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The Sacred History of Solitude

The Sacred History of Solitude

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The Sacred History of Solitude

158 pages
4 hours
Apr 24, 2020


I have tried throughout the papers of this book to shed some light on how solitude was there for the human race as a divine power, a key to all closed gates of creation. Solitude kept our company in the short journey of our worldly presence. This book is but one more attempt, anticipation, hopefully, it won't be the last, to visit and discover the island of solitude over and over again, that fertile island of solitariness where we can walk with ourselves in a continuous journey in a cycle like the water on earth. I have visited in this holy history and literary survey the rich metaphors in God's words in various sacred books then enjoyed with great pleasure reading human myths, philosophy, poems and narratives of solitude. Writing about solitude made me also hear not only the cries and the voices of many great leaders and writers but also those of philosophers, religious men, poets and much more. My book has recorded the substance of my reflections and other great thinkers' visions on creative solitude throughout history. I have conducted a dialogue with the writing of many pens on the sacred history of solitude including my own historical approach to the subject matter of my book. I am inviting you, dear reader, together with the calls of myself to join the celebration of the gains our solitude may offer, to unveil our shy recognition of the glorious treasures and fruit that can be embraced at the times of being alone.

Apr 24, 2020

Despre autor

khaled Hafdhi: Born in El Hamma, Gabes, Tunisia in 1975. He can write both fiction and nonfiction. He is a novelist, playwright, poet, a translator and essayist. He published 4 novels: Alone everywhere, the rhythm of loneliness, The Mediterranean waves, and Hannibal Barca: a glorious father and a lonely son. He published a collection of poems: Orphan meditations, a play: I can't stand alone, a translation:Avempace, the handling of the solitary and two theoretical essays entitled: from loneliness to solitude and The sacred history of solitude and solitariness: essays.

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The Sacred History of Solitude - Khaled Hafdhi

The Sacred History Of Solitude

Khaled Hafdhi

Published by Khaled Hafdhi, 2020.

Table of Contents

Title Page



2. Defining Solitude and Loneliness

3. Primitive solitariness in theology

3.1  Christian interpretations :

3.2  Hebrew interpretations :

3.3  Islamic interpretations:

4  Mythology and solitude

5. Romantic solitude:

5.1. Romanticism and solitude:

5.2. Romantic poetry and solitude:

6. Narratives of solitude:

6.1 Medieval narratives:

6.2. Enlightened solitude:

6.3. Modern narratives and solitude:

6.4. Postmodern narratives and solitude:



About the Author

This book is dedicated, with great love and respect, to my family

To my pen, the faithful friend

To the free moments that our solitude offers to us: our free fertile imagination.

To you my dear reader, I am writing about the singularity of the human being


And one again I am, I will not say alone ... but, how shall I say ... restored to myself, no, I never left myself, free, yes, I don't know what that means but it's the word I mean to use, free to do what ...

-Samuel Beckett, Molloy.

I am still surrounded by voices from the past that established the foundation of our present and let us resume heading towards the future. Voices like Seneca, Avempace, Montaigne, Rousseau, Thoreau, and many more, still leading and guiding us in this desert, this vacuum, this emptiness...arming us with a shell free from kingdoms and empires, free from das Kapital and the organized cities, equipping us with an armor against states, public opinions, schools and institutions...We are all that solitary being who is doing nothing, helpless with no beginning or end, walking in a vast desert on a hot scorching day, with illusionary dunes and moving chimeras.

I am shutting doors on myself, withdrawing into my true identity, standing apart from encounter, choosing to die standing and closing all windows of technological developments that stole every authentic being in this universe. I am in a state of rest where I am calling all of my forces home, that state of the necessary becoming strong solitary in order to gather more strength to withhold. I am in that vast realm where you become fed up with being with false others for we are all born alone and will carry on to stay so despite our will to be social beings. Living this mélange of escaping (from/to), this very ambivalence that sets our existence is so tiring, yet inviting me to write more.

In this atrocious context, and awful truth I found myself holding up my pen and resuming what I have already started, the necessary journey of writing about human solitude. It is necessary to trace back the sacred journey of solitude and write about the holy history of solitariness letting the flood of questions and facts poison our brains to discover ourselves:  am I the only self on earth living such a state? Why this universal cry of solitude is still nourishing human company? Why this enigmatic solitariness is following us everywhere and why do we desperately try to escape from this condition? Where does the pain come from? What makes us resort to solitude all the time we face trouble and mess? Why do we enjoy solitude when feelings of betrayal invade us in this global world, this crazy age of consumerism, this sophisticated world inundated daily by a wild waterfall of information?  We are all deceived by this absorption, this addiction and unreasonable involvement in this digital world, a world that created a huge void only solitude can solve it.

I am trying to gather all of my power and courage to write about the history of solitude from Adam up to now for from our past we can learn and collect various meanings of our existence, from our ancestors we can trace back parts of our true being. What I am writing is not an archeology though or the usual narration of events. Besides, it is not nostalgia of historical records, nor is it a story of a lonely desperate self, or an autobiography of a desolate lost soul, but it is rather an attempt to go back safe to our authentic state, that simple but strong state with no homes or shelters, no skyscrapers, no highways, no traffic lights or any noise, going back safe to the life of plenty, the life at the top of which the struggle to live with all its challenges, the strife to really exist and carry on existing.

