... it is the desert's grimness, its stillness and isolation, that bring us back to love. Here we discover the paradox of the contemplative life, that the desert of solitude can be the school where we learn to love others.
(Kathleen Norris (b. 1947), U.S. poet and farmer. Dakota, ch. 20 (1993).
Norris lived in rural Lemmon, South Dakota, a town of 1,600 people.)
Fear can supplant our real problems only to the extentunwilling either to assimilate or to exhaust itwe perpetuate it within ourselves like a temptation and enthrone it at the very heart of our solitude.
(E.M. Cioran (b. 1911), Rumanian-born-French philosopher. The Temptation to Exist, title essay (1956).)
On the tree, Future, we build our nest; and in our solitude eagles shall bring us nourishment in their beaks!
(Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 4, p. 126, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980); Thus Spoke Zarathustra, p. 98, trans. by Walter Kaufmann, New York, Penguin Books (1978). Zarathustra, in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Second Part, "On the Rabble," (1883).)
I had but three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship; three for society. When visitors came in larger and unexpected numbers there was but the third chair for them all, but they generally economized the room by standing up.
(Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 155, Houghton Mifflin (1906).)
Solitude is not measured by the miles of space that intervene between a man and his fellows. The really diligent student in one of the crowded hives of Cambridge College is as solitary as a dervis in the desert.
(Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Walden (1854), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 2, p. 150, Houghton Mifflin (1906).)
Women's art, though created in solitude, wells up out of community. There is, clearly, both enormous hunger for the work thus being diffused, and an explosion of creative energy, bursting through the coercive choicelessness of the system on whose boundaries we are working.
(Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), U.S. lesbian feminist poet and essayist. Book review of Housework, by Joan Larkin (1977).)