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Posted on 27 October 2011, 18:06

A new book by Simon Parke is out on 1 November. It’s called Solitude: Recovering the power of alone. The past decade has seen us make huge strides forward in banishing the experience of being on our own. All you need is a smartphone and you can text, tweet and browse your way out of aloneness. How desperate does it feel to find you have left the house without your mobile?

Solitude is written as a dialogue, which I like, as it makes a good percentage of the book ask questions. And it has short chapters of four or five pages each which are designed to make you pause and think about the issues which orbit around spending time with yourself. For the flavour of the dialogue, play the film above. Simon has also written about the book on his website…


Lady Gaga, never knowingly under-exposed, dug deep into the basket of self-revelation recently when speaking to Star TV. ‘I am an artist,’ she said. ‘We wallow in loneliness and solitude our whole lives… Yes, I’m lonely. But I’m married to my loneliness.’

How are you feeling about that? Perhaps you’re nodding your head in empathic agreement, but I’m shaking mine in frustration. Millions hang on her every word, but her words perpetuate a falsehood. Solitude is nothing like loneliness.

‘Our language has wisely sensed the two sides of being alone,’ writes Paul Tillich. ‘It has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.’ It’s important we keep them separate, otherwise all hell will break loose.

Solitude is different. Solitude is the state of being alone without being lonely; of being happily alone. It is a positive and constructive state of engagement with oneself, and through oneself, with God and the world around. Solitude is something desirable, something to be sought; a state of being alone in the good company of your self.


Simon Parke website

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Any prizes for spotting the video locations? Three of them: St Martha’s Hill, Godalming and Kingston riverside. Must be the places where Surrey stockbrokers seek solitude or at least the space to think about their next life enhancing pay deal or property speculation!

David Kratt, Fri 28 Oct, 13:31

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