By Philip Koch
"Koch makes use of the paintings of philosophers, historians, and writers, in addition to texts resembling the Bible, to teach what solitude is and is not, and what being by myself can do to and for the person. attention-grabbing for its literary scope and its conclusions approximately all of the sturdy actual solitude can convey us."
"Reading this ebook is like dipping into many minds, fierce and mild. the writer finds his lengthy research of serious philosophers, and translates their techniques throughout the lens of his personal adventure with solitude. He lines our early brushes with solitude and the phobia it could possibly engender, then the longing for solitude that incorporates complete, grownup lives."
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Additional resources for Solitude: A Philosophical Encounter
Is this bedside vigil of Walt Whitman’s a solitude or not? I have been sitting late to-night by the bedside of a wounded captain, a special friend of mine, lying with a painful fracture of left leg in one of the hospitals, in a large ward partially vacant. The lights were put out, all but a little candle, far from where I sat. The full moon shone in through the windows, making long, slanting silvery patches on the floor. 10 Yet surely solitude need not of necessity be quiet and silent; for who would not recognize a familiar solitude in Robert Louis Stevenson’s remembrance of falling asleep in a forest encampment?
Then too, these crowings about solitude sometimes conflict with each other. Wordsworth wrote often of solitude in words like these: . . we are laid asleep in body, and become a living soul: while with an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things. (from “Lines Composed A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey”) Yet he also wrote the “Elegiac Stanza” of 1805: Farewell, farewell the heart that lives alone, Housed in a dream, at distance from the Kind!
8th: Did good work this morning. Did poor work this afternoon. 4 Where is such a thing to be found, let alone painted? In solitude, she thought. But for all of these examples, it is still not clear what solitude itself is. True, an essential element has appeared: all of these heroes of solitude were, in their solitude, alone. But that is not enough: for loneliness, isolation, alienation, and schizophrenia are also modalities of aloneness, yet none are equivalent to solitude. Is it possible to articulate exactly what it is that makes solitude different?