Who do you think of when you hear the word “a workaholic”? Maybe you fancy that it is someone like an alcoholic and he is crazy not on the booze….
One of solitude paradoxes –that challenges the mind of every man-is how a loner’s perspective remains persistent over time. While May Sarton’s “The Reward of Living a Solitary Life” discusses the virtues of being in the state of solitude, it also provides an in-depth view of what and how the person thinks while being alone. Consider the following : how does one experiences the vicissitude of loneliness? Does not one afflicted from solitude in any way? What kind of virtues can be derived from solitude? And most importantly, does not one feels the mundane sorrow of being alone? I assumed that what Sarton is trying to do is to provide a summary of the mind of a loner.
Being alone – according to him – provides a quintessence perception of an experience. In some way, I am very much agree to what he pontificates. Tasting a glass of wine ,alone, will highlight the congenital essence that every sommelier is trying to find-consider solitude as the art of winery.
Though it is needed to emphasize, however, that a second view must be taken into account shortly after the one sided perspective-that is if one ever wants to achieve mutual judgment of the idea in hand. Our sole understanding of an experience gives us our version of the truth. Note that each understanding of a man may be a valid version of the truth in their own way. Of which if each version consolidated, the purest form can be experienced. From what Sarton wrote, it is clear that he overlooked the concept aforementioned. Thus our view of an idea will deem to be bias. And quoting back Sarton, “solitude is the salt of personhood. It brings out the authentic flavor of every experience.”, we come to a conclusion that an experience can’t never be perceived to its unadulterated form without the second perspective. Later Sarton goes on elucidate how solitude allows us to embrace our inner identity. According to him, while being without a companion one doesn’t have to be hypocrite and ,thus, one can be anything one thing truly is.
Though there are some truth to which he purports-but not as much as he think-I am still second guessing his postulation. Apart from being platitudinous, his postulation is too much a priori. How do we know that ourselves now is our true identity? To what criterion will we put our evaluation upon? With respect to what? We might think that when our comfort is at the zenith of our “young” life, then our identity takes the form during the zenith. Well this, I’m afraid, is stand corrected for our perception is dynamic and it might change over time. The best way to find out who we truly are is when we are at the best state when we are with the community. And as I know, Sarton only bear his own perception of himself. Finally, Sarton explain a brief transition hiatus every enjoyment of solitude that are both dramatic and evocative.
In the “transition”, he explain that there’s a time when he did feels lonely especially when he wants to empty his “full-jar” of experiences. In this part we are allowed to understand that a loner is , unsurprisingly, a human as well. Maybe those who isolate themselves never really want to be alone, it’s just that it occurs to their mind maybe it is better to community if they are not part of it. Like Sarton wrote, “ As I watch the surf blowing up in fountains at the end of the field”, the need of solitude will rise again and till death will do us apart. As a whole, the introduction of the essay is pretty much puerile. The argument did provide two sided perspective: that is to say the virtues and the vice of solitude-of which he should be rewarded. Some of the argument does make sense and it does persuade me-though never to exceed. However I will recommend this essay to anyone who wants to get an overview of a loner’s mind, but as a major reference –not really.