the pleasures of solitude
October 10, 2013, 11:21 am
Filed under: brave new world, departure lounge, the sweet life | Tags: , ,

We think solitude is discipline or punishment – go and sit in the corner! Author Freya Stark says it is pleasant and ordinary and that, because we have it mixed up, we bring trouble on ourselves. So, believe it is pleasant and go into yourself.

“Solitude, I reflected, is the one deep necessity of the human spirit to which adequate recognition is never given in our codes. It is looked upon as a discipline or penance, but hardly ever as the indispensable, pleasant ingredient it is to ordinary life, and from this want of recognition come half of our domestic troubles. The fear of an unbroken tête-à-tête for the rest of his life should, you would think, prevent any man from getting married.”

–Freya Stark, The Valleys of the Assassins: and Other Persian Travels (1934)


if you are idle, be not solitary
August 23, 2012, 10:39 pm
Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life | Tags: , , ,

Or another way of saying it – my specialty – is:  if you’re alone, do something; and if you’re not doing anything, find someone to do it with.  And are you a scold if you tell someone to find companionship when lonely, and activity when idle?  A scold or at least a literalist, and quite possibly a bore.

Subtlety from the English author Samuel Johnson:

The great direction which Burton has left to men disordered like you, is this: Be not solitary, be not idle; which I would thus modify:  if you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary, be not idle.
There is a letter for you, from
Your humble servant,
London, October 27, 1779

The Idler, Idle Idols: Samuel Johnson