... They did some work, sometimes beautiful work, in a context that was already ready-made, which they would not have thought of touching. They remained prisoners without knowing it of these invisible and imperious circles, which delimit a universe in a given environment and at a given time. To cross them, they would have to find in themselves this capacity which was theirs at their birth, just as it was mine: the capacity to be alone.
-Alexander Grothendieck, Recoltes et Semailles, 2.2