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Isolation and Solitude

NehanNehan Brazil New

Isolation is the act of driving yourself away from any form of social contact. It's reasons dwells between mental issues and low self-esteem. Usually, its used to run away from some form of menance or some past deeds.

Solitude is when one, by his own will, searches for some time alone for an determined period of time. Usually, its used to think about oneself and know more about the self.

But I have a hard time to tell isolation from solitude since both actions seem to be the same to most people. I don't know whether someone is doing a research about his true self or if he's entering the path of insanity and self-destruction since I never follow their lonely moment to see their progress (or regress).

How you can tell if a person is trying to know herself or trying to hurt herself?

personlobster

Comments

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Interesting questions - ponderings, @Nehan. Your first paragraph is kinda judgmental - even if you are judging yourself and/or others. But it's okay because everything could be categorized as mental. I think. I'm pretty sure that isolation and solitude kind of blend or cross over. Sometimes people choose to isolate, but it's less a 'mental crime' to seek solitude.

    I think even the Buddha could have been categorized this way. I don't think there's much of a point to trying to figure out if someone is trying to hurt themselves by being alone. Just be there for them, I guess.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    Also some people aren't good at socializing for various reasons. So even if they want or attempt to avoid isolation they have a hard time avoiding it.

  • How you can tell if a person is trying to know herself or trying to hurt herself?

    Hello :)
    Does the isolation/solitude cause dukkha?

    For example a member of my family is very isolated because she is being chased by her own demons. We have to be the demons she can just about cope with and feel less isolated.

    Other members often choose solitude (lobster raises claw) but do not feel isolated/marginalised/fried by dukkha ... I like people and engage as required.

    @silver said:

    Just be there for them, I guess.

    Good plan. :)

    dhammachickkarastimmo
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator

    @Nehan said: How you can tell if a person is trying to know herself or trying to hurt herself?

    Find out what they actually do for themselves during their solitary isolation...

    lobsterdhammachick
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    I sometimes isolate myself, and it's mostly when I feel an urge towards solitude, not to run from anything but it arises from within.

    It's an opportunity for introspection, a possibility to develop mindfulness and awareness of the internals of the mind. Whether the effect of solitude is positive is hard to tell for an outsider - signs of agitation, comfort eating, turning to alcohol, and potentially signs of impending delusion or even psychosis could happen, but if they are not talking to you you won't know what's going on in their thoughts.

    Usually where you are coming from is a good indication of what will happen. Someone who isolates themselves after losing a loved one is more likely to experience something negative than a painter who withdraws into his work and temporarily forgets the world. If they have pets they are usually going to be ok, pets keep you in touch with the emotional, caring world.

  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    @Nehan said:
    Isolation is the act of driving yourself away from any form of social contact. It's reasons dwells between mental issues and low self-esteem. Usually, its used to run away from some form of menance or some past deeds.

    Solitude is when one, by his own will, searches for some time alone for an determined period of time. Usually, its used to think about oneself and know more about the self.

    I think you may have added an unnecessary element of complexity in the definitions. Actions and reasons are two different entities. By incorporating reasons into the definitions of the actions you may have created a tangle.

    You can see the action. If you want to know the reason, why not start with simply asking?

    DavidNehanFosdick
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @Nehan said:> How you can tell if a person is trying to know herself or trying to hurt herself?

    Are there any signs of depression? What impressions do you get about her general state of mind? Has there been any discussion about it?
    People can be very different, some are content with their own company, others need to be around people.

    lobster
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    I don't know whether someone is doing a research about his true self or if he's entering the path of insanity and self-destruction since I never follow their lonely moment to see their progress (or regress).

    Excellent @Nehan! My guess is that everyone starts out with a similar set of doubts. Is Buddhism a path to liberation or a one-way ticket to the nut house? How can I know that Buddhist practices are not just a soothing camouflage for actual-factual difficulties that the student is reluctant to address?

    Honest answer: I don't know yet because the base of experience is too shallow. So then the question becomes, shall I continue or drop the whole thing like a hot potato? Answer: If the meditation or other practices do not hurt others and if I feel some affinity to their teachings, I will continue: It's a crapshoot (I don't yet know the outcome), but since I would like to become more level-headed, it's worth the experiment. Will I follow a path that is devoid of mistakes? Probably not, but miscues are part and parcel of Buddhist training. Mistakes R Us.

