When Was the Last Time You Were Alone?


2 thoughts on “When Was the Last Time You Were Alone?”

  1. It seems to me that dependence on others is not a new thing; communities long ago were closely knit and people depended on each other for survival. For example the miller depended on the surrounding farmers for the grain, and the women depended on both the miller and the farmer for the flour to bake their bread. My dad tells me people also got together more with activities like playing cards in the evenings. Videogames have replaced cards in most circles, but they don’t require as much thinking or interaction, and people are more separated when they play them compared to when they play cards. Videogames also seem to mirror a more hectic life. My great-grandparents used to get together on quiet evenings with friends to play cards. Those people you mentioned, I can only guess, are not seeking others’ company in the former, more levelheaded way, but in an almost insecure or anxious way. Not having many quiet evenings doesn’t help that. To those people’s credit though, sometimes it is nice to walk with someone somewhere. People also used to take walks.
    And about doing homework together: I don’t get the sense people rely on others for homework. Actually, I have heard often that people think it can slow them down or complicate things working in a group. But it is good to work with others and hear what they think. That will be important to anyone moving into the world, leading it or not. Moderation is the key, which is what it seems you are suggesting.

  2. While dependence and interconnectedness are obviously as old as society itself, I find that today, many people (although certainly not all) have an “insecure” and “anxious” EMOTIONAL dependency on other people unrelated to the dependency that exists between the farmer and the miller, to use your example. The farmer may well not have the time, free labor, or access to facilities to grind his own flour, while the miller’s grindstone is useless without the farmer’s business. The farmer and the miller benefit mutually from their dependent relationship, which allows each to survive where they would be unsuccessful on their own. By contrast, the students who think that they need to do homework together (and they do exist) CAN probably do the assignment by themselves (teachers usually assign work with this presumption), but they do not want to, perhaps out of insecurity in their ability or anxiety at being held solely responsible if they fail. Similarly, if someone “needs” company to walk to a salad bar, it is an irrational emotional “need” resulting from some sort of anxiety at being alone at a salad bar, which seems to me to be more than a little ridiculous. These sorts of dependencies hardly seem helpful in the long run, and can be harmful. I am simply encouraging people to examine their own lives for these hindrances, and to consider modifying their behaviors and thought processes in order lessen them.
    Moderation,of course,IS key. I am not suggesting that any person should live entirely alone and independently. The ability to cooperate and get along with other people is just as important in a well-adjusted individual as the ability to be self-reliant when necessary.

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