The Quality of Solitude

Brouhaha, not the word I was seeking, but a magnificent word nevertheless, defined as a state of social agitation which, afterwards, can seem pointless or irrational. But it isn’t the word I want. Palaver is closer in that it signals tedious discussions. Commotion is close. Performance?

This time I am taking out, away from the necessity of performance and mindless conversation. My preoccupation with the intertwined themes of solitude and silence. Not to be absent from conversation (even on social media), nor, of course, from the company of books. Perhaps privacy is better, solitude with external stimulation.

Solitude is easier in the autumn, there is less expectation in the quiet magnificence of dark autumn nights. Silences that are preoccupied with retreat and expansion, not a resistance to others, but a curiosity to explore personal existence.

To take time for solitude is also inevitably to be confronted with loneliness, but in a minor form it is as fascinating as boredom. In major form loneliness can obviously result in extreme pain, where it overlaps, like boredom, with depression. Ultimately though we are born and live alone.

There are so many writers that face solitude and loneliness at the heart of their work. Cervantes, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Wolfe, and Duras come to mind. Conrad, too, in  An Outcast of the Islands who writes, “the tremendous fact of our isolation, of the loneliness impenetrable and transparent, elusive and everlasting; of the indestructible loneliness that surrounds, envelops, clothes every human soul from the cradle to the grace, and, perhaps, beyond.”

One thought on “The Quality of Solitude

  1. Pingback: A Message to the Sad Bachelor | Disorganized Trimmings

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