Cain on creativity

Susan Cain, author of the forthcoming book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, has published an article titled “The Rise of the New Groupthink” in a recent issue of the New York Times.

The article looks at how creativity is best expressed in school and work settings that safeguard privacy for creative individuals, in contrast to the current idea that working in teams elicits the best creative results.


Essays of interest

Eric S. Fallick offers several essays on Platonism and Platonic-inspired interpretations at his website “Essays and Translations.” Of relevance to eremitism are “A Few Thoughts on Renunciation,” “The Practice of Contemplation,” “An Excerpt from Damascius’ Life of Isidore/The Philosophic History,” about a pre-Christian Greek renunciant, and “Homer on the Limitations of Institutionalized Monasticism: The Aeolus Episode of the Odyssey.”

Brought to our attention by a friend of Hermitary.


Iyer on quiet

In a New York Times article titled “The Joy of Quiet” writer Pico Iyer reflects on solitude and alone-time in contemporary U.S. society. Here is a representative quote:

The urgency of slowing down — to find the time and space to think — is nothing new, of course, and wiser souls have always reminded us that the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time and energy we have to place it in some larger context. “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century, “and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” He also famously remarked that all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.


Brought to out attention by a friend of Hermitary.

On the Hermitary website is Iyer’s essay “The Eloquent Sounds of Silence” published in Time magazine in 1993. Iyer has long had an interest in this topic.

Zuloaga’s “Anchorite”

“The Anchorite” of Zuloaga seems entirely 17th century Velasquez, with the elongated human figure, and the whirlwind of sky and dwarfed town like the latter’s famous Toledo. But the artist is Ignacio Zuloaga, who painted it in 1907. Zuloaga did make Velaquez his earliest subject of study. The landscape has become an odd counterpart to the desert, to the world as desert, and though his vestment is conventional, the hermit’s expression is not. The unshaven, barefoot hermit has not a pious but disengaged expression on his face, wistful or mad, the input of centuries of Spanish art, peaking around Goya. The anchorite is not approachable, for he is no longer of this world. In the Musee d’Orsay.

Zuloaga: The Anchorite
Zuloaga: The Anchorite