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One is the loneliest number

By guest editor Richard Caldwell

Posted November 29, 2017
One is the loneliest number
Solitude: Sometimes it's good to be on your own. © Ignatius Rake

Richard Caldwell dissects the psychology of solitude and it turns out being on your tod ain't so bad after all.

A gaggle of researchers over at the University of Buffalo, presumably not buffaloes themselves, have reached the startling conclusion that social withdrawal is actually good.

Surveying almost 300 self-purporting loners, which I'm not certain how many true loners would be quite so eager to seek out and participate in university studies but alright, the non-buffalo researchers noted how the general lack of social support and opportunities for developing social skills has been unnecessarily stigmatised, ironically by society itself.

And that the benefits of being alone, such as enhanced creativity and decreased risk of poor health, would actually appear to outweigh the negative aspects.

All of which casts a stunning new light on the practice of solitary confinement.

While periods of solitary confinement extending more than 24 hours are banned by international law for use on, say, enemy combatant prisoners of war, the US government quite regularly confines its felon citizens for periods lasting decades uninterrupted.

Under the light of this new research, however, it would now seem that the UN apparently seeks to suppress creativity by shunning solitary confinement, whereas the US government proactively churns out new authors and artists and other visionaries by the millions.

Thank you, Uncle Sam.

We never knew you cared, or cared so much.

Contrarily, as Dimo wa Moraswi Sekele wrote earlier this year concerning how the human mind is the greatest prison ever built:

"The truth is fear is the reason many are in hospitals depressed, in jails, trapped in unfulfilling self-drowning careers and relationships that don't make them happy. Fear and happiness can't coexist, fear will make you second guess every happy moment you have. It whispers in the back of your mind and incites ideas of doubt that start as just ideas but given a platform to grow they soon become mental prisons.

Fear or more accurately anxiety is a multisystem response to a perceived threat or danger. It reflects a combination of biochemical changes in the body, the patient's personal history and memory, and the social situation. As far as we know, anxiety is a uniquely human experience. Other animals clearly know fear, but human anxiety involves an ability, to use memory and imagination to move backward and forward in time, that animals do not appear to have. The anxiety that occurs in post-traumatic syndromes indicates that human memory is a much more complicated mental function than animal memory. Moreover, a large portion of human anxiety is produced by anticipation of future events."

Fortunately, having allotted myself some alone-time to think about it, I believe we can all safely conclude that there simply is no future.

We can join the lemmings in hurling ourselves over the cliff at the edge of the world, any of the five corners will do, or we can pull back and away from the party and blog pretty (and pretty disturbing) thoughts online for the aliens who shall be cruising through the inevitable rubble of our world to ponder over and feel inspired.

Inspired enough to visit yet another world to make the simian locals feel the lightning strikes of the gods as their genetic code gets amped enough to eventually hunger after chocolate bars and shaved legs, and the many more chocolate bars and shaved legs denied them.

And so the amped simians can hurl themselves from the cliffs of their own world or go about blogging pretty (and pretty disturbing) thoughts online for yet other aliens to invariably cruise past the rubble of the inherently doomed simian world to find and feel inspired over.

Cheers, Richard. So perhaps that explains why Greta Garbo so famously wanted to be alone. To get some serious blogging done. And that's exactly what Arthur Lee and Love would've done if Wes Anderson hadn't set that bottle rocket off.

But as for there being no future, well, I guess only time will tell, although one thing's for certain: there is no future in England's dreaming. Ain't that right, John?

See also Shark fans thrilled by frilled shark, posted 14/11/17.

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Richard Caldwell
used to write for the now sadly defunct New Comics Day. Fortunately, his writings still abound elsewhere on the interweb, such as on his flippin' ace blog that you are strongly advised to check out here.

Engage with the Rake & Herald on FaceBook here and Twitter here. Better still, buy a T-shirt here.

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