Sunday, June 14, 2009

Nothing but a failure…

In the eyes of our conformist society, the hermit is nothing but a failure. He has to be a failure – we have absolutely no use for him, no place for him. He is outside all our projects, plans, assemblies, movements. We can countenance him as long as he remains only a fiction, or a dream. As soon as he becomes real, we are revolted by his insignificance, his poverty, his shabbiness, his total lack of status. Even those who consider themselves contemplatives, often cherish a secret contempt for the solitary. For in the contemplative life of the hermit there is none of that noble security, that intelligent depth, that artistic finesse which the more academic contemplative seeks in his sedate respectability.

from the essay, “Philosophy of Solitude”, Disputed Questions, Harvest Books, 1985, p. 199, with thanks to Louie, Louie

Why is it that I read something like this with a sense of excitement and anticipation, more than anything else? So much that has been hidden from me for years now seems to be becoming clear in these strange days of summer…

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