“Fertile Solitude” by Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips

“All of humanity’s problems,” the French scientist and philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in 1654, “stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

Three centuries later, the great Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky shared his single most urgent piece of advice to the young: learn to enjoy your own company. And yet today, in the golden age of solo living, Pascal’s words ring all the more urgently true and Tarkovsky’s counsel seems all the more unattainable. The age of Social Everything makes the art of solitude appear increasingly difficult to attain, even terrifying.

Why?

The great British psychoanalytical writer Adam Phillips examines the psychological mechanisms and pathologies underpinning our aversion to solitude in an essay titled “On Risk and Solitude,” found in his wonderfully stimulating collection On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored: Psychoanalytic Essays on the Unexamined Life — the same slim, potent 1993 volume that gave us Phillips on why the capacity for boredom is essential for a full life.

Read full article at: http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/07/18/adam-phillips-on-risk-and-solitude/

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