We humans, are hermeneutically engaged creatures. And we are that: creatures. We are (and do not simply have) bodies. It is via our creatureliness, via our bodies, that we are of the world, that we encounter the world, that we feel the world, that we think and interpret the world – within the matrix of and informed by the relational and historical context of what has made us who we are, who we have become during our idiosyncratic development … It is this relationally determined – embodied (felt) and minded (thought) — contextuality whence the human capacity for empathy, compassion, care and concern for our fellow creature (and not just our fellow-human) derives.
A capacity for solitude is crucial for the development of the capacity for joy and creativity, for joyful engagement of the world qua world, and not merely as a means to an end. Much of the western public and political idiom is based on the idea that the world is to be used as a means to an end, and that joy is only available as the endpoint of a process of acquisition, in short: as a by-product of greed and envy. This is not only not true, but is in fact actively misleading: greed and envy actually preclude joy (understood as a capacity to revel in being qua being.) The process of being creatively engaged, on the other hand, can be understood as a way of simply being joyful – a way of being and reveling in being. A capacity for empathy and an adoption of an ethic of compassion based on the capacity for joy of being qua being will allow for joy of a secondary order: joy derived from being for the other.