Wednesday, May 12, 2010

On Loneliness

After talking to a friend, I've rekindled my interest in Chinese poetry. I am currently continuing a book analyzing these great poets, and I just read this bit from a one hit wonder.



You can find the english translation here.
Why do so many of the top chinese poetry express extreme loneliness? I have talked about this 3 years ago when thinking about Li Bai's poetry. My reflection is that loneliness is one of the most common feeling for a human being. We may pride ourselves with reason and knowledge of the world. But ultimately, we will always be reduced to absolute subjectivity when we talk about our innermost feelings. We alone feel our own existence. We don't think any other person can feel it the same way we feel. We are so extremely unique. Yet it is this common existential struggle that binds us together. And that is why poetry that captures this moment of loneliness are always the most popular and long lasting. It is ironic. We identify with extreme loneliness.

"My brother/sister, you are so right. I totally understand your solitude." Ironic no?


千山鸟飞绝, 万径人踪灭。
孤舟蓑笠翁, 独钓寒江雪。

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