17 Apr The greatest enemies to solitude. (MANDEVILLE)
I cannot see why this love of company, this strong desire after society, should be construed so much our favour and alleged as a mark of some intrinsic worth in man not to be found in other animals. For to prove from it the goodness of our nature and a generous love in man, extended beyond him- self on the rest of his species, by virtue of which he was a sociable creature, this eagerness after company and aversion of being alone ought to have been the most conspicuous and most violent in the best of their kind, the men of the greatest genius, parts, and accomplishments, and those who are the least subject to vice; the contrary of which is true. The weakest minds, who can the least govern, their passions, guilty consciences that abhor reflection, and the worthless who are incapable of producing anything of their own that is useful, are the greatest enemies to solitude and will take up with any company rather than be without; whereas the men of sense and of knowledge that can think and contemplate on things and such as are but little disturbed by their passions can bear to be by themselves the longest without reluctancy; and to avoid noise, folly, and impertinence will run away from twenty companies; and rather than meet with anything disagreeable to their good taste will prefer their closet or a garden, nay, a common or a desert, to the society of some men.
The Fable Of The Bees Or Private Vices Public Benefits