10 Mar La diete des aliments nous rend la sante du corps, et celle des hommes la tranquillite de l’ame. [Bernardin de St. Pierre – (Α. SCHOPENHAUER)]
Moreover, gregariousness can also be regarded as a kind of mutual mental warming of men similar to the bodily warmth which they produce by crowding together when it is very cold. But whoever has great mental warmth needs no such crowding. The result of all this is that a man’s sociability is roughly in inverse ratio to his intellectual worth; and ‘he is very unsociable’ is tantamount to saying ‘he is a man of great qualities.’
Solitude confers a twofold advantage on the man of intellectual eminence; first that of being by himself and secondly that of not being with others. The latter will be highly valued if we bear in mind how much want of freedom, annoyance, and even danger are entailed in all social intercourse. La Bruytre says: tout notre mal vient de ne pouvoir être seuls. Gregariousness or sociability is one of the dangerous and even fatal tendencies, for it brings us into contact with people the great majority of whom are morally bad and intellectually dull or perverse. The unsociable man is one who does not need them; to have enough in oneself so that one does not need society is, therefore, a great piece of good fortune. For almost all our sufferings spring from society, and peace of mind, constituting next to health the most essential element of our happiness, is endangered by all society and therefore cannot really twist without a significant amount of solitude. The Cynics renounced all possessions in order to partake of the bliss of peace of mind; whoever with the same intention renounces society, has chosen the most prudent course. What Bernandin de St. Pierre says is fine and to the point: La diete des aliments nous rend la sante du corps, et celle des hommes la tranquillite de l’ame.
Accordingly, whoever at an early age is on friendly or even affectionate terms with solitude, has gained a gold-mine; but certainly not everyone is able to do this. For just as men are driven together originally by need and privation, so too are they by boredom, when these are removed. Without privation and boredom, everyone would probably remain alone if only because in solitude the environment is in keeping with the exclusive importance and even uniqueness which everyone has in his own eyes and which is reduced to nought by the crowded events of the world, where at every step it receives a painful dementi In this sense, loneliness is even the natural state of everyone; it reinstates his as Adam in the original happiness that is appropriate to his nature.
Counsels and Maxims