University of Solitude Review
Imagine traveling to a foreign country, for a business trip. Imagine being interrogated in your hotel room, taken to solitary confinement, and accused of espionage. Imagine spending 40 days in seclusion, without being aware of any crime, with a possibility of death sentence hanging above your head.
Most people would go crazy in such a situation, especially if we talk about imprisonment in Iran, where spies (real or dubbed doesn’t matter) are often executed. I definitely would go mad.
When I found the book called University of Solitude, and read the prologue, I thought getting crazy was a fate the main protagonist – Matej Valuch had experienced.
Yet I couldn’t be more wrong…. University of Solitude can firmly stand to the title of author’s homepage- Real life inspirational story.
Prison as a life changing experience
No doubt it is tough to be locked in a small cell, to experience torture, to be deprived of your basic human rights. Yet some individuals (I’d still call them ‘extraordinary’) can find positives even in the most negative situation, and get the best of it.
Everything was against Valuch–he didn’t know the language, his case was confidential–he couldn’t expect any help from the embassy, his health deteriorated severely in custody. And, eventually, as he found out, the connection to espionage existed though he had no idea about that connection until Iranian Security police arrested him.
Yet he not only managed to survive, but actually used the experience as a catalyst for a new direction in his life. Valuch spent his time in solitary reflecting on the most fundamental questions of life, such as why we are here, why some people strive and some suffer, if God exists, and what’s the purpose of life. An extraordinary surrounding and circumstances–a small solitary confinement cell and a possibility of death sentence, made his inner monologues authentic, emotional, and unique.
If you look for authenticity, you won’t find a better piece of reading than University of Solitude.
Philosophy of a prisoner
Seeing a world through the eyes of a prisoner, but not a typical one, the one who isn’t guilty, and the one who likes to think, motivated me to reflect on my own attitudes towards life and people around me. How strange the life can sometimes be….
Isolated solitary confinement, probably the worst possible living space where you have no interaction with the world around you, can eventually lead you to the most profound discoveries. University of Solitude made me think again whether the real truths of life, the most fundamental wisdom, aren’t hidden somewhere deep inside of each and every one of us.
We just forgot them, because instead of searching, we learned to obey to authorities, and listen to what the others have to say.
Inspired to try and study on the University of Solitude? I definitely recommend doing so! You can get the book on Amazon.
What the others said about this inspirational true story
- What an amazing story. Can be compared to Viktor Frankl’s “Yes to Life”. It is the story of man’s renewal, changing one’s values, which all becomes under the threat of possible death penalty or life prison.
- I immediately was drawn to this friendly smiling young man and was blessed by spending a good bit of time with a few glasses of beer and conversations over the length of the Camino. I was shocked when his book came out. I was quickly saddened that this tragedy had come upon him, but thanked God that he came out of the trials and tribulations intact of mind, body and spirit.
I could not perceive in him any fear or suspicion of mankind, which I’m afraid would have been my fate. It is well written in English which is not his native tongue, and very suspenseful. A great read!