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Living Horizontally

Living Horizontally - Bernd Brunner book reviewOur entire culture, as well as our hectic day and age, have very strict views on lying down, getting up late and in general spending our time sleeping or simply reclining in bed. Famous high-achievers tend to state that they get by with no more than six hours of sleep a day if not less; the sleep itself is often considered something of a nuisance, something to be minimized, something that, regretfully, cannot be eliminated altogether. Even the people who work from home often say that in order to motivate themselves they have to behave as if they had a usual job: dress properly, sit at a desk, get up early and so on.

German writer Bernd Brunner, the author of “The Art of Lying Down”, certainly has some very different views on this subject. He almost sanctifies the process, gradually describing its different aspects. According to him, human beings usually spend about a third of their life sleeping and even more – simply lying down, and there is nothing shameful about it. People who like to get up late or have a nap during the day should not at all be afraid to acknowledge it – he firmly believes that the future of the Western civilization lies in embracing a new lifestyle which is less obsessed about activity and more about resting.

Moving from subject to subject in an effortless manner, Brunner describes different aspects of horizontal lifestyle, at the same time grudgingly accepting that some things are probably better left alone. For example, eating – although ancient Greeks and Romans were known for having their meals while reclining on benches, he agrees that tables and chairs have been around for thousands of years and there are logical reasons why it is the standard that is accepted by the majority of civilized peoples. Also he speaks against the notion of sleeping outside – however romantic and “natural” it may sound, people have invented houses to improve their lives, and sleeping in the open is far less comfortable: there are cold and damp earth, rain, animal sounds and so on.

All in all, “The Art of Lying Down” may be characterized as a kind of a hymn to living horizontally: the authors encourages the readers to spend more time resting and make their lives less noisy and frantic: by accepting the culture of rest, he believes, the Western civilization may find a new way into the future.

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