Being alone might for some be almost the same as being silent. But there is of course no correlation between the two. One can be silent in the company of few (me at a dinner, mostly enjoying to listen to the ongoing conversations) or one can be silent in the company of many (me at any party, with slight panic and a mild sweat, retreating to any dark corner available). Likewise, I oftentimes talk to myself, trying out words, verbalizing sentences or just sing out loud when I’m alone (breaking my own silence).
It is also worth pointing out that even if I enjoy most kinds of loneliness the one I’m talking about here is the self-inflicted, or chosen variety. Most oftentimes referred to as solitude.
So for me the act of being alone is to have the option of surrounding myself with another but choosing not to. As with everything else this is of course in moderation. We all need company, intimate and close company like that of a loved one or a family member, deep and meaningful conversations with friends and also idle chit chat with neighbours and acquaintances. This can then be contrasted with, or rather complemented with, being focused and alone at work (don’t get me started on open landscape offices) the solace and meditative state of being alone at home (sometimes just with the luxury of a room of one’s own) and the deep, contemplative and nourishing solitude of being outdoors in nature. I am a firm believer in balance, my balance is a just bit eschew towards the latter. More solitude –less idle chit chat.
This desire to be together in order to not feel alone is an unfortunate symptom, in my opinion. Every person needs to learn from childhood how to be spend time with oneself. That doesn’t mean he should be lonely, but that he shouldn’t grow bored with himself because people who grow bored in their own company seem to me in danger, from a self-esteem point of view.Andrei Tarkovskij from the documentary ANDREY TARKOVSKY – A POET IN THE CINEMA
All through the days I collect thoughts, ideas, and the random epiphanies far back in my head. There the sprout and molt and grow and decompose and ferment and incubate. Being alone gives me the opportunity to replenish my depleted thought processes. Being alone is where I connect the dots of specific things of which I have been thinking; scripts, lectures, arguments, what colour to use on the shelf by the door, how to best interact with my kids, etc. Without the opportunity of solitude my reflections on what I have done, both good and bad and what I have created, both good and bad, would be haphazard at best, non-existent at worst. Self-reflection, learning from our mistakes (not wallowing in our own shortcomings), is the way we learn how to become better persons. I would like that.
I vow to be; Mostly alone.