16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
In 2001, Robert Kull spent an entire year on a deserted island in not far from the Andes Mountains. He did so purposefully, as part of his Ph.D. research and in hopes of spiritual enlightenment. Solitude includes diary entries during that twelve month period with interludes written after the fact to give perspective on what was happening at the time.
It's an absolutely fascinating work. I can't remember how many times I've gotten frustrated at my chaotic life and thought that if only I were alone I could meditate and really get to the bare bones of why I am here and what I'm suppose to learn.
Solitude shows that enlightenment doesn't follow our schedule. We can't pencil it in on Monday evening at ten and expect to suddenly be there. It happens when we are willing to let go of control, be mindful, and willing to go out of our comfort zone. Even in the middle of nowhere with no one to judge us (except ourselves, of course), no chaotic daily schedule, and no one else to take care of we'll still find things to fixate about so that we retain the illusion of control.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2013
Many people in this world should start to live in solitude and realise their large Ego's get in the way of everything they do, this book to me is an inspiration, lovely!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Around a decade ago (at least at the time of writing this review) Robert Kull undertook an adventure that took him to the remote Patagonian wilderness where he sought to spend a year living away from civilisation to record the effects of extreme wilderness solitude. This book is the account of his time in solitude, a transcription of his journal that he kept inveterately during the year.
What gives this account a great deal of poignancy is that Robert Kull is an older man and an amputee. These two things are of course no barrier to undertaking such a challenge, though far too often stories of outdoor adventures seem to be reigned over by younger and fitter specimens who have dedicated themselves towards survival activities, Bear Grylls being one example. Instead Kull is rather like the everyman and one can empathise greatly with the challenges that he faces, both physically and mentally.
The first half of the book concentrates greatly on the physical aspects of solitude. For Kull this initially consists of a battle against the elements as he tries to construct a sturdy camp, such efforts are constantly interdicted by health problems and severe weather. Though as time goes on Kull's recordings become more philosophical and spiritual in their content as he remarks on all manner of issues. Spirituality forms the core to this book, which was something I was not entirely expecting, one clearly learns that Kull is an intensely spiritual man and many of his entries do comment extensively on such issues. In some instances I found this to be hard to stomach, though in others I could understand so very clearly why his connection with spirituality was so profound in isolation.
My one criticism of this book is that it can frequently become quite repetitive and many of the journal entries get caught up in seemingly irrelevant details. Moreover if one is not inclined towards spiritualistic thinking (such as myself) there are numerous sections in the book that are hard to relate to and can come across as being rather daft. I was also surprised by the lack of comment in some areas of the book, specifically regarding Kull's exact experience of living separately to other people. Whilst this is discussed in brief detail towards the end of the book, one never gets a clear picture of whether Kull misses seeing people or actually holding a conversation.
Otherwise this is a fine account written by a tremendously intelligent and wise man.