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KULL: Oh yeah. No, absolutely. That some psychologists argue that the only way to be human is through relationships with other people. And for me, when I come into a deeper relationship with myself in solitude, it opens me more to being able to be in more profound and intimate relationship with other people when I come back. But the government officials in southern Chile told me that there was a lot of red tide there, and if I wanted to eat any shellfish, which I intended to, I needed to have a way of testing to see if they were poisonous.

We got very close, very quickly and instead of Cat testing shellfish for me, I was out catching fish for Cat. Yeah, it was a high tech trip. It was very different from other retreats into solitude. Often I go with a canoe and a tent and a fishing rod sort of a thing. And this time, one thing led to another. It was a very harsh climate, so I was gonna need a fair amount of firewood, and I thought, well, I need a chain saw, and I needed an outboard because all the wood had to come in by boat. And so, once I took that, that led to a whole bunch of other stuff.

Was it the goal?

Oh yeah. Yeah, there was a lot of pain.

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One of the challenges and opportunities of solitude is this need to face yourself, there are no easy escapes. You would answer in the affirmative then still do it. You questioned the ethics of killing mussels for a study and yet you didn't question the ethics of abusing a cat. This book could have been written in a better way and still get his story across.

The whole glacier "adventure" was anti climactic. Skip this book. No excitement. No nothing.

Incredibly boring. Read something better.

Robert Kull author of SOLITUDE on The Hour

Jul 27, Stasia rated it did not like it Shelves: abandoned. While it's rare, especially in the lone-adventure-in-the-woods genre I'd put this book in, I just couldn't finish it. It's basically an edited version of Robert Krull's journal from a year spent living in solitude on an island off the coast of Chile, with interludes where he waxes philosophical about the meta-process of writing and trying to come to terms with solitude.

He raises some interesting points, and as someone who likes solo adventure and journal-writing, I can relate to some of it, but While it's rare, especially in the lone-adventure-in-the-woods genre I'd put this book in, I just couldn't finish it. He raises some interesting points, and as someone who likes solo adventure and journal-writing, I can relate to some of it, but overall it was just too all-about-me for me.

I didn't particularly sympathize with Krull, which made it hard to care too much about his daily musings and sometimes tedious activities, and a year-long journey of introspection was just too much to handle. Once I realized I didn't really care if I finished it or not, it was over. Which is saying a lot, since it was the only book I had on my recent bike trip. A promising book that went nowhere. Oh well. View 2 comments. Dec 29, Erin Bradley rated it liked it Shelves: default. I really wanted to like this book, but in the end it was a slog to finish.

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And enough abuse heaped on the poor goddamn cat. He took what could have clearly been a wonderous and wonderful experience and painstakingly picked it apart to misery. He'll never find the joy and enlightenment he seeks because he chooses to always be in a ruffled up state of existential crisis. This was not the book for me.

Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes Audiobook | Robert Kull | devanetznorthzahl.cf

Jul 28, Lynne rated it it was ok. This was a struggle for me. I was looking for more wilderness tied into personal growth and less discussion of philosophy in general. And I don't have a background in philosophy so that is especially where the struggle occurred for me. And also the treatment of Cat. I've a particular interest int his kind of writing about nature and the great outdoors and have a passing interest in the benefits of solitude also, so might not be for everyone but I thought this was a fascinating insight into solitude in the wilderness.

Apr 04, Phil Greaney rated it really liked it. This is an interesting take on the 'person alone in the wilderness' genre, if it can be called that. The major difference from many others of its kind is that this seeks a quasi-academic study of solitude, with Kull as both subject and researcher, and one which - through its enlightening 'interludes' broadens the scope of this fascinating area. Some of that is dry. We learn a great deal about the practicalities of living in so remote a location.

Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes [Book]

There is much mention of the weather, the wind and rain in particular. We read of his worries about his teeth, having enough firewood, how his adopted cat is mis behaving. It is a problem, at least for me, of this genre. It is dry but necessary. The journey he takes begins there and in some ways ends there too, since he wonders the extent to which he's able or even desires to capture the experience in writing: "The daily journal is important to me Since description and analysis require time, I could capture and understand an experience only once it was gone.

I like to think that is not the case and Kull is able to draw a line under how far it feels it is true. We are presented with the facticity of his everyday life because he is absorbed by it. It is authentic lived experience.


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He questions the traditional narrative of what we might call 'finding oneself' in such 'heroic' enterprises and he is absolutely right to; there is no single complete epiphany, rather an accumulation of significant moments in which he discovers more about his essential question: who am? Similarly, there is a spiritual tension here between living in the present and becoming mindful and immersed in his new society of sunshine and seas and solitude, and a longing for something else, whether that be escape, a hot shower, or a sexual partner.

Kull was influenced by Buddhist teachings. His desire to overcome his contingency and forget himself is one of the book's most moving aspects.


  • Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes: A Year Alone in the Patagonia Wilderness.
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  • It seems meaningless to give it a star rating but I do so more for what it aspires to be as much as what it achieves. Jun 20, Melissa rated it it was amazing Shelves: memoir-biography.

    Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes: A Year Alone in the Patagonia Wilderness, Paperback

    I found this book engrossing, and very close to nature due to his observations. However, it is not an extreme, super-macho, edge-of-seat survivalist book, although through his preparations, daily attentiveness to detail, and tendency toward a bit of caution, he does survive a risky environment. It is not a fast read, it can lead to much introspection while sitting on a rock in the cold, wind and rain with Robert. It is not a pretty story about a man who walks into the woods and comes back a bran I found this book engrossing, and very close to nature due to his observations.

    It is not a pretty story about a man who walks into the woods and comes back a brand new man. A man working on his PhD, decides to spend a year in solitude in a remote area off the coast of Chile in the Patagonia Wilderness.

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    He spent 3 months in solitude 25 years earlier and had experienced enlightenment-like feelings of bliss while alone in nature, and wanted to recapture that feeling and cure some of his "imperfections". A common goal of all perfectionists. His book is written in the form of log entries with 9 interludes that further explore issues related to his journey.