Thursday, May 21, 2009
Inside the car when it's in the car wash is something I like. It's a bit like being safe indoors when there are high winds or other inclement weather. The machine does its thing and we sit patiently. And what to do with that time? Listening to the radio isn't great because the aerial is folded away. You can read the newspaper - or you can take a photograph. This was the most vivid of the bunch. Cleaning or washing is of course symbolic of purification. You need just enough washing because too much of it can be regarded as disordered. In extreme cases, cleanliness is unlikely to be next to Godliness. The purity of souls is somewhat distant from the cleanliness of the skin - or of your car for that matter. Washing is a means of gaining the attributes of the water itself. Symbolically, water has many powers - stimulation, fecundity - and healing. That may explain the constant cleaning of those with certain kinds of obsessive compulsive disorders. It's not about the cleaning, but about healing some perceived (and unconscious) injury. The soul has been sullied and must be purified. Pilate famously washed his hands to obviate his responsibility - to free himself from guilt. But when we wash our cars it's more like washing an outer shield - the (outer) persona that we display to the world.