The Diary of Søren Kierkegaard
, ed. Peter P. Rohde, tr. Gerda M. Anderson (New York: Philosophical Library, 1960; rpt. 1990), p. 23 = Kierkegaards Papirer
A 40 (1847):
It is an awful satire, and an epigram on the materialism of our modern age, that nowadays the only use that can be made of solitude is imposing it as a penalty, as jail. What a difference there is between those times when, no matter how secular materialism always was, man believed in the solitude of the convent, when, in other words, solitude was revered as the highest, as the destiny of Eternity--and the present when it is detested as a curse and is used only for the punishment of criminals. Alas, what a change.