If anyone can appreciate this fact, I expect that at least Goodreaders can. Reading is a solitary activity; it plunges usThe world is a lonely place.
If anyone can appreciate this fact, I expect that at least Goodreaders can. Reading is a solitary activity; it plunges us into a universe of our own creation. For who can say that the various arrangements of words effected by such-and-such an author yield unto you the same variegated apperceptions that to me are so yielded? No one. Though we understand, at some faith-based level, that some other specific human out there crafted this arrangement of words that we read, and that they have some specific intent to that same human, their effect is subjective in the perfect sense. Unto us we have a prison cell, or a a field draped in snow, or a drunk in the corner of a bar, or an autist bewildered by human emotion, but the witness is only ever the third person singular of one's self.
Tonight I sat upon the tailgate of my truck, my music blaring and a bottle of Portuguese Vinho Verde swigged at regular intervals. Down the road orthogonal to my own, a girl in jean shorts gratuitously short flirted with a fellow high schooler at the door of a tank-like Escalade, the acquisition of which would be well beyond my own means. Her movements were sensuous, his perpetually naive.
Up the sidewalk hobbled a great heifer of a woman, clothed in what appeared to be rags. Darkness and tatters draped her face and form. She followed obediently an arthritic pit-bull whose obesity rivaled only her own.
Each time they passed me, they turned to the opposite side of the street to avoid verbal range. Who is this bizarre man, who dares seat himself upon his own truck, to gaze outward, to study that which the modern Earth has manifested and yet which is to him perpetually alien? His aloneness bewilders; it stupefies, as a pauper in a mall of plenty.
Cowper Powys does not have an answer for this. He can not tell you how to not be alone. He can not tell you how to punctuate the massiveness of human solitude. "A Philosophy of Solitude" is no confabulation of solicitude.
Instead, Powys would ask you this. He would ask you, "can you not find peace within that which is?"
Neither is "A Philosophy of Solitude" escapism. One does not retreat unto solitude because the world has wronged you, or because of your fantasized superiority. From the perspective of being, equality is not contingent, it's a simple reality of matter relations.
No, the philosophy of solitude is a simple meditation upon isness.
How does one deal with the crushing reality of a human being's aloneness in the objective universe? More pertinently, how does one harness the peace that comes from secluding oneself from the chaos of modernity, of socializing, of the forces of conformation?
The answer is reflection upon the simplicity of reality. Sitting quietly. Feeling the breeze of a summer wind: cognizing the breadth of its being, from the smallness of the random movement of an individual molecule up to the swaying of tidal air masses locked in eternal ballet with the stochasm of the sun and the infinity of stars that look upon her with fondness.
Breathe. Acknowledge infinity. Acknowledge finitude. Be alone. Such is being.