[EPUB] ✼ Solitude: A Return to the Self By Anthony Storr – Marjoriejane.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Solitude: A Return to the Self

  1. says:

    Some of these reviews disappoint the hell out of me in terms of their reflection of how some modern people tend to read books One of the positive notes in a fairly positive review was that it s quite validating Is that a positive Is that why we read books To validate what we already feel Another reviewer called it discordant It was not discordant it eased itself back and forth between argumentative methods as it went along Is that really too sophisticated of a technique It seems pretty simple to me He moves from one technique, lets it work on you a little, then moves to another technique, lets that one work on you The substance, even as the techniques shift, is still concordant it doesn t bounce around randomly In the end, the effect is tremendous.Someone also said that it seems old That may be to the point This is a classic academic style, although written with popular appeal than many academic works Someone who doesn t have much patience or read much academic stuff might get bored It is pretty subtle, it doesn t overtly package its message within a lot of bells and whistles like most commercial books today do This I consider an advantage This, to me, means it cuts out the rhetorical bulls t contained in many supposedly profound books today The ideas speak for themselves.Storr is telling you, steadily, with each new chapter building up his evidence, that solitude is just as valid an approach to creativity and greatness as sociability.Why does he answer Freud so often in the pages of this book Because society and even most likely you too, whether consciously or not places FAR credit on sociability than on solitude And this notion absolutely originated with Freud This has never been true than it is today, in 2012, the digital age Solitude is anathema to modern life Standard validation is still in the form of approval or judgment from others Our quality of and ability to deal with social relationships are still the barometers by which most of us are judged as being either well adjusted or not This needn t be the case It shouldn t Storr tells us why, and inspires us along the way.


  2. says:

    As a very solitary person for example, I once went eight months without having any kind of conversation with anyone whether online or in person which is extreme not really recommended naturally, this book interested me Truthfully I was hoping, ideally, for something from this book that would click in me so that I would not desire or need any relationships with people because I can t seem to do them but yeah, no, that is not going to happen.Anyway as it turned out, strangely enough, the book seemed to be of a psychological discussion of creativity One message I got was that many creative people suffered and had psychological issues e.g depression, schizoid personality disorder but that if they could create or discover, it is a way to bring order to potential disordered behaviour it staves that off, and Storr s conclusion is that solitary behaviour or a lack of close and intimate relationships is not to be discounted or disowned, especially if people are able to have casual relationships such as friends or acquaintances, and also if they create things of value and worth It doesn t look like it necessarily mean happiness but it seems sensible and sympathetic in recognising that solitude and creation may be just what is positive that the person can do for themselves I don t know how much of a theory based on a creative myth this is, as opposed to rigorous objectivity For example, is it not so uncommon amongst non creatives or those who are not solitary that there are people with psychological issues or challenging life circumstances if you study their life just as much as Storr looked at the lives of his examples Kafka, Newton, Beethoven, Beatrix Potter, etc OK, maybe everyone is messed up in some way That appeals to the misanthrope in me Or, of course, what about creative people who had close and intimate relationships and were not solitary However it is, I fully agree with Storr that times of solitude are positive for a lot of people if they balance it up with contact with other people and that the happiest lives are probably those in which neither interpersonal relationships nor impersonal interests are idealised as the only way to salvation The desire and pursuit of the whole must comprehend both aspects of human nature.


  3. says:

