Loneliness v. Solitude
It has always been said that loneliness is a separate entity from solitude.
For solitude is time spent voluntarily separate from others, while loneliness is perceived, involuntary isolation. Solitude is a choice, loneliness a feeling. Especially in the era of Transcendentalism, solitude became a popular outlet for exploring one’s innermost identity. One leader of the Transcendentalist movement, Henry David Thoreau, spent a period of time at Walden Pond, accompanied only by Mother Nature. It was during this isolation that Thoreau wrote some of the most enlightened works and perspectives of that era.
However, it is apparent that isolation also has a darker side to it. As seen clearly in the pages of “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck, loneliness was an inherent struggle in the characters lives, even despite others presence in their lives. Even today, loneliness plagues the population, encouraging depression and anxiety. On the flip side, loneliness, and isolation from people can be catalysts to help persons reestablish their identities, and explore who they are and how they fit in this world. Society today has become a trap.
Encouraging conformity with emerging fashion trends and movie brands, it has become more and more difficult for people to find a way to stand apart from the crowd. In this way, solitude is an effective way of distancing one’s self from the pressures of society. By implementing isolation like Thoreau, people would be able to look deeper inside their minds and find their identity, formerly repressed because of a fear of not fitting in. A milder isolation from regular community would also be helpful to those who have yet to become independent from their friends, or significant others. While it can be painful, a healthy dose of independence can strengthen a persons identity as well as their convictions.