Solitude is selfish.

Solitude can be viewed as a form of emancipation from societal exceptions,  family obligations, and personal transgressions. The quixotic notion of a disciple walking into a cave/ up a tall mountain/ mythical Shangri-La where the ascetic lives in austere isolation, chanting, meditating, praying with her mind swellings in the juices of their innermost thoughts and beliefs, until the crescendo of epiphany, enlightenment or nirvanic state appears.

Solitude is seen by some as virtuous self-sacrificing, introverts are now celebrated, offline is the new luxury, in reality, solitude is a personal copout, much like the revival of isolationist policies of nation-states.  Isolationism from Sakoku policies of the Japanese Tokugawa shogunate or "America First" themes of the present Trump administration are defensive cowering from needed fundamental reforms in a nation. defines Isolationism as

the policy or doctrine of isolating one's country from the affairs of other nations by declining to enter into alliances, foreign economic commitments, international agreements, etc., seeking to devote the entire efforts of one's country to its own advancement and remain at peace by avoiding foreign entanglements and responsibilities."

Can a person advance on a personal level by disengagement from society, with nothing but the reverberations of their own inner voice, a neophyte endless hits a tennis ball at a brick wall, without a coach or a tennis partner, can a person reform, refine, renew without a cynosure. 

Hikikomori is not a uniquely Japanese phenomenon, a plethora of research has indicated a negative correlation between loneliness and health, isolation is deadly on the elderly as well as the young. Kodokushi (or lonely death) is a regular occurrence in both Asian and Western societies.

When faced with all of life's challenges and human complexities, withdrawing, and isolation seems easier. Heartbreak, retrenchment or financial loss induces emotional pain, powerlessness and distress. Reaching out for help is not a failure, rather a source of revitalization and renewal. Solitude is moderation can be helpful for reflection, but sustained isolation is negative for one's personal development as well as for society as a whole. 

As in Philip Larkin's Vers de Société, he writes, "All solitude is selfish...Virtue is social."





Vers de Société by Philip Larkin