“But, Arendt reminds us, if we lose our capacity for solitude, our ability to be alone with ourselves, then we lose our very ability to think. We risk getting caught up in the crowd. We risk being ‘swept away’, as she put it, ‘by what everybody else does and believes in’ – no longer able, in the cage of thoughtless conformity, to distinguish ‘right from wrong, beautiful from ugly’. Solitude is not only a state of mind essential to the development of an individual’s consciousness – and conscience – but also a practice that prepares one for participation in social and political life. Before we can keep company with others, we must learn to keep company with ourselves.” Jennifer Stitt

“Alone in Nature” flickr photo by Marcela McGreal https://flickr.com/photos/marcelamcgreal/24627415543 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Today, put your evaluative right-wrong self to one side for a while; set aside some quiet space to read this article which tracks a little of the history of ‘solitude’ and its role in the good life. Once you have slow read the article, reflect on the role solitude plays in your life and the balance between the active life and contemplative life. Anything you want to change, even if just for a day, to taste a better balance?

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