One of the problematic aspects in the field of solitude is misanthropy, which is hatred for other human beings. I find it as a problem because it may serve as an obstacle in what I call Solitarus (in my native language: Bdituta), which is the ability to be in love with one’s solitude.
A bigger problem regarding the relations between misanthropy and solitude may be social stigmas. Imagine a group of workers going on for a break of lunch in the nearest restaurant. All of the group but one individual are sitting together, while the other individual sits on its own on purpose.
Afterwards the group calls him, humorously, a misanthrope. Even if such assumption is made out of humor, sitting on your own at lunch breaks does not necessarily means you loath the existence of other people. Yet, such social stigmas are implemented in our consciousness by social evolution; stigmas that disrupt the potential of harmony between solitude and company.
Generally, my ideology of Solitary Individualism is highly against hatred for other people. It does not in any way promotes hatred or doing harm to other people. In fact, it promotes social harmony and serenity as superior values due to the morality behind it; every one of us (unless suicidal) carries the will to survive and to endure in the journey of life, thus making it proper for all us who didn’t gave up on life to have this motive of survival and endurance for the preservation of collective harmony, in which in turn shall make us some space to feel serenity and peace while alone, which shall promote our own health. This logical structure therefore does not find any functions or useful exchanges in the concept and mindset of misanthropy.
The following is an Hermitericum article (an article I translated from my first book) I wrote which is the most directed on the issue of misanthropy. I call it “The Misanthropic Demon”. On a side note, I do not believe in an actual, physical existence of demons, angels and other fantasy and mythology creatures. The word ‘demon’ is used as a metaphor to describe a problem (in my native language ‘demon’ also means ‘a messenger of sabotage’ which in this case may be coincidentally relevant)
The Misanthropic Demon
One of the many reasons in which humans prefer to keep themselves distant from their brethren, disconnect and isolate, is expressed in deep hatred towards the people around them, and even though misanthropy is not considered a mental illness, a disability or a disorder by itself, it indeed creates disharmony among society, divides it and produces individuals that aspire to be secluded not as a mean to obtain serenity, wisdom, insights or self-actualization, but to escape their deep hatred towards humankind. That way is not a state of solitarus - of love, of wisdom and of harmony with the world and with the self, but of loneliness (A.K.A negative solitude) - of difficulty, impulsiveness and escapism not from the existent reality but from the consciousness of social imperialism.
One of the many reasons in which humans hate their fellow members to the race does not necessarily evolves from the isolating nature - a system of instincts which promises the individual survival while alone - but out of an isolating mindset, a system of thoughts, doctrines and dogmas which are socially dysfunctional, which keeps away the individual from society not in the name of the value of solitude but in the name of hatred, neurosis, narcissism and escapism. As a value, solitude is not an escape from the existent, but a way of life which includes material simplicity, harmonious ambitions, and inner peace. As a neurosis, solitude is indeed an escape, not from an objective reality but from a problem created as a result of disharmony between the individual and the collective.
In solitude, there could exist two main archetypes: one with a more spiritual-like consciousness, or one with a rebellious consciousness. The spiritual-like is loving, forgiving, philosophical and serene; the rebellious is a hater, a grudge-bearer, anarchic and anxious. The more spiritual-like loner/hermit/monk is driven to achieve inner and external peace as an ultimate way for harmony, love and wisdom; the misanthropic loner/hermit/monk does not aspire harmony, but instead they are found in a process of self-destruction, of bitterness and of melancholy. Thus it is recommended for the one who wishes to seclude themselves to inquire themselves and to gain knowledge about what side of them is stronger, what weaker, or, rarely, what does not exist at all - the spiritual-like loving side, “the good”, or the rebellious and hating side, “the bad”.
Unfortunately, due to lack of basic knowledge in the art of solitude, many people may find it hard, or impossible, to distinguish between a happy, sad or neurotic person alone, and probably may view a person by themselves as sad or neurotic, sometimes never happy. The general social consciousness thinks dogmatically, dichotomic and associative instead of having a wider, deeper intellectual view when there is lack of knowledge. Many are the generations in which came and went by, and inherited the biblical passage “it is not good that the man should be alone”, not to promise well-being and good will, but to preserve the existent of a simple-minded, selfish and intellectually limited society, which finds it difficult to thing beyond itself (A.K.A the sociocentric approach). When it thinks of the word “solitude” it may associate it with “tears”, “broken heart”, “sorrow” and even “suicidality”. However it is not aware it created those specific words and the experience of loneliness by a dogmatic and sociocentric education, and thus created the associative impression that solitude is a bad/evil concept, even though solitude as a concept has no direct relation to ethics.