    Into the wildUna delle paure che maggiormente ci attanaglia e che ci guida nella maggior parte dei nostri comportamenti quella della solitudine Se da una parte ben pochi di noi sarebbero disposti ad accettare una vita di solitudine, dall altra difficile credere che relazioni interpersonali soddisfacenti ci garantiscano idealmente la felicit Come diceva Chris McCandless in Into the wild Ti sbagli se pensi che le gioie della vita vengano soprattutto dai rapporti tra le persone Dio ha messo la felicit dappertutto, ovunque, in tutto ci di cui possiamo fare esperienza Abbiamo solo bisogno di cambiare il modo di vedere le cose. Questo saggio di Storr del 1989 tratta della solitudine in senso lato Ossia il suo scopo non tanto quello di verificare se sia meglio o peggio stare soli o in compagnia, cosa che sarebbe alquanto banale, quanto quello di chiedersi le macro ragioni domanda da poco per cui stiamo al mondo e il rapporto che c tra la creazione di valore personale che richiede riflessione, ragionamento e solitudine e l interazione con le altre persone La nostra vita governata da due tensioni opposte e importanti il bisogno di compagnia e rapporti sociali da una parte e quello di essere autonomi e indipendenti dall altra Se da una parte vero che a e amicizia siano tra gli ingredienti che rendono la vita degna di essere vissuta, dall altra la maggior parte degli interessi e delle occupazioni creative possono essere tranquillamente coltivate in solitudine.Tra l altro l importanza che si attribuisce ai rapporti interpersonali associabile alla paura della precariet come criterio di misura della felicit e della salute un fenomeno abbastanza recente le generazioni precedenti infatti non attribuivano un valore cos alto alle relazioni e la maggior parte dei pensatori era preoccupata pi di ci che si svolgeva nel loro intimo piuttosto che da ci che pensavano gli altri Oggi l importanza data alle relazioni peraltro virtuali sui social network non sei nessuno se non hai 2000 contatti su Facebook definisce bene la differenza con il passato.La nostra esistenza si pu dividere in fasi abbastanza ben distinte un primo periodo, ossia quello dei primi anni di vita, dove la sopravvivenza legata alla dipendenza da altri e da un ultimo periodo dove le cose si invertono l anziano, bench soggetto a perdere l autonomia fisica, sente diminuire la dipendenza affettiva, ha scarso interesse nei rapporti interpersonali, sta meglio solo perch preferisce badare ai propri problemi interiori Aumenta l obiettivit nei confronti degli altri, ma diminuisce la capacit di identificarsi con essi Come dice Wordsworth Quando dalla miglior parte di noi ci ha troppo a lungo separato, sempre incalzante, il mondo, e ci accasciamo nauseati dei suoi traffici, sazi dei suoi piaceri, quanto clemente, quanto propizia Solitudine Molto interessante nel libro il fatto che questo comportamento ha impatti anche nella produzione artistica, scientifica e letteraria La vita un autore artista scienziato si pu dividere in un primo periodo giovanile, in cui si impadronisce delle tecniche e dove soggetto all influenza dei suoi maestri, un secondo periodo di maturit , tipico di tutti i grandi e un terzo periodo a cui non tutti riescono ad accedere per questioni di et parlando di musicisti ad esempio, Beethoven e Liszt ci entrarono, Mozart, Chopin, Mendelsshon no in cui gli artisti tendono sempre pi a volgersi verso la sfera impersonale e la schematizzazione Nel primo e nel secondo periodo c grande attenzione per il prossimo, c voglia di apparire, di piacere, di sedurre, di farsi capire, di comunicare Nell ultimo c tendenza a chiudersi verso s stessi, verso l introspezione Il desiderio di piacere viene completamente meno mentre i discorsi e le opere si fanno pi ardite, complesse, rarefatte, concise, efficaci.Tanti sono i casi che mi vengono in mente di artisti divenuti involuti e complessi farsi capire a loro non interessava pi alla fine dei loro giorni esempi possono essere Delillo ultimi libri , Beethoven ultimi quartetti, ultima sonata , Tolstoj, etc.Il libro, a mio parere molto interessante anche se abbastanza tecnico, evidentemente include una casistica molto allargata, includendo i casi di solitudine forzata prigionia e o lutti , patologica e altri In ogni caso, la conclusione ovvia che le esistenze pi serene sono quelle in cui non vengono idealizzati n i rapporti interpersonali n gli interessi di tipo impersonale Il desiderio e la ricerca di completezza devono necessariamente comprendere entrambi gli aspetti della natura umana.


  4. says:

    The we broadcast ourselves on a constant basis, the we chip away at even the concept of solitude Every meal you eat is a photo meant to be shared, every funny thought you have is a tweet being prepared for the hive mind Online communication isn t the same as making a material world connection but neither is it the same as being alone Solitude has been the basis for so much of my creative accomplishment wonderful collaborative efforts notwithstanding We need connection, and we also need solitude, and online conversation is neither of those things but does it feed the need to create in some way, or is it of a false nourishment all the comfort of basking in inspiration, with none of the impetus to actually create I wonder how the author might have seen it.


  5. says:

    In the flood of books in all fields about social behaviour, a book extolling the virtues of solitude stands out Storr critiques the premise of much psychotherapy esp attachment theory that we need to be fixed so that we can have fulfilling social relationships and thereby be successful He argues that purpose and work and, importantly, the ability to be alone, are of equal value and uses creative people as examples Thus he says, The capacity to form attachments on equal terms is considered evidence of emotional maturity It is the absence of this capacity which is pathological Whether there may be other criteria of emotional maturity, like the capacity to be alone, is seldom taken into account And It is widely believed that interpersonal relationships of an intimate kind are the chief, if not the only, source of human happiness Yet the lives of creative individuals often seem to run counter to this assumption And he ends with this quote from WordsworthWordsworth The Prelude 1950 261.When from our better selves we have too long Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop,Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,How gracious, how benign, is Solitude.


  6. says:

