Is it not true that many of us recognize this feeling of being life’s invisible passenger, looking at the existence flowing ‘outside’ instead of within? We feel that people around us are strangers, with undecipherable languages and anonymous behaviors. They brush by us as if we were invisible, dusty old walls, distant ruins. We are so far from others and they from us. We are alone, again. We don’t belong. We know this feeling, too well. Often our wish is just to forget it, as everything and everyone around. Again, just for a while, in order to get a moment of peace.
Life is made of small solitudes, Roland Barthes argued. Is there anything ‘between’ these small solitudes? Are those only passive states of being or can these experiences be turned into a preliminary stage of personal development? Maybe both, maybe not. And what happens when our ‘deserted’ solitude interferes with our ability to handle social interactions? Does it suffice to have only ourselves as a mirror? Who are we ‘alone’?
Solitude as a lifelong vice, an opaque prison, a secret wish, a potential opportunity… how can we (and should we) take advantage of this state of being?
“I was a man who thrived on solitude; without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me. I took no pride in my solitude; but I was dependent on it. The darkness of the room was like sunlight to me.”
Charles Bukowski, Factotum