A summer indoors. The perks of being a loner
It may sound strange to some but a life of self-imposed solitude is en vogue among modern introverts, ironically enough, as the world grows ever more connected.
Courtesy of the internet and mobile phones, we don't need to go far to achieve a great deal, and living a life that echoes those enjoyed by ancient hermits (minus the hillside cave) is not just desired by the socially exhausted but may be beneficial to certain aspects of the human mind.
“To me, a punishment was being ordered to play Yahtzee with my cousin Louis”, lamented BBC writer Christine Lo in an article on the benefits of being a loner.
The Shrinking World
Online magazine The Conversation lists characters as diverse as William Wordsworth, Virginia Woolf, and Saint Anthony as those who lived in praise of solitude, that is, choosing to be alone. It's a key to creativity and independence and associated with health-forward activities like meditation. However, it has a close and perhaps erroneous association with loneliness (forced to be alone), a condition that can be very harmful, and has encouraged people to avoid their own friends as they might a colleague who cooks fish in the work kitchen.
Introverts can rejoice (quietly) though, as the ever-smaller, ever-shrinking world makes certain reasons for going outside not just unnecessary but undesirable.
Ignoring the obvious example of social media, which has reduced the need for face-to-face encounters, things like banking no longer require a visit to a physical bank, while even a kind of pseudo-tourism is accessible through virtual reality devices. Similarly, iGaming review site Feedback.casino notes that it's “simply impractical” for casino lovers to hunt down a brick-and-mortar establishment in the 9.9 million km2 expanse that we call continental Canada, hence the popularity of the Canadian online casino.
Social Media vs. Solitude
Unsociability, one of the major reasons for social isolation, might sound like a negative trait but a paper written by Julie Bowker et al for the journal Personality and Individual Differences identified it as harmless, suggesting low aggression and, as mentioned, a penchant for creative undertakings. Unsociability also doesn't mean anti-social. People who identify as unsocial may have less of a need for human interaction but some desire remains nonetheless.
Whether social media has helped loners get their fill of other people is debatable though. In fact, the likes of Facebook and Twitter may actually be much worse for your health than living alone in your metaphorical cave. American politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently described Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook as a “public health risk”, with Psychology Today noting that it correlates with incidences of solitude's evil twin: loneliness. Add in negative aspects like the Fear of Missing Out, also known as FOMO, and social media begins to feel like more of an obligation than a social outlet.
Inevitably though, life is never lived in absolutes. The hermits of yore perhaps fell out of style because it's no longer possible for regular humans to live in complete isolation and silence. Still, it's reassuring to know that the Netflix lifestyle doesn't do us much harm in moderation.