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Solitude: An Apothecary For the Self

Aristotle previously proclaimed that if one chooses to be alone he is either a beast or a God, or the third unfathomable choice, he is both. People more often than not draw the comparison of loneliness equating smoking 15 cigarettes a day. But being lonely and being alone are not mutually exclusive. If one is alone, one doesn’t necessarily have to be lonely. ‘I am never lonely here, I have never found a companion so companionable as solitude’ proclaimed Henry David Thoreau during his prolonged time at a pond he so often visited that paved the way for the quite mirage-like concept of nothingness. One does not need to interpret and experience that infamous ‘something’ to be happy, often, it is the sheer eradication of the ‘something’ and the appearance of the ‘nothing’ that drives the sensation of happiness. 

Solitude is an integral tool for self development and character building. So why is it that people cave under the weight of being alone, rather than work towards cultivating the optimum self? A man can be himself so long as he is alone, and if he doesn't love solitude, he will not love freedom. For when one is alone, one is truly free. Constraint is always present in a society, like a companion whom there is no riddance of. We are always in the shackles and grip of another, whether it be family, friends, romantic partners, or even strangers. We find ourselves limited by their presence and hindered in every way. Sartre proclaims, ‘hell is other people’, and by that he means when one is surrounded by other people he is reduced to being an object to that person, primed to be judged and interpreted as the other sees fit.

For one to truly experience solitude, one needs to be gone with the gadgets and mediums that bequeath them, which is none other than the  infamous antagonist of technology. This medium is not only paving the way for our utter loneliness, but it is eroding the scarce time we have to truly be in tune with ourselves and hindering the process of ‘becoming’. The first step to liberation and solitude is to reduce, and in some cases, annihilate technological mediums as a whole. 

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