In this vertigo of consciousness, I am trying to regain the strong primitive moment when cavemen left us without a clear notion of time because at moments of solitude like in moments of love no need to understand the succession of days and nights, nor is the cycle of seasons worth to be conceived. In this mess, I am trying to rob the light and explain the timeline of human solitude, standing there alone before me, before you, before us, in a holy state of return to nature, back to early life, struggling the same harsh conditions, crushing the ‘heart of darkness’ inside the chest with stronger pains. The glare of the visuals may blind the insight from the secrets of life, the universe, and nature, but the sane person may be aware of this treasure as well as the poet succumbs to inspiring feelings and the writer to weave imagination in the midst of the universe of chaos and the life of crowds where you may not find a person who trusts his/her self with all confidence or support that’s why you rush to nature and solitude because it is the only full-fledged passage that floods wisdom and sermons.

I am used to such trips but this journey is peculiar with particular marks and profound impacts. While I was walking between the trees of knowledge and those of eternity, I ended up near a great mountain that would break without any shame the strong red rays of the strong sun, and this was the most beautiful thing I saw: steadfastness and courage in this great land. It was crouching on this soft earth, extending itself strong, respectful and majestic. Before everyone else, its height made the trees fear its hugeness, its branches bowed; its leaves revived, and sent him from time to time gentle, soft breezes of love. Rather, I saw such scene as a treasure of tenderness and in the history of all mankind. I stood, not only hoping and admiring its appearance but also to draw several instances of beauty, through which I generated great respect and appreciation. The mountain hinted for a while that the birds from the top touched its top at times and stood at other times on some summits, as if happy with their freedom, the joy of submitting to greatness but quickly returning to the spacious sky mixed with anxiety. The hot ginger and red colors of the horizon woke me, so I suddenly realized that the sun was gone. At those moments you can’t feel the speed of time; you can only feel the gentle tickle if you are barefoot. The sands of the beach were yellow, then I approached it and as I stepped closer to the water, I increased thoughts and thoughts in my head and asked: I did not choose my name, neither do I choose my end to prove, even once, the importance of my existence in this universe, but I chose my end between the folds of water, near the sea, and when I touched the tip of my finger with wet sand, I stood looking at this scene before I forget it forever, I glimpsed waves of water, it was a quiet still lurking in the valley of this sea. There is no movement and no life as if ignoring my question and evading my conversation, as well as hordes of shells. I added to this attractive view a certain expression, and the most beautiful thing is the red sun implanted on the horizon. There was an old boat at the edge, with shattered movement travels cold breezes as if it were inviting me to live again. Everything was beautiful, so was I a fool until I deprive myself of this enchanting magic? The mountain with its strength and the sea with its softness like life with its cruelty and softness and the sea in its calmness may turn in a fierce treacherous second, but its proximity to the mountain gives it the greatest motivation to stick to life. I walked away with all that I saw and was pleased with what I learned with great pleasure. No one is a master of his/her destiny. We must not envy a person for his/her money or knowledge, but rather envy him for the delicate feelings of solitude he/she always carries.

Suddenly, I remembered that I had lost my memory, so I looked for it and did not forget the attractive natural scene, a scene that I will never forget: "There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore,

There is society, where none intrudes,

By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:

I love not Man the less, but Nature more,

From these our interviews, in which I steal

From all I may be, or have been before,

To mingle with the Universe, and feel

What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal." [1]

What I lived and will undergo is part of everyone: first, our life with nature...second, our life with men...the third I and thou[2] so let’s land in this island of solitude, discovering the voices of many lost souls, tracing back the sacred history of many cries of weak throats that we can mention only but few representative selves from here and there. My project is to keep faith in our solitary subjectivity for The man who feels himself solitary is the most readily disposed and most readily fitted for the self-reflection of which I am speaking; that is, the man who by nature or destiny or both is alone with himself and his problematic, and who succeeds, in this blank solitude, in meeting himself, in discovering man in his own self, and the human problematic in his own.[3] , therefore achieve the human being in us: In order to enter into a personal relation with the absolute, it is first necessary to be a person again, to rescue one’s real personal self from the fiery jaws of collectivism which devours all selfhood. The desire to do this is latent in the pain the individual suffers through his distorted relation to his own self. Again and again he dulls the pain with a subtle poison and thus suppresses the desire as well. To keep the pain awake, to waken the desire—that is the first task of everyone who regrets the obscuring of eternity. It is also the first task of the genuine educator in our time.[4]

Solitude offers us that other space of thinking, another modality where we can meet different ingredients of perfection. I am letting my pen engrave what the fuel of the history of solitude may inspire, echoing as many lonesome voices from the past with a never-ending thirst to offer the best in us. Solitude was there for us all the time in the human history but we tend to ignore it. Solus was there for us with a special complex effect inside everyone, with a confusion reflected in our language and reality, a conscious fact that we undergo even when we are not alone evolving many ambiguities: pain and serenity, escape and encounter, anxiety and meditation, refuge and curse and many more complex states. Being solitary nonetheless can be that neutral situation where we can

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