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Solitude


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Quotations

Mignon McLaughlinThe neurotic always wishes people would let him alone - until they do.

—  Mignon McLaughlin, 1913-1983, American magazine editor

AristotleHe who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god.

—  Aristotle, 384-322 BC, Ancient Greek philosopher

Friedrich NietzscheI hate who steals my solitude, without really offer me in exchange company.

—  Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900, German philosopher

Emile M. CioranTears do not burn except in solitude.

—  Emile M. Cioran, 1911-1995, French-Romanian philosopher

Eugene O’NeillMan's loneliness is but his fear of life.

—  Eugene O’Neill, 1888-1953, American playwright, Nobel 1936

Anton ChekhovIn Moscow you sit in a huge room at a restaurant; you know no one and no one knows you, and at the same time you don't feel a stranger. But here you know everyone and everyone knows you, and yet you are a stranger… A stranger, and lonely.

—  Anton Chekhov, 1860-1904, Russian writer

Lord ByronHe makes a solitude, and calls it - peace!

—  Lord Byron, 1788-1824, British poet

Joseph RouxSolitude vivifies; isolation kills.

—  Joseph Roux, 1834-1905, French clergyman & poet

Pablo PicassoWithout great solitude, no serious work is possible.

—  Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, Spanish painter

Blaise PascalAll of humanity’s problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.

—  Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662, French thinker

Winston ChurchillSolitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.

—  Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, British Prime Minister, Nobel 1953

Friedrich NietzscheTo live alone one must be an animal or a god - says Aristotle. There is yet a third case: one must be both - a philosopher.

—  Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900, German philosopher

Arthur SchopenhauerA man can be himself only so long as he is alone.

—  Arthur Schopenhauer, 1788-1860, German philosopher

Arthur SchopenhauerGreat men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude.

—  Arthur Schopenhauer, 1788-1860, German philosopher

Mark TwainThe worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.

—  Mark Twain, 1835-1910, American writer

Andy WarholI had a lot of dates, but I decided to stay home and dye my eyebrows.

—  Andy Warhol, 1928-1987, American artist

Eugene IonescoI long for solitude and yet I cannot stand it.

—  Eugene Ionesco, 1912-1994, French-Romanian playwright

Eric HofferThe end comes when we no longer talk with ourselves. It is the end of genuine thinking and the beginning of the final loneliness.

—  Eric Hoffer, 1902-1983, American writer & philosopher

Ralph Waldo EmersonSolitude, the safeguard of mediocrity, is to genius the stern friend.

—  Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1884, American philosopher

Ayn RandHe never felt loneliness except when he was happy.

—  Ayn Rand, 1905-1982, American writer & philosopher

CiceroThe two conditions that lead others to languor – i.e. leisure and solitude – him made sharper.

—  Cicero, 106-43 BC, Roman orator & statesman

     (on Scipio)

Antonio PorchiaHe who does not fill his world with phantoms remains alone.

—  Antonio Porchia, 1885-1968, Italian-Argentinian poet

Fernando PessoaSolitude desolates me; company oppresses me.

—  Fernando Pessoa, 1888-1935, Portuguese poet & writer

Fernando PessoaIf you cannot live alone, you were born a slave.

—  Fernando Pessoa, 1888-1935, Portuguese poet & writer

Paul ValeryGod created man, and finding him not sufficiently alone, gave him a female companion so that he might feel his solitude more acutely.

—  Paul Valery, 1871-1945, French poet

Karl KrausSolitude would be an ideal state if one were able to pick the people one avoids.

—  Karl Kraus, 1874-1936, Austrian writer

Anton ChekhovAs I shall lie in the grave alone, so in fact I live alone.

—  Anton Chekhov, 1860-1904, Russian writer

George WashingtonIt is better to be alone than in bad company.

—  George Washington, 1732-1799, the first American President

Samuel JohnsonIf you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary be not idle.

—  Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784, English writer

Karl JungLoneliness does not come from having no people around, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.

—  Karl Jung, 1875-1961, Swiss psychiatrist


Personal Stories

Lord ByronI only go out to get me a fresh appetite for being alone.

—  Lord Byron, 1788-1824, British poet


Quotes in Verse

Constantine KavafyWith no consideration, no pity, no shame,
they have built walls around me, thick and high.

—  Constantine Kavafy, 1868-1933, Greek poet ‐ Walls

Fernando PessoaI have no ambitions nor desires
To be a poet is not my ambition,
It's simply my way of being alone.

—  Fernando Pessoa, 1888-1935, Portuguese poet & writer


Proverbs

Greek proverbEven in paradise it is not good to be alone.

—  Greek proverb










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2017: Manolis Papathanassiou