According to this criticism, misanthropy is something which is created as a result of social interaction, and not by itself. An individual is not born a hater, but also not as a lover, but they learn throughout their lives, through interaction and mono-action (A.K.A self-communication), what to love and what to despise. The problem which is the misanthropic demon occurs when society preaches to philanthropy by force, but the mind calls for misanthropy as a result. A lover and a hater would find it hard to co-exist. However everything may have a reason, and the blindly-loving philanthropic (A.K.A a lover of mankind) would find it difficult to understand the misanthrope, which sometimes their hatred evolves as a creation of rationality. What is that exact rationality? - that in society there is misery, oppression, loath and at times the limitation (if not the cancellation) of socially-exceeding individuality.
Solitary Individualism is not created out of misanthropy, but out of a drive for harmony and a general overview of the human and social picture with the usage of solitude (editor’s note: this too I hope to elaborate in the future). The Indie-Solitaire (AKA, the practictioner of my philosophy) acknowledges the misery in society, and nevertheless they are going through a non-controlling rationality. The rugged misanthrope also acknowledges this, but in contrast to the Indie-Solitaire, they may aspire to control and to combat things which they cannot control or combat. Their hatred can be evolved from rationality which aspires to gain the general overview, but in fact they fail since they are infected with the human nature’s imperialistic urge to destroy, sabotage and eliminate in the name of their ego and self-preserve.
Society, according to this methodology aspires to fulfill their functions instead of understanding what lies beyond it, may call the misanthrope a “psycho”, “a bad person”, “a person in distress”, a “coward” which does not “handle with the facts’ and so on. Only a minority from the society may really aspire to contemplate, to analyze and to ask themselves what misanthropy is, what are its causes, and how to devolve it not necessarily for social order, objective reality nor for the good will - but in the name of inner and external peace, along with the overcoming disharmonic and imperialistic drives of the human being.
The way in which the Indie-Solitaire’s ideology wishes to handles with problems are not through mental or social escapism, but through direct confrontation with the problem, by adopting a contemplative way of life, the glorification of logic and ultimately overcoming over the self by combining awareness and asceticism. Since today’s society is filled with distractions, it convinces the many to escape themselves by taking active roles in the social world and its allegedly-objective beliefs (is there really an objective opinion?). Solitude can serve as the place and the ideal them to observe the happenings, develop a criticizing mindset and overcoming the submission of the sensual human experience and not seeing it as the perfection of good and existence, unlike humanists, who may do.
This way, instead of escaping and weakening the coping with one’s own demons by over-depending on other people, Solitary Individualism aspires to cope with the self through (ironic as it may seem) the conquest of it, or in other words, control and evolve that self into a to be more advanced self to serve the loner/hermit/monk’s individual motives, such and granting their mental survival, if not prosperity, in solitude.
If the sociocentric may feel depressed, they may claim that sadness is against the will of good, and shall ask to be overly-dependent on others a mechanism of coping against such emotional negativity. On the contrary, if the Indie-Solitaire may feel depress, they shall not connect emotions with morality but, through introspection like a meditator, and would try to understand by criticism of meta-perspective (A.K.A overall perspective) why they feel that way just like they may do with any other emotion; they constantly analyzing themselves, while seeing their emotions and urges as separate from them through rationality and criticism, thus creating an autonomy of their own in their solitude. It may be for them the same approach to any other emotion, moral or unmoral as they may be. The Indie-Solitaire is a self-made psychologist, sociologist and philosopher which investigates themselves, society and existential questions in order to redefine them. They are alone because they may believe solitude is the most successful way to indulge in such intellectuality and self-analysis. This is the same for misanthropy.
In summary, we have learned that misanthropy is not the essence of evil or an inevitable result of solitude, but a social dysfunction which originates from a problematic interaction which distorts man and society. Misanthropy has its own reasons, and a few of them: rebelliousness, lack of inner peace, hoping to control over the uncontrollable and the adaptation of anarchic beliefs which are antisocial, instead of acknowledging society’s importance to their life and survival. Society, on its behalf, sees misanthropy as the exclusive property of depressed and suicidal loners/hermits/monks, instead of deep reason, and thus it aspires to destroy this phenomenon in the name of its norms and social codes, and only seldom it may try to understand who is, exactly, a misanthrope.
The Indie-Solitaire approach proposes the following: hatred, like happiness, sadness, anger and so forth are not something to be necessarily repressed to the end, but to understand, analyze, observe and contemplate, to accept and to overcome these emotion’s reign over them by using solitude as a method of creating rationally-originated individuality.
(Note: The article was originally written in 2016. Some of its content might not be updated with the beliefs held as of publishing it on Philosocom, AKA, in March-April 2020)