Sunday November 12, 2017
Desperately seeking solitude: The upside of being alone
more stories from this episode
- 'There's this ambient feeling that something is terribly, terribly awry': How we delegitimize single people
- She isn't looking for someone to 'complete her,' she just wants to share her life with someone
- Desperately seeking solitude: The upside of being alone
- Older, single and ready to mingle: the complicated reality of dating in your sixties
- Being single in a small community means your private life is public
- 'What, oh my gosh, you have herpes too!?': The highs and lows of dating with an STI
- Do you, Tallulah, take yourself to be your lawfully wedded wife?
- 'I love being single and I will continue to be single for the rest of my life'
- Full Episode
Robert Kull feels a call toward solitude.
So much so, he once spent a whole year living alone in the wilderness of southern Chile and at least once a year, he is flown out to a remote lake to spend a month "not having to be constantly engaged in listening and speaking" to other people.
While being alone for months on end might sound lonely, Kull notes there is a real difference between loneliness and solitude.
"I find that when I'm feeling lonely or alienated it's not usually because I'm feeling lonely and alienated from other people, but rather because I'm cut off from...the deeper aspects of myself. So when I spent a year alone in the wilderness there were times I felt completely woven into the universe and other times I felt really alienated and lonely. Nothing had changed in my external world...but my own relationship with myself had changed."
Humans are social creatures, but Kull thinks that relationships extend beyond other people — and that our relationship with ourselves is just as important as our relationships with others.
Kull acknowledges living in solitude isn't easy. He thinks it requires real courage.
"If we truly want to experience all aspects of life we have to be willing to experience the joys and the wonder as well as the darkness and the fear and the pain and the loneliness."