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What it is to be ‘alone’?

This is not simply about being lonely. I’ve been reflecting on certain life-situations, where I’ve felt ‘alone’. You can be ‘alone’ in a whole crowd of people. And you can certainly feel ‘lonely’ in a crowd. However the two concepts do not equate in my mind (regardless of any dictionary definitions).

The following are the characteristics that I’ve sifted out that constitute feeling ‘alone’:

  1. Where I alone knew the intricate details, the multitude of interconnecting issues, and the various ramifications.
  2. No one else would give the time of day or a candle by night to take the slightest interest in the details. It’s simply not their business.
  3. Because of the course and intricacy of the situations, few would understand them in their entirety or sufficiently, to really grasp their significance.
  4. A feeling that if another was to share in some of the detail they would certainly lose interest or feel they ‘shouldn’t go there’, on grounds of some political or moral correctness – conjured purely for avoidance.
  5. Interest if shown would be short-lived and superficial, leading to under- or mis-appreciation of the salience of the issues.
  6. Knowing a thing in detail and being so close to it, runs the risk of being accused of being pedantic – and seeing more into situations than exist.
  7. Attempts to share the unique set of experiences leads to others taking a safe and middle road – after all they, not being able to grasp the depths of the issues are overly cautious, lest they be accused by some ‘watchful eye’ of misleading or misdirecting.

There is at times a pressure to share thoughts, with a hope that at least a single other person will appreciate, and provide rescue from a sense of potential insanity. But at the same there is an inhibitory risk that any sharing could lead to accusations of insanity. The tension between the two – hope of rescue from; and risk of accusation of insanity – is an uncomfortable place.

‘Alone’ and ‘lonely’ may be flipsides of the same coin – I can’t be very certain. I hope that those who read this find some meaning that resonates with their person. I hope you find that you are less ‘alone’ than you may think.

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