huxley’s words about taking things for granted reminded of a book I read in college, Philip Slater’s 1970 book, The Pursuit of Loneliness.
Slater’s book was required reading for an introductory economics course I was taking. I don’t remember much from the book except for what Slater called “the Toilet Assumption.”
According to Slater, “Our ideas about institutionalizing the aged, psychotic, retarded, and infirm are based on a pattern of thought that we might call the Toilet Assumption — the notion that unwanted matter, unwanted difficulties, unwanted complexities, and obstacles will disappear if they’re removed from our immediate field of vision.”
The Toilet Assumption, in essence, is based on the belief that social unpleasantness, once flushed out of sight, ceases to exist. This, according to Slater, is central to American culture.
So the next time you go to the toilet to accommodate your “social unpleasantness” and to eliminate your “unwanted matter,” remember that you should not take that remarkable, flushable toilet for granted.
After all, it is removing all that crap from your immediate field of vision.
This post was written for today’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt from Linda G. Hill.