In a book by Monica Zgustova (a Russian writer based in Spain), a group of women - Russians, Poles, Ukrainians - recount their experiences in prisons and work camps of the Stalinist gulag, the penitentiary universe of the Soviet polar circle. It draws attention, among punishments, humiliations and endless penalties, a thing common to all of them, which I have also seen in other places: what helps them survive is reading (when they can, books were forbidden), reciting memory poems, remembering paintings and songs.
A Mexican anthropologist, Santiago Genovés, carried out an experiment to study coexistence in reduced and isolated spaces, putting people of different sexes, religions and ages on a controlled raft in the Atlantic. In fact, problems of affinities, phobias, aggressiveness, sex... arose. The one who best survived such a circumstance was one who, at night, climbed the roof of the raft to contemplate the sky, meditate and write in solitude. Poetry, art, contemplation can literally save our lives.