Wednesday, June 27, 2007


It is curious how noisy "being alone" has become. We seem to have this perpetual fear of actually being alone and therefore isolate ourselves with distractions...thus becoming more alone? For instance here sitting at my computer I am alone...however with in seconds I can play music, sign on to instant messenger, check facebook all sorts of "social networking" things and other distractions are at my finger tips.

So people leave the house to be "alone" but walking even from one place to the next we are on our cell phones or listening to i-pods, and thus are not really alone. I even saw a woman kayaking the other day while listening to music. This seems really counter intuitive to me as canoing or Kayaking is for me a chance to listen to the world and examine things around me, I probably won't notice the jumping fish or Kingfisher if I'm listening to music, and why paddle around if not to notice things.

I won't say that I'm not guilty of this, I definitely listen to music when I run as a distraction, but then I don't think that I would contend that my goal when running is to achieve aloneness or to commune with nature in any way, rather it's really just to run.

I was getting really antsy "being alone" for the past few days. Sitting here in front of my stupid computer, trying to write cover letters and get in contact with various people. But I wasn't really alone. I went out this afternoon to read in a quieter part of the Quads, and ultimately was not successful at achieving aloneness or silence while reading. When walking or even sometimes reading there is always music of some sort playing in my head (my mind is a very noisy place to be) right now "se vuol ballare" is rolling through my head. Reading was not going well I was distracted by music and I kept on thinking about things (some good and inspired by the reading --is there finite amount of music--and some not so worth while). At some point I gave up and laid back on the bench and just watched the clouds through the trees.

And there it was. I was somehow in my own space and time. There was no silly or good music running through my head, and I was not distracted by thoughts. Certainly I must have been thinking, but not at the same intensity as earlier. Finally I did not mind being alone, in fact I think that being alone is a great thing, it is just this in between state of pretending to not be alone that causes such trouble.

1 comment:

Duff said...

Concept of being alone is also odd in that the "me" that can be alone was formed by interaction with my family, my friends, my acquaitances, etc. I perhaps had the least to do with it from a certain perspective. So wherever I go, I always bring this multitude with me.

But I think your last moment captured what must happen to be truly alone, at least for a moment, and that is to become a passive observer, and let the conscious part of your regulating your perception go. Of course, this only really comes at moments of internal peace. Perhaps this is why the hermit flees society, seeing alone as that internal peace, and equivocating with the common conception of being "alone."