We often think being alone is something to fear. Yet it has been an integral component in the lives of many of our greatest thinkers. Are we more real when we are alone and perhaps also more alive?
Is our great contemporary fear anonymity?
If the property that grounded the self in Romanticism was sincerity, and in modernism was authenticity, then in postmodernism is it visibility? So asked the writer of a thought-provoking article on our obsession with connectivity.
Is this what our contemporary selves really want? To be recognised, to be connected, to be visible, if not to the millions via, say, the X Factor, then at least to the hundreds, via Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn?
There are no strangers here- only friends you haven't yet met - William Butler Yeats
Writing is alone, yes, but I don't think it's lonely - Margaret Atwood
Visit us, please, from a previous century and you'll see us walking down the streets, wired cockleshells in ears, jabbering like lunatics in a Victorian asylum - from David Hare's "It all started 96 hours after 9/11"
The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude - Aldous Huxley
The loathsome behaviour of City boys and hedgies at the height of their success. It was the behaviour of people without culture and without any sense of their connection to other people. They were isolated within their own phenomenally narrow set of values. Such isolation breeds stupidity because judgment is discarded as it might threaten the gamblers' groupthink. Outsiders are mocked because they 'don't understand'. - Bryan Appleyard