Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sitting Alone with a Book on My Own

Leon Neyfakh:

In a world gone wild for wikis and interdisciplinary collaboration, those who prefer solitude and private noodling are seen as eccentric at best and defective at worst, and are often presumed to be suffering from social anxiety, boredom, and alienation.

But an emerging body of research is suggesting that spending time alone, if done right, can be good for us — that certain tasks and thought processes are best carried out without anyone else around, and that even the most socially motivated among us should regularly be taking time to ourselves if we want to have fully developed personalities, and be capable of focus and creative thinking. There is even research to suggest that blocking off enough alone time is an important component of a well-functioning social life — that if we want to get the most out of the time we spend with people, we should make sure we’re spending enough of it away from them. Just as regular exercise and healthy eating make our minds and bodies work better, solitude experts say, so can being alone.

Hey. HEY. HEY. Some of us don't want to be seen as normal. Some of us don't see solitude as akin to power naps, something to make our worker-drone lives even more productive. Some of us would like to preserve solitude as the domain of the eccentric, the socially anxious, and the slightly mad outcasts to keep it from becoming trendy and overrun by day-trippers and weekend warriors looking for an ultra-compact "40 days in the desert" experience that doesn't require turning off their cellphone. At any rate, this mountaintop is taken. Fuck off.