I have never read Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love. Nor have I ever seen the Julia Roberts’ movie based on the book. However, neither of those two apparent handicaps are going to inhibit me from commenting on Eat, Pray, Love.
The book is subtitled One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. The Search for Everything has long been a noble scientific and philosophical pursuit, aimed at furthering collective human knowledge and discovering the meaning of existence––to use Corbyn’s mantra––for the many, not the few. It has encompassed such diverse research as string theory; loop quantum gravity; and E8. However, when the Search for Everything is focussed so as to be an individual pursuit rather than a collective one, it enters the territory of selfish indulgence and self-interest.
I intend no criticism of Elizabeth Gilbert, nor of Julia Roberts, when I say that I abhor the narrow-minded morality that has grown up in the way that some Eat, Pray, Love disciples have misinterpreted this Search for Everything message. For some, the three words Eat, Pray, Love have become a catchphrase for living your life to the full and letting anyone and everything else go hang; the travel mantra for the yuppie mentality.
Surely this philosophy has no place in a modern, climate-conscious, woke world?
I recognise that I have been very fortunate to travel as widely as I have; even more fortunate to emerge from these travels happy, healthy and hopefully wiser but, I also hope that my good fortune has not been consciously achieved at the expense of others.
© E. C. Glendenny
E. C. Glendenny comes over all of a Coelho.
You may enjoy E. C. Glendenny’s collected travel writing Easy Come, Easy Go.