Sunday, October 02, 2011

Read: Stephanie Dowrick's Intimacy and Solitude

Title: Intimacy and Solitude
Author: Stephanie Dowrick
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company Ltd

A few years ago, I was reading one of Stephanie Dowrick's books for the first time and I was attracted to her sensitively written and compassionate style of writing. She does not seek to give an answers and yet through her insightful exploration of various issues, her books often urge her readers to discover more about those issues on their own.

I was searching for other books by Stephanie Dowrick in Singapore, and was pleased to find a copy of her book "Intimacy and Solitude" at Kinokuniya Bookstore. It was the only copy of the book available in the store. I have checked many other bookstores in Singapore but it seemed quite a challenge to find her books in Singapore. Perhaps the next time when I visit Sydney, I shall check the bookstores there to find out if it would be easier to find copies of her books.

Intimacy and Solitude, as its title suggests, seek to explore the two themes, intimacy and solitude. There are, in my interpretation, two sides of the coin, in balance they work in perfect harmony. I find her examinations of the issues of solitude and intimacy to be pretty accessible and sensitively written. Her theoretical framework appears to be influenced fairly much by psychodynamic theories.

Perhaps one of the most fundamental concepts of this book centered around the concept of inner reality. Stephanie Dowrick draws upon Carl Jung's colleague, Marie-Louise von Franz's quote that goes "The experience of Self brings a feeling of standing on solid ground inside oneself, on a patch of eternity, which even physical death cannot touch".

The proposition is that when one has that solid ground inside oneself, it is "possible to trust" oneself, probably to "love yourself" and "to be ready to reach out and trust others in relationships of greater and lesser intimacy".

This is quite a thoughtful read, and I figured that I may have to read it another time in the future to better appreciate the depth of thinking that has went into writing this book. I took about three weeks to read this book while commuting on the public transport.