“We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.”
Dictionaries don’t show much distinction between solitude and isolation. They both just mean being alone. However, when I think of solitude I think in terms of being alone by joyful choice and emotional necessity. Isolation evokes images of setting oneself apart from the world out of fear, anger, hate, sheer busyness or some other negative emotion.
While cruising down the road today I was impacted by a young woman walking across the street. She was yelling heatedly with arms flailing—to NO
Most of us live life at warp speed. We multi-task and use technology to get a maximum amount of stuff done each day. In doing so, we don’t have the need to connect with other humans as often. I frequently see people eating at restaurants with friends who aren’t present. They eat, laugh and chat on their tiny phones or send rapid-fire text messages, never looking up or making eye contact with another person nearby.
I know a young man who spends hours playing video games with his pals—and all of them are in different locations. Certainly they are challenged and entertained, but are they enriched or emotionally fulfilled by this experience?
Email is a wonderful tool. I use it constantly and it saves tremendous amounts of time. But recently I’ve received a couple of notes and cards via the US Postal Service and they’ve meant so much more to me than an Ecard. The phone is great for catching up and lends itself well to quick back-and-forth conversation. Tone of voice can reveal so much more than words on a page.
Still, in spite of all those great ways of communicating, I need to be with people. I am energized and replenished by looking into the eyes of those I love. I can tell immediately if a business associate is sincere by the expressions that cross her face. I sense pain or joy by the touch of a hand or a quick hug at church.
Discipline is required for me to impose solitude on myself to just be still; to listen to my own thoughts, clear my head and hear from God. That is precious and results in peace. Isolation, on the other hand is a product of more done faster. Peace is nowhere in the formula. What do you think? Can technology and camaraderie coexist? Is it possible to be truly fulfilled but also isolated? Where do you fit in this equation?