George Buchanan on man’s need for society

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
... B.—It is a certain innate propensity, not only in men, but also in other animals of the gentler tribes, to associate readily, even without the allurements of utility, with beings of their own species. But of the brute creation it is not our present business to treat. Men we certainly find so deeply impressed, and so forcibly swayed by this natural principle, that, if any of them were to enjoy, in abundance, everything that is calculated either for the preservation and health of the body, or for the pleasure and amusement of the mind, he must, without human intercourse, experience life to be a burden.

This is such a notorious truth that even the persons who, from a love of science and a desire of investigating truth, have retired from the bustle of the world and lived recluse in sequestered retreats, have neither been able, for a length of time, to bear a perpetual exertion of mind, nor, upon discovering the necessity of relaxation, to remain immured in solitude, but readily produced the very result of their studies; and, as if they had laboured for the common good, added the fruit of their labours to the common stock. Hence it is my opinion, that if any person be so attached to solitude as to shun and fly the society of men, he is actuated rather by a disease of the mind than a principle of nature. ...

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