Splendid Isolation

My Year at Sea – Magazine – The Atlantic.

This was long before onboard TVs and DVD players. Modern freighters, some of which carry up to 12 passengers, come with those, plus three squares a day, plus amenities: saunas, pools, video libraries. If I embarked today as a passenger aboard a freighter, I’d endeavor not to spend the long days at sea—and they are long—rewatching The Sopranos. I prefer to think that I’d bring along a steamer trunk full of Shakespeare and Dickens and Twain. Short of taking monastic vows or trekking into the Kalahari, a freighter passage might just offer what our relentlessly connected age has made difficult, if not impossible: splendid isolation.

This is precisely what I’m going to do by taking down my Facebook profile for a month – or at least till the New Year, and as many other online profiles I can recall having. Goodbye MySpace, for good this time. Goodbye Connexions. Goodbye OkCupid. Goodbye every damn tool of sad, lonely communication except for this blog. Hello Thoreau.

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3 thoughts on “Splendid Isolation

  1. Hey if you want some good reading material for your isolation, there’s this little book I love called Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke, and to me it’s like the definitive word on solitude. I’ve got a lot of copies so you’re welcome to borrow one of mine indefinitely if you want.

    “To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all out tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. For this reason young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered close about their lonely, timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love. But learning time is always a long, secluded time, and so loving, for a long while ahead and far into life, is solitude, intensified and deepened loneness for him who loves.”

    “Destiny itself is like a wonderful tapestry in which every thread is guided by an unspeakably tender hand, placed beside another thread, and held and carried by a hundred others.”

    “Reflect on the world that you carry within yourself. And name this thinking what you wish.. your innermost happening is worth all your love.”

    “Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky. ”

    I don’t know if it’s your thing, but I love this kinda shit.

    • I’ll definitely borrow a copy from you, that would be great! That’s probably one of the most singularly brilliant quotes I’ve read recently after Khalil Gibran. I cannot wait to read it!

  2. Thoreau’s as good a choice as any though. Have you ever actually finished Walden? I mean I love it, but god if I’ve ever finished it haha. One of these days.

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