Tuesday, March 30, 2004


I spend a lot of time by myself. For starters, I've got the commute to work every day; that's a solid two hours. My lunch hour is all mine. Sometimes I just take 15 minutes and eat lunch at my desk, but just as often I've got a full hour to fill. And then I usually spend at least a good chunk of the work day alone. Louis' meetings seem to average a couple hours in length, and some days he's not around at all. Just me. And then I can add to that the hours I spend awake at night. I'm not technically alone, since Catherine is in the next room, but it's still a lot of time with just myself.

I believe it was Paul Tillich who said "loneliness can be conquered only by those who can bear solitude." Solitude is an obstacle to overcome at least as often as it is a refuge from the world. There is nothing inherently noble about being alone, and I don't think that people who treasure a state of separateness are any more virtuous than those who thrive on social interaction. It's not altogether clear to me why I should feel good about being able to be alone when I am so very bad at being with other people. It doesn't particularly feel like a virtue, keeping one's own company more easily than keeping company with someone else.

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