I am not an explorer of caves. Not temperamentally suited. I once panicked in the corridor entry of Newgrange walking in behind a man of sizable girth who filled the space top to bottom. I had a sudden vision of the adorable scene from Winnie The Pooh when Pooh's honey-filled belly blocks the door to Rabbit's house transformed into a terrifying reality involving a stone age monument and an Irish tour group and fled right back to open air.
I require escape routes. Most of the time, physical space is easy to manage. I avoid caves, narrow passageways, catacombs, etc., don't climb down holes, avoid mines.
Mental space is different problem. I was feeling pretty dumb this week. I stumbled across Francis Bacon's doctrine of the idols and couldn't believe I hadn't come across it before. It's always a little shattering to read something so lucid, brilliant, and insightful and think that it's been living quietly in a library all your life, unknown but necessary.
This bit describes the idol I keep on the highest shelf:
Let every student of nature take this as a rule: that whatever his mind seizes and dwells upon with peculiar satisfaction is to be held in suspicion ...Bacon takes this state of suspicion as a good, but it makes life difficult. I have a deep distrust of anything I like. When people tell me to follow my heart, my brain says the heart is a deceitful little organ. When people say do what comes naturally, I think, nothing's natural. Likes are treacherous - far too easy, far too narrow. I fear building myself a shiny little gold house like the caddis fly, using what's pleasing and to hand, creating my own little idiosyncratic world instead of engaging with the strangeness and complexities and vastness of life as it is. I hate the thought of living in my own limitations.
That's the grubby little cave I'm stuck in.