Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Loving solitude = loving freedom?!

Recently, a Kenyan acquaintance posted the following: “Alone is not always loneliness. Alone is getting to find myself. [..]” In my view, she meant solitude. Hence, I replied by stating: “Solitude and loneliness are two very different concepts, despite being alone in both.” She agreed.

Several days later, I noticed a quote by Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860), a German philosopher. I’m still wondering if this quote is “true”. Moreover, I had never linked (loving) solitude and (loving) freedom before, either in my thinking or in my writing. Still, the quote feels true.

“A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.” (source). Note: see full quote below.

The first obstacle is semantics: what exactly is freedom? An important distinction is in deeds, words, and intentions. In the absence of a Thought Police, everyone is free in their intentions. I suppose that most people commit thoughtcrimes within the safety of their minds.

Unless you’re a billionaire, you’re – usually – not free to say (ie, words) or do (ie, deeds) whatever and whenever you want. Hence, freedom might be a hypothetical (macro) perspective. A micro focus might, however, describe freedom as not being bothered or disturbed (eg, by others).

Considering the above, I doubt that freedom is the reason why my solitude is so important to me. I suppose that I can only do my slow thinking during my solitude. When I’m not alone, only fast thinking remains. Unfortunately, (my) slow thinking has a habit of becoming negative during loneliness.

I do love my daily “freedom” and my loitering. I don’t miss getting up early and drive to work. The routine of waking up early has never left me. My solution is ignoring it. Frankly, my writing is similar to working (eg, time spent). However, it’s my mission; not my job. There’s no penalty for not having inspiration.

“All society necessarily involves, as the first condition of its existence, mutual accommodation and restraint upon the part of its members. This means that the larger it is, the more insipid will be its tone. A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free. Constraint is always present in society, like a companion of whom there is no riddance; and in proportion to the greatness of a man’s individuality, it will be hard for him to bear the sacrifices which all intercourse with others demands, Solitude will be welcomed or endured or avoided, according as a man’s personal value is large or small,—the wretch feeling, when he is alone, the whole burden of his misery; the great intellect delighting in its greatness; and everyone, in short, being just what he is.”

Source: “From Schopenhauer’s Counsels and Maxims, translated by T. Bailey Saunders.”

La Solitudine (1993) Laura Pausini
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-artist, Wiki-song

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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