I love the night. Especially after midnight when everybody is asleep and there is no sound but the wind. The mind becomes clear then, your solitude becomes more attractive, more familiar. Maybe because you are left alone, without having to resort to seclusion.
There are lonesome and solitary people.
The first feel miserable. They would like to have someone to talk to, to hug, to give themselves to, but – for various reasons – they have nobody to do so. I watch them sitting at the café, longing to draw some attention. Yet, at the same time they can’t muster the courage to approach someone. They remain confined in the loneliness that engulfs them and which they detest at the same time.
Solitary people are different. They enjoy themselves and the silence. They welcome you heartily in their private habitat but they sigh in relief when you walk away.
To be able to enjoy solitude, you must be able to bear yourself. And to come closer to yourself, you must learn to enjoy solitude.
Solitude is an indispensable prerequisite of every myth where there is a mention of a wise man.
Human mythology says that the Nazarene disappeared for ten years, or more, off the face of the earth, before he made his appearance again in Palestine to preach this (so utopian) “love thy neighbour as thyself”.
Some maintain that he wandered around in Greece and came in contact with Stoicism and Neoplatonism. Some others maintain that he reached India.
To me, is more likely that he went somewhere to Sinai Peninsula and stayed alone, looking at the sunsets over the desert.
Then he stepped into a cave and wrote his thoughts on the sand. He wrote nothing else.
Solitude is helpful; not to save the world, this is something that very few attempt to do and as a rule they end up murdered. It helps you get a better grasp of what is going on.
Every man should attempt to live alone for a while, even for a month. One month without speaking to anybody, without television, internet or newspapers. Perhaps without books, too.
Waking up in the morning having nothing to do, nothing to hear.
It’s not easy. At some point, usually after two or three days, you begin feeling heavy. It’s all these you got to be that now weigh you down, since there is no-one to tell you how or who you need to be.
And when nobody tells you how or who you owe to be, you must find out how or who you really are.
We all see ourselves in others’ eyes. Actually, it’s them who shape us. We play roles, we become our roles, be it professional, or social, or familial, or erotic or…
But when you cover the mirror with the cloth of your solitude, you must remember how your face looks like, you must invent your face, you must invent a self.
Ιn the world you were either a parent or a child or a lover, you were your profession, your art, the music you listen to. In solitude, nothing defines you. Your self becomes a liquid and you must find the container that will shape it.
Within society, it is the others who answer your question: “Who am I?” They will show you who you are.
In solitude, there is no-one to define you. It’s you who got to find the answer. “Who am I?”
First you cross out the easy stuff. You’re not your job. You are not the religion you were given from birth, nor your nationality. You are not a husband or a parent. Nothing of the above goes, when you are on your own.
Your name, your sign, your sexual proclivities. Even the foods you like; if you were born in Asia, different food would taste good to you, you might even eat fried insects.
Who are you when there is no-one to define you?
An experience like that, of volitional seclusion, avails you to figure out what you are not.
If you do it for a month, as I did, you pass past madness to get closer to “your path”. If you do it for ten years, where could it take you?
How many people could endure ten years of reclusive life? And mainly, how many could live alone like this and then come back to reality?
You need to be talented on self-knowledge.
Have fear of people who can’t stand being alone. It is because there is something in themselves that is bothering them.
It’s not a bad thing to be alone whenever you want to.
To hear the city’s crickets and stare at the moon; just for a while, before you go to sleep where you will lose “yourself” completely. Because when you sleep and when you dream, you are not the person you think you must be.
You become something else.
I look at Perla, the dog, squeezing her nose between the railings of the balcony in search of passers-by, dogs or humans. Then she lies on the floor and falls asleep.
A cricket shouts his voice. And a man is sitting on the balcony putting on paper incoherent thoughts.
It’s true that I learned many things from my solitude. But I always squeeze my nose between the railings to observe the passers-by, men or dogs.
Translated by Alexandros Mantas
Since we’re not native speakers, feel free to suggest improvements and make corrections
And some music by Residuos Mentales https://www.facebook.com/residuos.mentales/