“We think we are unique, special and deserving of happiness, but we are terrified of being alone”
So what causes loneliness and why is it that we don’t like to be on our own? Why don’t we want to be with ourselves? Why are we scared being alone in our company? Why seeking company is always the priority over settling to be with oneself? Why our own company is the second option or perhaps the last option? Why do we doubt if we would enjoy our solitude?
“Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.” — Carl Jung
If it is ‘only’ about communication, does that explain why we find writers loner? Or vice-versa? I don’t know, the statistician in me feels wary in drawing any causation or even correlation in this matter. But, often the importance of isolation/seclusion for creativity is reiterated. Do all form of creativity exudes communication for otherwise this seems counter-intuitive to what is believed about human nature i.e. we are social.
As a person I can say this to some confidence that I am more loner compared to people around me. If I trace back my childhood, I could only remember myself toiling in aloofness after school following a strict schedule. Was never accompanied or disturbed by someone. But I have been writing since the age of 10 in my diary. This also coincides with the good-bye of my only childhood friend at home Bhima — our domestic help.
After coming to Bhopal, however I noticed that I seek someone’s company and felt miserable at the idea of doing things on my own. From the very things that were a normal routine came to haunt me. I remember vividly the instance in a food court. After receiving my food for the next 10–15 minutes I struggled to decide the place where I wanted to sit. I kept analyzing if sitting closer to a family would make me feel less alone or in a corner where I could feel privacy. This behavior was very new to me. I never felt uneasiness in my own company before, yet that moment was so profound that it made me question of whatever I felt I knew about myself.
The incident made me conclude two things about me and my situation. First that my belief about my capabilities of living alone was only subjective. I always compared myself with others and felt I was superior in this aspect. However, when I was thrown into a situation where I had no control but to choose loneliness I was hysterical. This made me conclude the second thing, that more than loneliness it was the inability to control my situation was what that bothered me the most.
The question is can we live an absolute reclusive life with no point of contact at all? If no, then what kind of communication do we want? Written/oral/physical? While reading an article which illustrates the life of some of the loner artist, I searched for an absolute loneliness in their life. These artists always seem to remain secluded yet simultaneously connected. There was no absolute disconnect with the world. If we do want to remain connected yet yearn for disconnection, question remains what is this form of connection we seek? Is it sufficient to communicate over social media, through words or a physical presence, a real human company is something we need every now and then?
While the viability and form of seclusion/loneliness is an issue it is also important to understand what does seclusion do to us? Does this makes us an awkward social being or through inward introspection launches us into a new dimension of better connection? The article I cited talks that it helps us to connect better through letting us understand better and this way truly connects with somebody through the realization of ourselves. I am yet to see the difference between a true connection with and without an experience of seclusion (statistician looks for causal effect), but I do feel it does help you connect with yourself better and for sure makes you a calmer person.