In the olden days, if you were a certain type, you could take your leave of society and retire to the country. There, you would contemplate existence, smoke your pipe and write essays on solitude - like Montaigne, who came up with the title for this post. As an aside, I wonder where these people are now - these archetypal ageing philosophers. Anyway, perhaps there's a career option for me in there somewhere...
Back to the post. Montaigne is an interesting fellow and even more interesting is his essay "on solitude". I would recommend reading it all but the gist of this post is that you need not retire wholly from society in order to be free of its vicissitudes and small mindedness - all you need do is reserve a part of your mind that is free from such things - keep a room at the back of the shop. Now, interestingly this "room at the back of the shop" corresponds with the idea that if you rest in awareness then you need not be affected by what happens in the world - a sort of equanimity.
So, you can be happy whatever the circumstances! Which is what I've been trying to convey in this blog.
Here's what you do:
- open a virtual shop in your life - the business end of things where you interact with people
- in your shop, keep a room free at the back
- decorate your room as you please, but keep it clear
- retire to your room regularly and enjoy the solitude therein
- smoke a virtual pipe and stroke your virtual beard