Sunday, December 7, 2014

Americans demand maximum personal freedom yet are terrified of being alone

Sewells Falls Sluiceway to Nowhere
CC Jean Stimmell: 11/8/14
A seminal paradox: Americans crave maximum personal freedom yet are terrified of being alone. I want to write more about this later. To help focus our minds on the upcoming conversation, check out the following quotes from How to Be Alone by Sara Maitland (as bought to my attention by the inestimable Maria Popova):

We live in a society which sees high self-esteem as a proof of well-being, but we do not want to be intimate with this admirable and desirable person.

We see moral and social conventions as inhibitions on our personal freedoms, and yet we are frightened of anyone who goes away from the crowd and develops “eccentric” habits.

We believe that everyone has a singular personal “voice” and is, moreover, unquestionably creative, but we treat with dark suspicion (at best) anyone who uses one of the most clearly established methods of developing that creativity — solitude.

We think we are unique, special and deserving of happiness, but we are terrified of being alone.

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