Every day, we consume more than food: we consume impressions that come to us through our senses. The images and the sounds we surround ourselves with have a major impact on our moods, feelings, way of thinking, and ultimately, on our behavior and accomplishments. For many of us, many of these impressions come in the form of content, whether it’s online content, TV content, iPod content, or reading content. We are not only the food we eat, but also the content we consume. One of the reasons I enjoy blogging is that, unlike cable TV or radio, it offers us greater control over the content we are exposed to, enabling us to filter it down according to our taste.
If you enjoy reading books, articles, websites, or encyclopedias, like I do, you are probably familiar with that quiet feeling of dread that takes possession of us from time to time, when we realize we can’t remember the title of that book we’ve recently read, let alone what it was all about. Of course, it would be a dull affair if we remembered 100% of all we had read — we would be just quote-dispensing automatons — but doesn’t every one of us want to remember the cream of our reading, and to assimilate the knowledge and the wisdom in books in a way that enables us to put it to good use in everyday life?
Solitude has always been my companion through life. People came and went, but solitude stayed. I don’t mean the solitude of loneliness, but rather the solitude of the spirit, which may well exist even when we are surrounded by others, even when we share a bed with someone. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I have read One Hundred Years of Solitude eleven times, or that being alone in the silence of my room for hours on end every day does not bother me. I need solitude to write, read, think, and be with myself. I am aware, however, that solitude is addictive, that it can creep on us like ivy over an abandoned tower. For those of us who need solitude to function, work, or just to cope with the turmoil of life, it is a question of how much solitude we allow ourselves, and what we do with it.