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March 13, 2023 6:34 pm

Letter To Editor | Response to ‘Alone but Not Lonely’


THIS is with reference to the well-explained article, “Alone But Not Lonely”, published in Kashmir Observer on March 10, 2023.  There is a vast difference between ‘solitude’ and ‘loneliness.’  While the former being a type of chosen exile, spending peaceful time, the latter is a kind of suffering, yearning for something. ‘Solitude’ is about preferring to be in isolation, whereas, ‘loneliness’ is something associated with a glum feeling that weighs in our minds and bodies. For centuries, humans have always craved times of solitude, and at the same time, wanted to avoid loneliness, which mostly leads to a feeling of affliction and dejection.  There is a craving for one and a fear of the other. How can two states of being that appear similar in so many ways elicit different emotional responses? It is a curious thing that you could look at two persons sitting alone.  For example, both are staring at the sea. While one is experiencing out-and-out solitude and calm, while the other is lonely and filled with longing.  The basic difference is internal, not external, and you can’t discern its presence. Many great writers and thinkers, those who seem to desire solitude mostly, have time and again explored these themes and the feelings which accompany them through their works. Philosophers such as Aristotle, Epictetus and Michel de Montaigne, all observed and wrote about the benefits of solitude. Aristotle once noted that contemplative acts should be solitary, free from outside influences. It is in our choice to be a troglodyte that we make our judgment, open ourselves up to our imagination and allow our creativity to take charge. In doing so, we open ourselves up to new possibilities, develop stronger problem-solving skills, and learn more intensely about ourselves and the world around us.

Ranganathan Sivakumar

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