Sunday, July 16, 2017

____________________ THOUGHTS ON SOLITUDE _______________________

I think many people will identify with what this article is saying about solitude - being alone, but not lonely. Those who from time to time sail alone (or participate in any other self chosen solitary activity) will identify with the sentiments and ideas expressed in this article:

"  ..................    echoing Plato, Arendt observed: ‘Thinking, existentially speaking, is a solitary but not a lonely business; solitude is that human situation in which I keep myself company. Loneliness comes about … when I am one and without company’ but desire it and cannot find it. In solitude, Arendt never longed for companionship or craved camaraderie because she was never truly alone. Her inner self was a friend with whom she could carry on a conversation, that silent voice who posed the vital Socratic question: ‘What do you mean when you say …?’ The self, Arendt declared, ‘is the only one from whom you can never get away – except by ceasing to think.’

.................  but, Arendt reminds us, if we lose our capacity for solitude, our ability to be alone with ourselves, then we lose our very ability to think. We risk getting caught up in the crowd. We risk being ‘swept away’, as she put it, ‘by what everybody else does and believes in’ – no longer able, in the cage of thoughtless conformity, to distinguish ‘right from wrong, beautiful from ugly’. Solitude is not only a state of mind essential to the development of an individual’s consciousness – and conscience – but also a practice that prepares one for participation in social and political life. Before we can keep company with others, we must learn to keep company with ourselves. "

The full text of this article ( Click the link below ) is a very, very worthwhile read. It explains much - as does many other thoughtful article on the 'Aeon' site on which this article is published ( You can subscribe for free ).


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