THE Dialectic of Solitude

"The past has left us orphans as it has the rest of the planet and we must join together in inventing our common future. 'World history' has become everyone's task, and our own labyrinth is the labyrinth of all mankind."


"To live is to be separated from what we were in order to approach what we are going to be."


defining solitude

Psychological origins | dialectic in history | irony | slavery | race stereotype | opposing Nations| Revolution

The foetus is at one with the world around it; it is pure brute life, unconscious of itself. When we are born we break the ties that joined us to the blind life we lived in the maternal womb, where there is no gap between desire and satisfaction. We sense the change as separation and loss, as abandonment, as a fall into a strange or hostile atmosphere. Later this primitive sense of loss becomes a feeling of solitude, and still later it becomes awareness : we are condemned to live alone, but also to transcend our solitude, to re-establish the bonds that united us with life in a paradisiac past."

p. 195.

knowledge of "self awareness" wedded to "a longing to escape form ourselves."

p. 195.

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"At the exit from the labyrinth of solitude we will find reunion, and plenitude, and harmony with the world."

p. 195.

"Solitude [is] – the feeling and knowledge that one is alone alienated from the world and oneself."

"All men feel themselves to be alone."

"Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition."

"Man is the only being who knows he is alone"

p. 195

"His nature -- if that is what can be used in reference to man, who has invented himself by saying "NO" to nature -- consists of his longing to realize himself in another."

"to reestablish the bonds that united us with life in a paradisiacal past."

p. 195.

dialectic in history | dualism | irony | slavery | race stereotype | opposing Nations| Revolution

"All human life is pervaded by this dialectic ... of solitude and communion."

"We are born alone, we will die alone."

p. 196.

"What we ask of love . . . is a hunger for communion . . . that full life in which opposites vanish."

"Our whole being strives to escape the opposites that torment us."

p. 196.

"In our world, love is an almost inaccessible experience. Everything is against it: morals, classes, laws, races, and even the very lovers themselves."

p. 197.

" . . . the profoundest experience life can offer us, that of discovering the reality as a oneness in which opposites agree."

"Love is one of the clearest examples of that double instinct which causes us to dig deeper into our own selves and, at the same time, to emerge from ourselves in another: death and re-creation, solitude and communion."

p. 202.

dialectic in history | irony | slavery | race stereotype | opposing Nations| Revolution | Next topic; modernity

"Work, the only modern god, is no longer creative. It is endless infinite work, corresponding to the inconclusive life of modern society."

"It is utter damnation, mirroring a world without exit."

"The dual significance of solitude – a break with one world and an attempt to create another –can be seen in our conception of heroes, saints and redeemers."

p. 204.

"The dialectic of solitude is clearly revealed in the history of every people."

p. 205.


"The social solidarity of these people has' a vital organic character. The individual is literally a part of a body."

p. 206.

"Of course it is difficult to discover all these factors in the history of any society."

Origins of Orphic religions and orphans in the common meaning of "empty" representing the loss or separation of the members in Hellenistic civilization as it was crumbling invested in mystery religions.

p. 207.

"Clearly we are faced with a wall that we by ourselves can not then leap over nor breakdown."'

"We have been expelled from the center of the world and are condemned to search for it through jungles and deserts or in the underground mazes of the labyrinth."


"Also there was a time when time was not succession and transition, but rather a perpetual source of fixed present in which all times, past and future , were contained."

" . . .man ceased to be one with time, ceased to coincide with the flow of reality. . . . These spatial measurements of time separate man from reality –which is a continuous present–"

p. 209.


"The kingdom of the fixed present, of perpetual communion, will be re-established. Reality will tear off its masks, and at last we will be able to know it, and our fellow men."

pp. 211-212.

Dialectic of life & death

"All human life is pervaded by the dialectic of solitude & communion -- solitary and redemption -- alone, & together."

"Every moribund or sterile society attempts to save itself by creating a redemption myth, which is also a fertility myth, a creation myth."

"Solitude and sin are resolved in communion and fertility."

"The society we live in today has also created its myth. The sterility of the bourgeois world will end in suicide or a new form of creative participation. This is the 'theme of our times,' . . ;

" it is the substance of our dreams and the meaning of our acts."

p. 212.


"this wide-awake thinking has led us into the mazes of a nightmare in which the torture chambers are endlessly repeated in the mirrors of reason. When we emerge, perhaps we will realize that we have been dreaming with our eyes open, and that the dreams of reason are intolerable. And then, perhaps, we will begin to dream with our eyes closed."

p. 212.

Dialectic of Solitude

Writing History

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