A Thought on Solitude

“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”
— Hunter S. Thompson

This quote came across my Facebook feed today, so I reposted it, then went to check out the comments on the original. Not surprisingly, lots of people were having apoplectic knee-jerk reactions to the effect of “NOOOO! We aren’t alone, we have friends, and family, and blah-de-blah-de-blah…”

I think these people are missing the point. Unless any of those beloved blah-de-blahs can actually get ALL THE WAY INSIDE YOUR HEAD–unless they can understand you COMPLETELY, from every angle, at the very core of your being–then you are truly alone inside, no matter how many people you have sitting next to you.

Anyone who can do that must allow themselves to be absorbed by you to such an extent that they become you.

And if anyone on the outside of your head can really understand you–completely–then what even are you but an amalgamation of surface stuff gleaned from other outside sources, with nothing of substance or self underneath?

We are each the sole inhabitant of our own internal universe. Hell, if the solipsists are correct, there is nothing outside of your own consciousness, and you’re hallucinating everything. Either way, outside companionship can be nice, but in the essential gestalt of existence, it’s a fleeting distraction from eternal solitude. You’d better learn to be your own best friend.

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