    First, this book is magnificently structured The quality of writing and clarity of concepts laid out from the preface to the last page is well organized and clear without being overly pedantic or repetitive The author refers to concepts and goals of previous sections of the book even mentions upcoming areas that will be addressed later and it all just flows really nicely Very tightly written book it s only 202 pages the rest are notes.Second this book does a really great job of talking about the need for solitude as a balance to the need for human relationships and interactions using the experiences of highly accomplished historical figures including Beatrix Potter, Kant, Dostoevsky, Newton and many others This was originally published in 1988 so many watershed events happened in the 80s, and most people in developed countries were on the precipice of previously unknown opportunity for connection, distraction and surveillance of each other s activities At the time of writing, it is generally considered that the highly introverted person is pathological than the very extraverted person This is because of the current emphasis upon object relationships, and the disregard of processes which take place in solitude The premise is that people who want solitude or who are single are missing out and have something wrong with them We even use the Greek word for a person who lives alone troglodyte as an insult to indicate some kind of stupid or defective person.Storr goes into detail about the intrinsic need for humans to spend time alone sleep, for example, and dreams they provide our brain with time alone to integrate and heal and process experiences, ideas and thoughts about things Humans always crave some kind of solitude and even in the face of social convention and obligation, we come up with ways to get time to ourselves Florence Nightingale feigned a health complaint so she could get time alone to study and write Victorian women would have time to rest in the afternoons after spending so much time being empathically focused on the needs of others.So why is it that 30 years after this book was written, it seems like we are still not allowing people to take or make space to integrate their thoughts, experiences and ideas so that they can be healthier, happier and productive I m thinking specifically here of corporate professional work and the move to crowd people into open workspace areas and the retraction of control over where one works many employers are repealing remote work from home policies It seems counter productive to require an always on , in the office for 8 hours workday when that s not really how human brains function Being alone is necessary not just for personal life but for professional life as well While corporate culture values ideation, collaboration and consensus for decision making where is the space for integration and problem solving on an individual level Lots of great material to dig into here it feels like this is just another spot on the tip of the iceberg of a subject that fascinates me the psychology of creativity If you enjoy reading Finding Flow and other books by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi you ll enjoy this book.


  7. says:

    Kipling, P.G Wodehouse, Graham Greene, Beethoven, Anne Sexton, Beatrice Potter, Goya are a few examples in this book of how creative people benefitted from solitude I am reading the recent 2017 Shirley Jackson biography and can now add her, and one of the writers she s often compared with, Hawthorne, as examples of creative people who turned their trials and distresses into art It starts out as a way of coping and then becomes a life project And solitude becomes a friend, not a sad thing like loneliness You are in your head a lot, thinking, imagining, sometimes talking to yourself because you are your own best listener This is the way of the writer and other creatives Since stumbling on this book in a bookstore back in 1991, I have read it many times After a couple of readings, I had his primary thesis and insights down After that, I enjoyed re reading the stories of how so many writers, composers, and scientists used solitude as an opportunity to create their greatest works The author s description of the writing process preparation research , incubation, illumination.And as I have pursued my own writing including a bestseller , with Storr as a bridge, I finally understood what Graham Greene was trying to say Writing is a form of therapy sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.


  8. says:

    I don t know entirely where I stand on this On the one hand, it features lots of lovely tidbits about how people have dealt with solitude, most of them miserable depressives The whole thing is a defense of solitude as an essential component of well being, written as it was at a time when interpersonal relationships were deemed to be of paramount importance, and long before lots of basement dwelling assholes started claiming that their introversion was why they were assholes.I mean, it is a product of its time Especially in the beginning, there s a little too much Freudianism for my taste, and the moronic statue of Abraham Maslow is erected at one point, but it doesn t obscure a good argument And parts of it are downright moving the moment towards the end where he mentions that the much discussed loss of former interests in depressive patients isn t a loss of former interests per se, it s a loss of interests due to the burdens of work and familial requirements, something that terrifies me, deeply.


  9. says:

    This was such an excellent findalmost lost in the midst of the sidewalk sale at Second Story books in Dupont Circle Dr Storr is a psychiatrist as well as a talented writer and researcher The book is full of fascinating biographical jewels on great minds like Kant, Newton, Henry James, Beatrix Potter, P.G Wodehouse, Freud, Jung and many Storr s main premise is to challenge the predominant theory today that a well balanced life revolves around deep, significant relationships He does not dismiss the significance of relationships themselves but proffers that interests, hobbies, work, religion, nature and art can meet the same needs and desires of men and women of all types My only criticism, which is something that Storr acknowledges but doesn t ever truly answer, is the focus on great creative minds who often had the means to take advantage of solitude rather than offering a potential answer for ordinary people who feel they could benefit from the same Overall, an incredible, rare find that straddles the fields of psychology, sociology, the arts, religion and science.


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Solitude: A Return to the Self download Solitude: A Return to the Self, read online Solitude: A Return to the Self, kindle ebook Solitude: A Return to the Self, Solitude: A Return to the Self 9b46352ab5c4 Originally Published In 1988, Anthony Storr S Enlightening Meditation On The Creative Individual S Need For Solitude Has Become A Classic Solitude Was Seminal In Challenging The Established Belief That Interpersonal Relationships Of An Intimate Kind Are The Chief, If Not The Only, Source Of Human Happiness Indeed, Most Self Help Literature Still Places Relationships At The Center Of Human Existence Lucid And Lyrical, Storr S Book Cites Numerous Examples Of Brilliant Scholars And Artists From Beethoven And Kant To Anne Sexton And Beatrix Potter To Demonstrate That Solitude Ranks Alongside Relationships In Its Impact On An Individual S Well Being And Productivity, As Well As On Society S Progress And Health But Solitary Activity Is Essential Not Only For Geniuses, Says Storr The Average Person, Too, Is Enriched By Spending Time Alone For Fifteen Years, Readers Have Found Inspiration And Renewal In Storr S Erudite, Compassionate Vision Of Human Experience.