...on my idea of solitude (with a little help!)

What is solitude? “The nature or situation of being alone;” or to have none other present. Upon becoming cognisant that Emerson declares to faithfully experience nature, one must realise solitude – perhaps interpreted as seclusion, or separateness – the individual may conjure up a walk alone on a beach or in a wood; or even existing beneath a potent thunderstorm; however, merely these are inadequate.

 

“To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me.”

 

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature, 1836

 

This solitude is not the meagre antithesis of the mob cited in Self Reliance: severing oneself from the hordes in a joyful act of self-actualisation and non-conformity; though, this realisation is laudable and should be sought; rather, the epiphany that to attain veritable solitude, one must disunite oneself wholly from one’s thoughts: cares, concerns; for these are burdensome and interfere with absolute solitude.

 

And now, we are ready…

 

Try it sometime!

Comments

Dino Manalis Added Sep 17, 2017 - 11:39am
We all need some privacy, but too much solitude is unhealthy and a sign of other problems.  At least, talking to family and friends over the phone is helpful.  Online communication breaks the solitude, but it's not the same.
Phil Greenough Added Sep 18, 2017 - 7:23am
I think you've totally misinterpreted Emerson's take on solitude. He merely said that to be in solitude you not only have to be alone you also can't be writing or reading. In other words, you should free your mind so that you can focus wholly on your thoughts, cares and concerns. After all, if your totally alone and can't read or think about stuff, what are you supposed to do in solitude?
A Classicist Writes Added Sep 18, 2017 - 8:17am
DM--I think you're correct: being alone is not always healthy; however, I interpret attaining solitude and being alone differently.
 
DY--hello my friend! = )
 
PG--I'm not sure I have, as I am drawing not only on these lines or even only this essay; but extensive reading of Emerson; he also wrote in "Nature" about standing on the shore and not just feeling the breeze; but, becoming it (just one wee thing to do in solitude).  He valued higher thinking over the cares/concerns/obligations of society (the ancient Greeks would be horrified...haha!); and being alone is not the same as solitude: this is a higher aspiration; a virtue if you will. I value your interpretation, as this world would be pretty boring if we all agreed! 
 
It begs the broader question of how each individual interprets solitude. And as Emerson was influenced by Eastern religions and philosophy, that conjures yet another question.
 
I read a lot of Emerson and am far from perfect or right all the time; I am sure if I chatted with him, he would say, "oops, you fluffed that one up!" on more than one occasion (haha!); though he would applaud my trust in my instinct. Thanks for your comment and wider interpretation...
wsucram15 Added Sep 18, 2017 - 9:52am
I like solitude.  I realized in 2008 I think it was that I had never lived alone in my adult life (not since I was 16).  When my son moved out for about 6 months it was one of the best times of my life.
Other than that, I exercise and meditate in my alone time...sometimes just work on my fused glass and listen to music.  But thats not a group thing.
Nice article...
wsucram15 Added Sep 18, 2017 - 11:52am
On another note, I am allergic to chocolate.   What are Dolly cup cakes?   Are you threatening me again? really?  Its ok..its already been copied and sent along with all the Roper and Purcell greatest hits. 
Thks.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 18, 2017 - 2:43pm
I don't like solitude. I feel alive when I'm around other people who are alive :-) That's why I love Africa. I'm never alone there. And WHEN I want to be for myself only on rare cases (for example when I'm sick), I can easily manage that.
 
I will have enough solitude when I'm dead LOL
opher goodwin Added Sep 18, 2017 - 6:30pm
Solitude is the perfect moment that you achieve when you are in tune with yourself and the universe, when you hit the moment in writing, watching a sunset, seeing a V of geese fly, watching cubs at play. Solitude is perfection - the nirvana of pure being in which you are at once alone and in perfect harmony with the universe.
Donna Added Sep 18, 2017 - 7:45pm
Hi.. I don't mind solitude  it's peaceful it makes me one with nature. Spiritual growth is easy to find when alone.  It's a wonderful thing if used properly. You don't feel lonely if on a path.. In my opinion.Nice article. 
wsucram15 Added Sep 18, 2017 - 10:23pm
No I didnt know the term dolly cakes. I have heard of Dolly Madison snacks, but never let my kids have them so I would not have caught the reference.  
Dannl..IDK who you are yet, not for sure.  So leave me out of your diatribes,  I  dont want any part of your drama with whatever you have going on.  STOP, commenting me.
A Classicist Writes Added Sep 19, 2017 - 7:45am
W15--sounds to me like you embrace all that is good in your quest for your own solitude = )
 
SEF--<<I will enough solitude when I'm dead.>> Genius!  But in all seriousness, there is something to be said for embracing the company of those who make you feel alive.  This solitude I embrace; however, I do not necessarily equate with being alone.
 
OG--you have said that better than I did.  You get it; you really do!
 
Donna--thank you!  And we agree wholeheartedly!
Dave Volek Added Sep 19, 2017 - 4:11pm
My best thinking comes when I'm taking walks.