"There have always been, and always will be, men who are alone in the midst of society without realizing why. They are condemned to their strange isolation by temperament or circumstance, and they get used to it. It is not of these that I am speaking, but of those who having led active and articulate lives in the world of men, leave their old life behind and go into the desert. The desert does not necessarily have to be physical -- it can be found even in the midst of men. But it is not found by human aspirations or idealism. It is mysteriously designed by the finger of God."
Photo by Thomas Merton
-- Thomas Merton, Notes for a Philosophy of Solitude, in the book Disputed Questions (New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1960) p. 195