👋 Hey phi-lazy-phers
While I don’t have an actual ranking, this week’s topic would fall in my imaginary “Top Three Topics I Care Most About.” Solitude is my favorite method to recharge and process my thoughts & emotions. I could spend multiple weeks alone and quite enjoy it. I thought it had to do with the fact I lean heavily on the introverted side (despite considering myself an ambivert). However, the more people I talk to, the more I believe that intentional alone time benefits extroverts and introverts alike.
Instead of rambling about why I think solitude is so important, I’ll let some of my favorite thinkers explain its value.
But I’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.
I feel so intensely the delights of shutting oneself up in a little world of one's own with pictures and music and everything beautiful.
All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit quiet in a room alone.
If you're lonely when you're alone then you're in bad company.
Shutting out the world is not about turning your back on your surroundings, but rather the opposite: it is seeing the world a bit more clearly, staying a course and trying to love your life. Silence in itself is rich. It is exclusive and luxurious. A key to unlock new ways of thinking. I don’t regard it as a renunciation or something spiritual, but rather as a practical resource for living a richer life.
I live in that solitude which is painful in youth but delicious in the years of maturity.
Our language has wisely sensed the two sides of being alone. It has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.
In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.
Philip Gilbert Hamerton
We need society, and we need solitude also, as we need summer and winter, day and night, exercise and rest.
Solitude is the human condition in which I keep myself company.
Solitude is not a way of running away from life ... from our feelings. On the contrary. This is the time we sort them out, air them, get over them, and go on without the burden of yesterday.
Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as means of escape.
This is where I admit it’s not easy for everyone to create solitude in their lives. Parents, those taking care of sick family members, people working multiple jobs, etc. While it may not be easy, I’d argue these folks need moments of solitude the most. We don’t have to go on month-long meditation retreats in the Himalayas to experience solitude (though, that does sound rad). You can experience it daily, in much shorter increments: commuting, showering, meditating for 10 minutes while your little one naps.
It doesn’t always have to be spent meditating or in complete silence either, despite what many of the quotes above say. Maybe you enjoy blasting screamo music alone in your room to process your emotions. Maybe going for a run or walk helps clear your head. Maybe it’s reading a good book or knitting. See if it’s possible to intentionally create moments of solitude this week and pay close attention to how your mind responds.
✌️ Until next week, happy philosophizing.
Death & Mortality