    So, gently but firmly, pursue the experiment. See what happens rather than expecting something to happen. Sometimes it's scary, sometimes it's joyful ... whatever it is, do it anyway. If it becomes too painful, slow down and step back. If it becomes too joyful, slow down and step back. Just go gently but firmly. Right or wrong, you can't go wrong.

    Best wishes.

    silver
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Nehan said:

    How you can tell if a person is trying to know herself or trying to hurt herself?

    By asking the question,...This person may just be waiting for someone/a 'friend' to ask how they are feeling :)

    person
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie gal Sydney, Australia Veteran

    Lately I find myself isolating myself to avoid lashing out in anger, either at myself or others - usually others. I find that if I am in a "normal" social situation and find myself getting angry, I can't calm down or focus unless I am alone.

    It's a bit disquieting but until I can figure it out, better safe than sorry.

    Just my 0.02
    _ /\ _

    Steve_B
  • NehanNehan Brazil New

    I appreciate your answers, folks.
    The best answer I've read is the one above.
    In fact, our point of view might try to answer whether they're suffering or not. But it's an answer to us not to them.
    We should really approach those who dove into their mind to see if they're analyzing themselves or torturing themselves.

  • You can be in a room full of people and still feel isolated. Solitude does not come with the feeling of isolation. That is just our baggage.

    Shoshin[Deleted User]dhammachick
  • Good points made.

    In solitude, you are not alone. Solitude enables you to strengthen connections, to re-connect, to add new connections...

    In isolation, you are absolutely alone, be it on a desert island or in a crowded room. You have no connections, no real contact. You are in the isolation chamber of the mind.

    That is where the the real difference lies - in your mind. Then moment you open to another, your isolation dissipates.

    Using an analogy: Isolation is being lost in a thick fog, directionless while solitude is looking out upon a clear sunny day to a wonderful vista of possibilities.

    Oops! Time to get back to my cocoa.

    Peace to all

    lobsterShoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    "I"solation = big "I" involvement....Sol"i"tude = the "i" does not play such a big role...

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator

    Try telling that to a segregated inmate....

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited October 2016

    The word 'isolation' comes from the Latin/Italian 'Isola' meaning Island.
    the word solo/sola means alone.

    This is more of an imposed existence. Imposed by Geography or condemnation. Remember Napoleon was imprisoned on an Island.

    Solitude is a self-generated desire to be alone.

    Isolation holds a cruel shunning aspect.

    Solitude is often a welcome interlude 'Far from the madding crowd.' Wordworth lauded it, when he contemplated The Daffodils... "...the inward eye which is the bliss of solitude...."

    Solitude is an existence of free choice.
    Isolation is an imposition of circumstance, either real or imagined.

    We can feel isolated, even when surrounded by a crowd.
    Solitude has to be done alone.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited October 2016

    Isolation is actually a neutral word, and a synonym for solitude.

    In prison somebody might be put in solitary confinement, with that example solitude is often a punishment. It all depends on context.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    For me I guess that solitude has more to do with a place. I personally do not feel solitude if I am enmeshed in the world. I can be alone in a home, but if the noises of life are present, it's not solitude to me. Solitude, to me, is being out in the woods miles from another person, with no cars, no planes, no chainsaws and life noises. One of the reasons I live here is because that type of solitude is easily accessible, and hundreds of thousands of people visit the area I live in because it is one of the few areas you can do so.

    But I can feel isolated in the middle of a big party. In fact, I often do. It is more of a social state of mind versus the expansive one that solitude expresses for me.

    As for prison, "solitary" is really much more isolation. You are made to feel abandoned and alone, but you are subject to all the horrific sounds of the place and everyone else. It is psychological torture and not at all representative of what the word can mean.

    Shoshinlobster
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @karasti said:> As for prison, "solitary" is really much more isolation. You are made to feel abandoned and alone, but you are subject to all the horrific sounds of the place and everyone else. It is psychological torture and not at all representative of what the word can mean.

    On the other hand people go on solitary retreats in order to isolate themselves.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator

    Summary: Context is all, both to speaker and listener.

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