Maria Popova says, in How to Be Alone: An Antidote to One of the Central Anxieties and Greatest Paradoxes of Our Time, " The choice of solitude, of active aloneness, has relevance not only to romance but to all human bonds - even Emerson, perhaps the most elegant champion of friendship in the English language, lived a significant portion of his life in active solitude, the very state that enabled him to produce his enduring essays and journals. And yet that choice is one our culture treats with equal parts apprehension and contempt, particularly in our age of fetishistic connectivity. Hemingway's famous assertion that solitude is essential for creative work is perhaps so oft-cited precisely because it is so radical and unnerving in its proposition.
Maria Popova goes on to say, "How have we arrived, in the relatively prosperous developed world, at least, at a cultural moment which values autonomy, personal freedom, fulfillment and human rights, and above all individualism, more highly than they have ever been valued before in human history, but at the same time these autonomous, free, self-fulfilling individuals are terrified of being alone with themselves? . . . We live in a society which sees high self-esteem as a proof of well-being, but we do not want to be intimate with this admirable and desirable person."
There is a glorious path to be found, but not amid the cacophony of the outer world of appearances. The path is to be found being in the world, but not of the world. The path is found by taking time every day to come away from the world and being silent.
Quietude - who needs it? Every one.
Gene Ford Runnels