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Seclusion is keeping apart from society.
- Die Herrschaft soll sein inmitten deiner Feinde. Und wer das nicht leiden will, der will nicht sein von der Herrschaft Christi, sondern er will inmitten von Freunden sein, in den Rosen und Lilien sitzen, nicht bei bösen, sondern bei frommen Leuten sein. O ihr Gotteslästerer und Christi Verräter! Wenn Christus getan hätte als ihr tut, wer wäre immer selig geworden?
- The Kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing, who would ever have been spared?
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Paraphrasing Luther's Sermon on Psalm 110, in Life Together, p. 17
- Le sage quelquefois évite le monde, de peur d’être ennuyé.
- In the past, ... when a bhikkhu was a forest dweller and spoke in praise of forest dwelling, ... when he was secluded and spoke in praise of solitude; when he was aloof from society and spoke in praise of aloofness from society; … the elder bhikkhus would invite him to a seat. ... Now it is the bhikkhu who is well known and famous ... that the elder bhikkhus invite to a seat. ... Then it occurs to the newly ordained bhikkhus: ‘It seems that when a bhikkhu is well known and famous, ... the elder bhikkhus invite him to a seat.’ ... They practise accordingly, and that leads to their harm and suffering for a long time.
- In hastening to solitude and exile, do not wait for world-loving souls, because the thief comes unexpectedly. In trying to save the careless and indolent along with themselves, many perish with them, because in course of time the fire goes out. As soon as the flame is burning within you, run; for you do not know when it will go out and leave you in darkness. Not all of us are required to save others. The divine Apostle says, ... "Thou therefore who teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?" This is like saying: I do not know whether we must teach others; but teach yourselves at all costs.
- John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, as translated by Archimandrite Lazarus Moore (Holy Transfiguration Monastery: 1959) 3:4
- The man who associates with people of the world or approaches them after his renunciation will certainly either fall into their traps or will defile his heart by thinking about them; or if he is not defiled himself yet by condemning those who are defiled, he too will himself be defiled.
- John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, as translated by Archimandrite Lazarus Moore (Holy Transfiguration Monastery: 1959) 3:24
- For a brief space conceive yourself to be transported to one of the loftiest peaks of some inaccessible mountain, thence gaze on the appearances of things lying below you, and with eyes turned in various directions look upon the eddies of the billowy world, while you yourself are removed from earthly contacts—you will at once begin to feel compassion for the world, and with self-recollection and increasing gratitude to God, you will rejoice with all the greater joy that you have escaped it.
- Saint Cyprian of Carthage, Epistle 1 to Donatus, Section 5, translated by Robert Ernest Wallis, Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5.
- You complain to each other about the war when you yourselves are its authors, and it continues because you put up with it! But I flee from your putridity that would sully me. Proudly alone, I break the chains that link me to you and separate myself from the pack of mangy dogs, submissive to the shepherd. I will wander the world alone carrying my hatred and scorn everywhere. Alone in struggle.
- Bruno Filippi, The Rebel’s Dark Laughter: The Writings of Bruno Filippi (1918)
- The principal safeguard is seclusion, that you should not, God forbid, leave the house, save for some exceedingly great need. ... And even in the synagogue you should be very short and leave quickly. It is better to pray at home, for in the synagogue it is impossible to be saved from envy, and from hearing vain talk and gossip, and one is punished for this.
- The great problem with trying to retreat into a life of private dignity and saying 'let's make the best of what we've got' is that the world does not stand still. There is a dynamic of development which is leading to more and more poverty, more and more inequality, more and more violence, more and more subjection of our lives to money. Dignity is not a private matter, for it involves the recognition of the dignity of others: in a world based on the negation of dignity, this inevitably involves the struggle for radical change. It is precisely the pursuit of personal dignity that confronts us with the urgency of revolution.
- John Holloway, Change the World Without Taking Power (2002)
- One of the marks of maturity is the need for solitude: a city should not merely draw men together in many varied activities, but should permit each person to find, near at hand, moments of seclusion and peace.
- Lewis Mumford, "Planning for the Phases of Life", The Urban Prospect: Essays (1968)
- There is a very small remnant ... of worthy disciples of philosophy. ... Those who belong to this small class have tasted how sweet and blessed a possession philosophy is, and have also seen and been satisfied of the madness of the multitude, and known that there is no one who ever acts honestly in the administration of States, nor any helper who will save any one who maintains the cause of the just. Such a savior would be like a man who has fallen among wild beasts—unable to join in the wickedness of his fellows, neither would he be able alone to resist all their fierce natures, and therefore he would be of no use to the State or to his friends, and would have to throw away his life before he had done any good to himself or others. And he reflects upon all this, and holds his peace, and does his own business. He is like one who retires under the shelter of a wall in the storm of dust and sleet which the driving wind hurries along; and when he sees the rest of mankind full of wickedness, he is content if only he can live his own life and be pure from evil or unrighteousness, and depart in peace and good will, with bright hopes.
- Plato, The Republic, 496d
- While Nature sets very wide differences between man and man in respect both of morality and of intellect, society disregards and effaces them; or, rather, it sets up artificial differences in their stead,—gradations of rank and position, which are very often diametrically opposed to those which Nature establishes. The result of this arrangement is to elevate those whom Nature has placed low, and to depress the few who stand high. These latter, then, usually withdraw from society, where, as soon as it is at all numerous, vulgarity reigns supreme.
- Arthur Schopenhauer, Counsels and Maxims, T. B. Saunders, trans., § 9
- A man's thinking goes on within his consciousness in a seclusion in comparison with which any physical seclusion is an exhibition to public view.
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations (1953), p. 189
- Once again
- Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
- Which on a wild secluded scene impress
- Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
- The landscape with the quiet of the sky.