It is attributed to Thoreau to have written,
As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.
What strikes me about this quote is his laudation of simplicity, of the overlooked positive aspects of solitude, poverty, and weakness. Such disdained characteristics in society, yet the masses produce no alternative except clutter, hubris, and the numbing sensation of sensory overloading. Humans can no longer just be, without the inundation of some distraction from the monotony of their own minds. I do not exclude myself from being prey to this.
In fact, I am possibly the guiltiest culprit of hiding behind superfluous thrills to forget about it all. I own way too many records, I’m constantly investing money into all sorts of excessive gadgets, and, most destructively, I am incapable of being alone. Falling asleep that first night in my empty apartment when my roommate left for Christmas break was the most uncomfortable thing I’ve felt in a long time.
But surrounding myself with things, people, and entertainment doesn’t exactly make me happy either. Even just after a week of living my day-to-day life, I always feel the need to hermit myself away somewhere for a day, just to recuperate from it all.
And so this brings me to my New Year’s Objective No. 3, which is to embrace solitude. I need to become content with being by myself. Only then will I ever even begin to understand what I want out of life, or even what I am beneath all impressed societal norms, all excess. I need to paint, write, read, and maybe learn a new language. I need to learn how to make a soufflé.
…I have a lot of work to do.