Why are human beings ashamed of completely natural things? My bowels work and I have a sex drive. I shit, and I pleasure myself. But I do it in extreme private, usually in tiny little rooms with locked doors. So do you. Why? Shitting is the same as eating. They’re two equally important steps in a process with many parts: nourishing our physical bodies. But when we eat, it’s a party. Come over and eat with us! Even better, we’ll go out! Some special people will make special eating things, JUST FOR US! We eat together, like a big family. But we shit very separately, one-by-one, in a little box, far from of sight.
Maybe it’s a deep symbolic thing. Eating is the beginning of a process, shitting is the end. I guess our species likes beginnings. Weddings are about lives beginning, and are big joyous occasions: literally everyone you care about is in the room. Divorce is different. You get divorced in absolute privacy, like your relationship taking a shit. It happens in a tiny room. Only you two are there. Maybe there’s a guy handing you paper, but you’re both pretending he’s invisible.
Beginnings are hopeful. Ends are depressing. We call everything that ends “a new beginning”, because we just don’t want to deal with that fear and shame of an ending. We lie to ourselves.
We shit and we jerk off in private because of fear and shame and taboo. Maybe it’s the root of our symbolic vocabulary. Other animals don’t have it. They do whatever they like with their bodies, completely in the open, whenever they want. But then no orangutan ever wrote a novel. Maybe our urge to do symbolically “dirty” things in private is linked to that creative urge. We hide some things. And they end up coming out in other ways. It’s odd to think Shakespeare wouldn’t have written Hamlet if he could just take a good, non-self-conscious shit in front of everyone, but maybe it’s true.