The best life is the examined life

Rilke: On Solitude and Creativity

Heraclitus said, “The soul is undiscovered though explored forever to a depth beyond report.” Rainer Maria Rilke, through his poetry and prose, ventures out into these depths in an attempt to find the hidden treasures of the soul. He expresses this beautifully in the following poem.

I live my life in growing orbits, which move out over the things of the world. Perhaps I can never achieve the last, but that will be my attempt.

I am circling around God, around the ancient tower, and I have been circling for a thousand years, and I still don’t know if I am a falcon, or a storm, or a great song.

For this workshop, we will venture out with Rilke and see what we can discover about ourselves. Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet” is the perfect place to start. In these letters, he discusses such topics as solitude, creativity, love, and wisdom. They will be the touchstone for our discussion. Given the complexity and richness of the letters, our discussion may continue into a second workshop.