Corona over, war in Ukraine – a spanish speleologist didn’t notice any of this. She spent 500 days in self-imposed isolation in a cave about 70 meters deep in Granada. She regularly had to stop by a video-monitored security zone where her team left her food, otherwise she lived in a tent. The researchers wanted to find out how complete isolation affects a person and what neurological changes might appear.
Beatriz Flamini says: She had a great time. She called her experience “excellent” immediately after the ascent, “cannot be surpassed”. In the world above, Flamini is now (rightly) celebrated, even downright envied by some for her experiences. The happy one, it says, not aware of all the misery in this world. And it may be true, there are worse things than missing out on war in Europe, daily news of murder, manslaughter, rape. Reliably repeated verbal gaffes by some people in public, who then apologize publicly (or not). Series of discussions about things that you are still allowed to say or not. And then war.
Flamini’s experiment also seems to appeal to many people because it almost seems poetic. Francis of Assisi is said to have regularly retreated to a cave to pray. Saint Thekla is also said to have spent her twilight years in a cave, over which a church was later built. And Grenouille, the perfume-loving and woman-killing protagonist of “Perfume”, spends seven years in a cave, where he appreciates the solitude and where he finally discovers his own odorlessness.
Read 60 books and write poems
Flamini also had enough time to think in her cave (although fortunately she had different thoughts than Grenouille). According to her own statements, she has read about 60 books and also written stories and poems.
Maybe that’s where our longing for isolation comes from? Not only not wanting to notice anything, but also not having anything (mobile phone, TV, tablet) with which one could notice something or could distract oneself with lots of stuff that is more or less worthy of being noticed. Simply no appointments and no internet – apparently it is the dream of many people to live under the rock. And that where the isolation of various corona lockdowns, which was not self-chosen but just as real, was not particularly long ago. Finally time to write stories and read books! That would also work without the cave – but that requires a little more self-discipline. However, no more than for the venture of living 500 days underground.