The Begining of Solitude

By Zue Lopez Diaz

I look outside and the first question I almost unconsciously ask is about the weather. It seems like it’s going to rain, but how do I know for sure? My own opinion cannot be justified by that of others’ now, which are inherently more ‘professional’, and by myself what do I know? So I take off without an umbrella, a direct result of having no validation in my conclusions, and it did, in fact, rain.

While everyone around me brought something to cover themselves with, I was the one that looked like a barren, fruitless tree in the middle of a forest; a forest created by knowledge that I was no longer privy to. Slowly, as the hours trickled by, it seemed to make me dumber and dumber by the second. Not by any actual knowledge that was being taken away from me- knowledge is the one thing that once acquired cannot be stolen- no, it was simply through an act of comparison. Soon enough, my mind became starved for the daily paper.

Why starved? It is because others know, and you do not. As FULL NAME Deresiewicz said in The End of Solitude, our circumstances today are “a constant stream of mediated contact [that] keeps us wired into the electronic hive.” GOOD. YOU TREATED THE BUILD TOWARD A THESIS STATEMENT AS IF WRITING A NEWS STORY.

The backbone of our society and of our seemingly constantly changing thoughts are grounded on the news that keeps us informed together. A lack of news creates a bubble between us and the rest of the world, a rift in information processing that only we see. Without information, we are the one bee that is not connected, and in a day and age where everyone is connected and loneliness the ultimate fear, it is almost a fact that “it is impossible to be alone.

But is it? Hard, surely, but not impossible. Because loneliness might be the greatest fear of our era, but “loneliness is not the absence of company, it is grief over that absence.” Yes, I was lonely at the beginning, because I have been used to a constant connection- to knowledge, to news and everything in between. But what I found is that once those lonely hours passed, I was no longer lonely, I was simply alone.

And so I sprung into Thoreau’s “darkness” and found the self-examination so valued by the protestants, the Freudian insights of my own inner thoughts. Left alone, I found not isolation, but solitude, and began to be truly curious in a really long while. I began, in fact, to read a lot. Instead of the quick skims of the New York Times I grew so used to, for the first time in about a year, I delved into a book. Specifically, the legends of King Arthur- it was always sitting on my bookshelf, but I never seemed to have the time to read it, because I never had time to be alone.

Curiosity became my biggest asset during the last of the 48 hours. Without others feeding me knowledge, I became inquisitive about my surroundings. We have so much knowledge that we might have forgotten as humans, in the midst of it all, to think.
It is astounding how illuminating solitude can truly be, if you just detach from others for a while and find authenticity in yourself. Without needing validation from anyone but myself, tomorrow if I think it will rain, I will bring an umbrella.

And it might just very well rain.

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