A Quote for Your Life #2
A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free. — Arthur Schopenhauer
Some people are afraid of being alone, or simply don’t enjoy it. I’ve met some people who, if given the choice, would always choose to be in someone else’s company. These people are likely to associate solitude with loneliness, a negative connotation. The reason Schopenhauer compares solitude to freedom is that when we are alone, the pressures of society can not influence the way we think; and so our thought processes are naturally unfiltered. This allows us to pursue any trail of thought that we please. We don’t have to worry about everyone else’s perceptions of us, or the possibility of upsetting them. It can therefore be argued that as we spend more time in solitude, we will gain a better understanding of our own personalities. Solitude provides a platform to ponder important personal questions. What is significant to me? What are my true goals and objectives? How can I better myself? These are questions whose answers may only come from within.
From the moment we are conceived, solitude is ever-present in our lives. We are born in what is a very personal experience. Many of us will, unfortunately, die alone. In our old age, we can not guarantee the company of our loved ones. For these reasons, it is essential to be comfortable with oneself. Schopenhauer teaches us that this isn’t something we should be in fear of, but something we should love.