Do you think that extended solitary time can help emotional intelligence?
James Mathison

Although the sublimely intelligent Rebecca Solnit has written: “… wandering can lead to death, to hopelessness, to madness, to various forms of despair,” she adds that it “may lead to encounters with other powers in the remoter places a wanderer may go.” That is, “You get lost out of a desire to be lost. But in the place called lost strange things are found … It suggests that to reside in comfort can be to have fallen by the wayside. Go to hell, but keep moving once you get there, come out the other side.” By opening with this extended Solnit quote, I am forming the basis for my belief in the potent power of solitude that enables one to engage properly in introspection, reflection, and daydreaming. And yes, decompression and assimilation (or processing) are included as part of this, as like the digestion that is required after eating, sufficient processing time frames need to occur after salient experiences. Interestingly, I have found that once solitude is more deeply incorporated into one’s life, further revelations and insights regarding a “decompression and assimilation” process that one had thought was complete will emerge at unexpected times a fair while afterward.

As for extended periods of solitude, I refer back to the Solnit quote — if one reads her Field Guide to Getting Lost, one will know that an indigenous tribe believes that one can become a shaman after such long periods of “wandering.” Thankfully for both of us, I am not going to descend into delusional esoteric meanderings that are typically the domain of those who seek to place themselves “above” or superior to others, but I just need to say that personally, I have needed the extended period of solitude that I am still engaged in to properly develop my emotional intelligence; and hopefully, it will reach the extent where it falls into an ongoing synchronicity with my cognitive intelligence. In my mind, this synchronicity is essential for those who seek to work with the highest levels of effectiveness, regardless of the field (although, it is especially relevant for the creative fields).

As the human animal tends to do, not enough time is given to the decompression and assimilation process — and I understand this is because our lives are overfilled with the corresponding experiences — but the provision of the requisite time frames is made even more difficult if we are unwilling to actively engage in periods of solitude. (Please note that I write “periods of solitude,” as I continue to interact with other human animals during this time — the key is to know when and for how long one needs to “wander.”)

I did not mean to “write your eyes off,” if you get my drift, but this topic is of great importance to me, and I am still engaged in my attainment of an understanding regarding it, so admittedly I am chuffed that you asked about my reply! Please feel welcome to continue any further dialog.


J. Kim

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