Again, I’m not trying to equate my own petty considerations about how to keep certain other people at arm’s length in my life to the voluntary or involuntary complete and utter exile.
But there is an interesting door, in both situations, to one major theme – the quality of being alone, of not being interfered with, of being sheltered from whatever ills we ascribe to other people and society at large.
Obviously many decry ‘loneliness’ or ‘isolationist tendencies’ or ‘aloofness’ etc. etc. And they should. Alone-ness or isolation – wholly or partially – voluntary or involuntary is not an end in itself. Or ‘good’ Just Because.
Obviously it isn’t. Whether Selkirk chose his island or not. Whether we chose how much or how little our own ‘islands’ – places of solitude – should fill our lives.
It is always a scale and it is always set in a context – whether or not solitude is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. How much ‘good’? How much ‘bad’? Do we even call it “solitude”? What if we called it … “loneliness?” in Alexander’s case.
Or in my case: “poor social skills” or “being introvert”?
It’s all a bit messy, as usual.
But something shines through. Something like a very important theme, not just for this talk, but for life in general. And that is how I want it.