The panic of loneliness

A fellow spends a year alone on an island:

“We have an idea of who we are. An identity. And we hold that in place. We actively hold it in place. It’s also held passively in place by our culture. We are constantly, in our relationships, putting out signals asking for affirmation of who we are.”

On his lonely island, Kull finds that we in this society strongly desire to satiate and confirm ourselves through consumption and production. Our identities have come to depend on it. But in the process, we sacrifice our critical awareness, and become ignorant of the fact that our excessive reaching out for a feeling of being important and being alive actually does very little to achieve the experience of vitality.

“My goal in the wilderness was not to conquer either the external world or my own inner nature,” Kull writes in Solitude, “but to give up the illusion of ownership and control and to experience myself as part of the ebb and flow of something greater than individual ego.”