Most conceive us who read books and enjoy our solitude for its thought and contemplation as being clamped within our shells, unable to get out or let go. They feel that there is something inherently wrong in our reading and seclusion per se. There is certainly truth to this. That we sank into solitude and thought because we were stuck somewhere; and that this had its toll on all our being and way of life. But there is also a deeper truth — that our reaction itself against our life conditions was healthy, and that its aim (although we may not achieve it) was to go back to life and to embrace it from a higher and deeper standpoint — a much wider and stronger spirituality. We loners cast fear into the hearts of those who are seemingly very outspoken and outgoing, and why? Because they are stuck within their own shells unable to get out, and our presence brings to them a faint scent and awareness of that. We alarm them because we’re not like them, because we sank into our solitude in our fight to retain our individuality and did not forfeit it like them in order to fit and be like the many. Their shells are different from ours, certainly, in both quality and form. Their shells do not look like shells; but pierce with your thought and feeling a bit below their surface and you will find it— in their smoking and chattering and frantic actions and words and in the whole uneasy aura of their presence. And, in any case, were they truly open as they would like to think of themselves then they would instantly know and realize our fight and would compliment us and encourage us and accept us rather than detract from us in an attempt to make us like themselves. To them we neither need to explain nor justify our solitude. We give them a gift if we lead them to theirs, if we “hurt” and “weaken” them.