Do Creative people need solitude?

While attending art school at SAIT in Calgary, years ago, I read the The Labyrinth of Solitude by Mexican author Octavio Paz….in it he writes:

Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone, and the only one who seeks out another. His nature -if that word can be used in reference to man, who has ‘invented’ himself by saying ‘no’ to nature consists in his longing to realize himself in another. Man is nostalgia and a search for communion. Therefore, when he is aware of himself he is aware of his lack of another, that is, of his solitude.’

This week I am across a post from the artist’s network Behance which poses the question “What is one of the most crucial commodities for creative people that’s also becoming increasingly difficult to obtain in the 21st century? The answer: Solitude”

Great article with quotes from the poet Rilke who says to follow what is difficult. While I recognize the importance of solitude for soul-searching and creativity – I feel that right now on this planet – it is a time for connecting, especially online. The big question is how to connect to like-minded creative individuals and work together to solve some of the pressing issues that face us globally -that is DIFFICULT.

Increasingly as we will work more and more in solitude, from a home office, winding down on the “great white commute” and integrating our work into our lifestyle we take control of our time and manage it accordingly. As long as technology remains up and running we can stay connected to our networks and the ideas, news and information flowing through them…

This past week, a dear friend in Australia, who works in technology and just set up his own server, posted on Facebook that the floods of Queensland were encroaching on the home he and his wife share. Since he was iPad enabled he remained connected on Facebook while friends commented on his posts with prayers and well wishes. Thoughts are things. The floods stopped literally outside the driveway of his home and his next post was of preparing a camp style meal for his wife….

With the internet keeping us in touch – should we wish to be so – it is the best of both worlds…alone and yet connected. Alone and yet, not lonely.

Today it is heavy snow in Toronto. In the last hour I connected online already with lots of folks…as the snow continues to fall. Now it is time to get out and shovel and in the solitude of that activity I will contemplate my reason for being and the wonder of it all….


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