June 25, 2010

Company and solitude

Solitude and loneliness are two entirely different things. It has often occurred to me that human contact and time alone are two more things that don't seem to be well distributed among the population. So many people are starving for human contact, while so many more are being driven crazy by too much of it.

Henry David Thoreau, with whom Goat Rope has been spending time, was a (kind of) social animal who loved solitude. Here's a great line from Walden:

I have a great deal of company in my house; especially in the morning, when nobody calls.

He tries to make a bit more serious point about how we can wear out each other's welcome:

Society is commonly too cheap. We meet at very short intervals, not having had time to acquire any new value for each other. We meet at meals three times a day, and give each other a new taste of that old musty cheese that we are. We have had to agree on a certain set of rules, called etiquette and politeness, to make this frequent meeting tolerable and that we need not come to open war. We meet at the post-office, and at the sociable, and about the fireside every night; we live thick and are in each other's way, and stumble over one another, and I think that we thus lose some respect for one another. Certainly less frequency would suffice for all important and hearty communications...

Needless to say, Thoreau was never married.

STATE OF STATES. If congress refuses to extend some programs of the Recovery Act, many states will take a hit.

BLOCKADE. Here's a post from the AFLCIO blog that calls for breaking the blockade on unemployment benefits.

WHAT'S AT STAKE. Here's a good summary of why a Senate vote to extend Recovery Act provisions matters.

AND GUESS WHAT? Yesterday the bill failed in the Senate for the third time as Republicans once again united to oppose it.

FIGS. Here's the latest edition of the Rev. Jim Lewis' Notes from Under the Fig Tree. This one's about shakeups, tipping points, Afghanistan and something strange to do with stamps.


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