Further to my post on Martha Nussbaum’s notion of seeking out difficulty to have a good life, I’d like to chat to you about a rant on the value of loneliness I came across today on BrainPickings.com.
The rant picks up on an idea explored in The Lonely City by Olive Laing – that loneliess fuels creativity and a rich, full life.
Essentially it picks up on the paradoxical nature of loneliness. Lonely times can be sad and listless and characterised by a sense of lack. And yet loneliness is also a “vitalizing laboratory for self-discovery”.
Loneliness can “drive one to consider some of the larger questions of what it is to be alive.” This is indeed big and rich and strangely intimate.
Ever sat at a bar on your own in a big city? Know what she means? The barrenness of loneliness drives you down into yourself.
Loneliness, paradoxically, can see you cure yourself of loneliness by bringing you to the most secure company around: yourself.
I also liked this idea: Loneliness might be taking you towards an otherwise unreachable experience of reality.
Again, the fretfulness it induces takes you to an edge that the marshmallow-y company of others protects you from.
At the edge…that’s where a rich life is. That’s where we dig down and get dirty and real and come up with honest, original thought.
I also like that the author points to Edward Hopper’s art. Which I’ve always loved.
I’m going to remember all these nice things when my loneliness next strikes. You?