The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.
– Aldous Huxley, novelist (1894-1963)
I find the term “religion of solitude” a bit unsettling bcause of the multiple meanings of “religion.” I choose to interpret the phrase to mean a deep respect for time to be alone.
Do people with powerful and original minds welcome and respect the time they spend alone because they appreciate the relief of not being comfortable in social settings for which they are unprepared due to their social immaturity? Despite how common it is for people with powerful and original minds to be underdeveloped socially, making them uncomfortable in many social settings even if they look comfortable and happy, I would answer “no” to the question.
A powerful and original mind needs time to think. Originality demands a solitary gestation period and birth.
Deep thinking requires time for the mind to mull over multitudes of information, experiences, thoughts and inspirations without the mental clutter of non-relevant thoughts about.
Though I have no scientific evidence to support this theory, I suspect that deep thinking activates many of the same parts of the brain that dreaming does, plus some others. Deep thinking is like travelling through a land you have never visited before, without a map and with the path ahead strewn with random thoughts and impressions. It would be frightening for the average person who has not experienced it. Much like a bad dream.
Deep thinking is not highly organized thought, at least in the beginning. Organized thought requires the same levels of restriction and discipline used in ordinary thought in everyday life. That kind of barrier forbids original thought. Deep thinking can’t exist within barriers, at least those of the intellectual or emotional variety.
It requires a mind to float free of the body, of the rigours of daily life, of time and place. Yet to forge on through the morass of thought bits to find something unknown.
It requires a certain amount of courage to take such a mind trip because its results are often not welcomed by others when the thinker returns. Original thinking, almost by definition, is resisted if not outright rejected when first presented. Being original oftentimes forces the thinker into a lonely, “outsider” position. Yet that does not impair the interest of the creative mind from searching further. There is a certain mental “high” to discovery.
Deep thinking is hard work. Studies have shown that it requires 31 percent as much energy as heavy lifting. The difference (69%) is easily made up because deep thinking tends to be constant whereas heavy lifting is usually intermittent. Great thinkers are more apt to be slim than pudgy due to the effort required in their thought.
Deep thinking is not for the faint of heart, or the faint of mind. It needs time alone to build something worth considering by the rest of the world.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, striving to shine a light on some unusual parts of life.
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