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Society as Voluntary (And as Not)

Updated: Feb 14

A beautiful road.

(September 2023 note: I am no longer handicapped. I explained why in this article).

Our presence in society, AKA, in the company of other people than ourselves, come from many reasons, some of which are more rational than otherwise, and some are done by desire, but others are either involuntary or forced.

Our initial presence in society is most often not, forced by external entities, far stronger than us at the time, such as family and government. As babies and as small children, we are not asked, whether or not we wish to spend time with others. We were weak, can't communicate like adults, and the law demands that, regardless, we must spend time at kindergarten, and later on, at school.

It seems that an elementary function of public education is to convince us to desire being with other people. That's because these institutions usually encourage social interaction, a collective schedule, and not only do homework and pass exams. I guess that it is an unconscious "brainwash", made to see the engagement with the collective as something that deserves to be voluntary. Otherwise, it would also address something that's not really spoken about: The notion that life can happen in solitude sometimes, and that this isn't a bad thing by itself.

There's a good reason as to why society is seen as voluntary -- we are simply accustomed to living in a social manner, and it isn't necessarily inherited to every single human being to do so. Otherwise, there would not be a need to address such premises, unless social recreation is universally intuitive.

When a baby is thirsty, he or she know they are, even if that feeling of thirst is felt for the first time. They do not to be taught to drink because they already have the instincts required to figure that out by themselves. On the other hand, socializing is more like a muscle, in a sense that it requires skill and that it requires maintenance. Should lose your social skills, then it might be difficult to interact, or even desire interaction.

Therefore, the notion of every human, being a social animal, is not only a generalization, but also false. It's false because one does not necessarily need friends like one need water -- for the sake of survival. There may be a need for water, but that need isn't taught as it is intuitive. Socializing isn't intuitive, because if you are to spend life in a solitary fashion like I do, you might be surprised to realize, that the desire for a social life, might deteriorate. Being accustomed to a more-solitary life means seeing others as less than a need to depend oneself on.

The idea that solitude is always a sad thing, isn't true, even if it may be to many people who suffer from loneliness. You may claim that being alone brings depression, that it may decrease your lifespan and so on, but what you're failing to realize, is the fact that you do not consider solitude as voluntary, and not just a result of circumstance.

In order to think rationally and see reality in a sober way, we must consider decreasing our biases towards issues we either support or disdain from. In other words, we must see the negatives in what we support, and the positives, in what we hate or condemn. Giving up on this opportunity, could lead to our increasing distance from the truth, which is a concept that usually has both positives and negatives. In a sense, everything can be a minus and a plus at the same time, as long as they are not perfect, and as long there are redeeming qualities.

So no, the notion that all humans want to be together, even if that togetherness contains a pleasant company, isn't true at all, considering that togetherness is forced, too. Of course, being forced to do something, like going to school, isn't necessarily fun, and it's not like every classmate attends school out of desire to be with other classmates, or with other human beings in general. As mentioned before, our contacts with others may be initially forced. I guess that works if many people believe, as a result, that being with other people is a natural desire/need. Compare it to, let's say, saying the same thing over and over again, until you're convinced just because of repetition.

The fear of being alone is a great one in many, even if there are no dangers involved. Not all fears are completely rational, and to be honest, I don't understand what is there to fear in hanging out with yourself for a while. I don't even think it's dangerous in and of itself, even if it sometimes may be, to those who are unsatisfied with the fact that they're alone.

Since most of the time I do not desire society, I avoid it, despite dedicating much of my time for writing for it, whenever I do desire it. Had I not had a desire to contribute, then I would avoid online interactions with those whom I interact with for that end --- just like with you. Other than that, and survival (I'm handicapped), I don't really have much reason to talk to anyone that isn't family. It seems that the education system failed to convince me to desire society to the point of deeming it a need.

You know, even people who are madly in love with each other may require time apart from other loved ones. Others, such as myself, do not even want to be in love. Besides, didn't you even have a fantasy to live like a hermit, even once or twice?

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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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