Essays, Analyses and Meditations

Back to my essays | Back to the Philosophy pages | Author

The Fear of Loneliness

  • People seem more afraid than ever of being alone.
  • People don't feel comfortable alone with themselves.
  • People (even those people who are alone most of the day) only relate stories about themselves doing something with others
  • People rarely boast of having been alone on a mountain, at the beach, by a lake, in the jungle; and, if they did, most listeners would pity them.
  • Unless you have a low estimate of yourself, the time spent alone should be as valuable as the time that you spend with quality people.
  • But increasingly people seem to abhor being alone, and would rather have very superficial company, even distant online "company".
  • The culture of reading a text, or listening to music, in solitude is declining.
  • It is being replaced by a vast apparatus to entertain ("keep company with") people who are afraid of being alone, whether through social media, gyms or salsa clubs.
  • An entire industry of social entertainment has sprung up to cater to people who don't know what to do when they are alone.
  • Most creative writing and composing happens in solitude. People who are not comfortable being alone are unlikely to ever become creative writers or musicians.
  • At the same time, increasingly, people take pictures of themselves (smiling, of course) and post them on social media (the "selfie"), thus engaging in a new "fun" way of being alone and advertising it to all their friends (in order to share and exorcise their loneliness?)
Proof-edited by Alexander Altaras