“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
It always fascinates me to think about how I act differently in solitude versus when I’m with others. I’m not sure if I keep the independence of solitude in the midst of the crowd. Then I wonder if I want to do so, or if I truly need that dependence on others. After all, people are only people through other people. And perhaps living after our own opinion of solitude involves some dependence on the world’s opinion. Independence is just the proper balance between solitude and companionship. One gains independence by shifting between living after the world’s opinion and our own, by adjusting our selves as we struggle back and forth between companionship and solitude. It’s an ever-changing, never-ending struggle that allows us to eventually understand who we are, that makes life worth living.