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Furthermore on Loneliness & Being Alone

Updated: Aug 12

Contrary to popular belief, loneliness is not a specific emotion. It can be emptiness, alienation, sadness, or any other negative feeling that you associate with not being satisfied with your own company. Two people, one who feels frustrated and the other who feels depressed, can both be technically lonely, even though they feel different emotions.

This is a fallacy not because humans cannot be lonely; it is a fallacy because we often mistake the cause, or the reasoning, for the emotion itself. If we dig deep inside, we can see that loneliness has different reasons, and that these reasons lead us to feel certain emotions that we then connect with the state of loneliness.

For example, if you have nothing to do and no one to interact with, you will feel bored, not lonely. You will feel bored because you have nothing to do at the moment, and not because you are alone. However, if you find a solitary activity to pass the time, you won't necessarily be bored, and thus, won't necessarily be lonely, even though you are still only within the company of yourself.

Another example: if someone has dumped you, and as a result you feel heartbroken, you may still feel heartbroken even if you are in the company of others. In other words, loneliness is not an emotion; it is a state of being that can be associated with different emotions.

The biggest fallacy about being alone is the belief that if you are alone, you will necessarily become lonely. This is a fallacy because not every experience of solitude is necessarily a negative one for all people. It does not matter if you are a social animal or a hermit—the experience of solitude is more often than not a subjective one, and not something which is going to be universal to all at all times. It depends on your level of independence, your ability to entertain yourself, and to keep yourself mentally stable, and so on.

It is written in the Old Testament, in Genesis, that "it is not good for a human to be alone," and one of the reasons why I deny the Bible to be completely true is because of the subjective experiences which solitude entails. Is it bad for all humans? Should we abandon any chance of being alone, for the sake of being with those that could harm us, physically and/or mentally? What if some of us enjoy solitude and find peace within it? Does it mean that it is still not good for us?

I can at least testify from my own experience that I feel far safer when alone than in the company of others, even those I know. That way, I get to have a bit of silence and even avoid being exhausted for the next few hours. If solitude is not good for me, does it mean that silence and relaxation are not good things? Because of this generalization, that solitude is not good for everyone, I refuse to see every biblical teaching as true. Even when we are met with great impressions of wisdom, the job of a philosopher is to question the correctness of said wisdom, even if it would mean that they will be seen as heretics by some.

Do we have to have romantic partners and start families? Why do we have to do so, when we have the freedom of choice; a choice granted by any honest democracy? This is also a fallacy that is related to loneliness—the fact that one is handsome, attractive, and ensures a safe future does not mean that they have to be romantically involved, be engaged, or bring kids into the world.

Numerous times throughout my life—and this is not an attempt of bragging—I was asked by people why do I remain single and alone. After all, I am, technically, a "decent" romantic material in the eyes of some. However, this perspective ignores the fact that not everyone is good at socializing or in doing any of the stuff that is imperative for the preservation of such relationships—courting, and... hmm, I am too inexperienced to have another example.

I still stand on my ground when I say that not all human beings are social animals. Some, like me, can easily be mentally drained by social interactions; others don't like people; others even hate other people, and others are just too sensitive to desire risking their mentality, just for speaking with others. The fact that my cat interacts with me doesn't mean he is a social animal, for communication is often imperative to even the most solitary of beings.

What is it to be social? To be social is to crave to be with other people as much as possible, and rarely be alone for long periods of time. They are those who have the privilege of being able to speak with others for hours and hours, without feeling even a grain of exhaustion. They can discuss, argue, sing, and hang out, with little desire to be left to their own devices. Surely, not all people are that way, and thus, not all people are social creatures; some are extremely social, others are a mixture of both, and others are people of a few words (like me, as I barely speak and not always remember my own voice).

And finally, perhaps the biggest fallacy about being alone is the premise that every human craves a social life, and those who do not are just... "shy." It is ridiculous to believe such a thing, because not all people want to communicate at all times, and some – yes – do not even need an active social life to feel happy and at peace.

You might think that I have social media accounts to socialize, but I only have them to share my site's content to more audiences. In one of these platforms, I even have a massive advertising campaign – again, without the need to socialize with anyone (even though it's, of course, a social website/application).

Another thing about being alone that I have just remembered is that not everyone who is a loner, whether by choice or circumstance, is necessarily an egocentric. Even if you keep to yourself, you can still contribute to society. I once read in a book that being a writer is possibly the loneliest of pursuits, even though it is all about communication, which is ironic. If you define yourself as a loner – don't be discouraged! You should prove to others that you still care about them even when you lead a solitary lifestyle.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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