In this surreal time, there are a number of lessons we as society can learn from The Lighthouse. The 2019 stark fantasy-horror by Robert Eggers (The Witch) can act as a survival guide in the midst of isolation. The Lighthouse presents two men of polar opposites, Ephraim (Robert Pattinson) and Thomas (Willem Dafoe). The pair become thrown together out of necessity on a deserted island. Tasked with maintaining a lighthouse and its upkeep over the space of four weeks, things do not go well for either as they settle into a remote, outlying wilderness of despair.
This claustrophobic and eerily atmospheric movie tests the boundaries of the human mind. It explores what humanity can endure in circumstances when life is restricted, and how far audiences are willing to be pushed when it comes to taste. On the surface The Lighthouse is the basic story of Greek mythological gods Prometheus and Proteus (or Romeo and Juliet depending on your perspective). Nevertheless, those who venture to watch this minimalistic epic will no doubt already know the perils of isolation. For those who have not yet, here are some key points to take note of.
Get Comfortable in Your Surroundings
In lockdown, and indeed isolation, it’s best to keep the spirits up. The best skills to use are communication. Try to converse with whomever you are isolated with. After all, you are stuck with them for an uncertain period of time. Who at this point needs endless one-sided conversations? For the sake of an easy ride through this trying time, try being up for ideas, no matter how small – especially at the start. And don’t forget everyone farts so best get used to it.
Get a Hobby
Keeping the mind healthy and active is essential. Only, however, when the activities you indulge in are positive. Fantasising frantically about romantic adventures with mythical beings (mermaids) may not be a healthy source of entertainment. Also becoming a voyeur or a late night peeping tom is just not good for your own morale or eyesight.
Be Kind to Animals
In lockdown people get bored and frustrated easily. Tempers become frayed and the slightest thing can be overwhelmingly annoying. No animal should ever bear the brunt of your rage. It never ends well – just ask Joe Exotic. If that annoying animal happens to be a seagull, best leave it be. The sea chicken, after all, controls the weather, and in this case your faith.
Have a Stable Diet
Try to diversify what you eat. Sticking to the same meal day after day will lead to frustration, and will lead to resentment towards those that are preparing meals. Always remember to compliment the cook, regardless of how full the bucket gets. Remember to say how much you appreciate their cooking, and how fond you are of their lobster.
Do Not Covet What Your Partner Has
It is preferable not to be jealous should your isolation partner or better half have a greater network of friends than you. Then again they may have a hobby, or may they possess a bright shiny light that you are just nuts about. These are simply material things, and ultimately there is no need to wield an axe about it.
Don’t Bring up the Past
In the confines of isolation there is really no need to confess any of your past mistakes. It is best not to “Spill Your Beans!” or get overcome with buried emotions. In reality no good ever came from loose lips. Regardless of how comfortable you feel around your seclusion partner, best practice is to keep the talk of identity theft and murder aside. Instead enjoy dance routines as a distraction. That leads me on nicely to my next point.
Do Not Overindulge
Too much alcohol can be detrimental. The best path is always moderation. Tempers can go to the extremes, allowing paranoia to run rampant in your relationship. Warning signs may come in the shape of mixing turpentine and honey when stocks of alcohol eventually deplete. If this does not set alarm bells off you are already past the point of no return.
If all of the previous steps are not adhered to, things may escalate into violence, with haymakers between you and your partner the inevitable outcome. Best practice is to get rid of any temptation to dig a hole, and to a further extent, empty the garden shed of all sharp implements. This then will save you from losing a love that is about to blossom and that all-important dance partner.