Wednesday, May 13, 2015


"All By Myself-el-elf"

OK, sometimes reading something just starts a song in your head. Such was the case with this post from Justin Taylor:
The Washington Post recently summarized a recent study published in Science showing a sad but not surprising result: men would rather experience an electrical shock than to be along with his own thoughts.
He then goes on to quote Peter Kreeft and Douglas Groothuis on Pascal and the work he did on diversions. Both discuss the value of time alone and undistracted to, as Groothuis puts it, "pursue higher realities."

I cannot disagree with the need for such pursuit, but I will also say it takes a maturity most do not have. It has taken me a long, long time to learn how to be OK with my own company. As a young man solitude did not bring such thoughts, rather it brought thoughts of a most depressive and unproductive nature. Even today, too much solitude can produce the same very bad thinking. Solitude is a necessary condition for such a pursuit, but it is not a sufficient one and until such time as the other conditions are in place, it may be counterproductive.

Rather than pursue higher things, solitude, absent such maturity can result in a pursuit of much lower things. Busyness can be a useful tool in the desire to avoid temptation of all sorts. In my own experience it is only when I have conquered (well, the Holy Spirit actually) my baser nature to some reasonable extent that solitude allows for such higher pursuit.

I find the study encouraging. I think it shows that we do not wish to sink into the swamp of our own sinfulness and despair. We seek to conquer our baseness to the point where the solitude these gentlemen call for is productive. The key is to make sure we do not overcome the temptations of solitude with temptations of a different sort.


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