Friday, December 17, 2004


Schopenhauer on Solitude

Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena (tr. T. Bailey Saunders):
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.

The less necessity there is for you to come into contact with mankind in general, in the relations whether of business or of personal intimacy, the better off you are.

As a general rule, it may be said that a man's sociability stands very nearly in inverse ratio to his intellectual value: to say that "so and so" is very unsociable, is almost tantamount to saying that he is a man of great capacity.

Though the world contains many things which are thoroughly bad, the worst thing in it is society.

From long experience of men, we cease to expect much from them; we find that, on the whole, people do not gain by a nearer acquaintance; and that -- apart from a few rare and fortunate exceptions -- we have come across none but defective specimens of human nature which it is advisable to leave in peace.

Rascals are always sociable -- more's the pity! and the chief sign that a man has any nobility in his character is the little pleasure he takes in others' company. He prefers solitude more and more, and, in course of time, comes to see that, with few exceptions, the world offers no choice beyond solitude on one side and vulgarity on the other.

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