Solitude


Solitude

Solitude is a state of seclusion or isolation, i.e. lack of contact with people or love. It may stem from bad relationships, deliberate choice, contagious disease, disfiguring features, repulsive personal habits, mental illness, or circumstances of employment or situation (see castaway).

Short-term solitude is often valued as a time when one may work, think or rest without being disturbed. It may be desired for the sake of privacy.

A distinction can be made between physical and mental seclusion. People may seek physical seclusion to remove distractions and make it easier to concentrate, reflect, or meditate. However, this is not necessarily an end in and of itself. Once a certain capacity to resist distractions is achieved, people become less sensitive to distractions and more capable of maintaining mindfulness and staying inwardly absorbed and concentrated. Such people, unless on a mission of helping others, don't seek any interaction with the external physical world. Their mindfulness is their world, at least ostensibly.

Health effects

Symptoms from externally imposed isolation often include anxiety, sensory illusions, or even distortions of time and perception. However, this is the case when there is no stimulation of the sensory systems at all, and not only lack of contact with people. Thus, by having other things to keep one's mind busy, this is avoided. [http://www.eastandard.net/archives/august/wed25082004/executives/upfront/upfront02.htm]

Still, long-term solitude is often seen as undesirable, causing loneliness or reclusion resulting from inability to establish relationships. Furthermore, it might even lead to clinical depression. However, for some people, solitude is not entirely depressing. Still others (e.g. monks) regard long-term solitude as a means of spiritual enlightenment. Indeed, marooned people have been left in solitude for years without any report of psychological symptoms afterwards.

John T. Cacioppo's, University of Chicago, 2008 book, "Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection", outlines five distinct pathways through which social isolation contributes to increased illness and early death. He also offers an evolutionary rational for why the subjective sense of social isolation--loneliness--is so profoundly disruptive to human physiology that it impairs cognition and will power, alters DNA transcription in immune cells, and leads over time to high blood pressure. [ [http://www.scienceofloneliness.com scienceofloneliness.com] Cacioppo, John T. & William Patrick (2008) "Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection", W.W. Norton & Co., New York. ISBN 978-0-393-06170-3]

Enforced loneliness (solitary confinement) has been a punishment method throughout history. It is often considered a form of torture.In contrast, some psychological conditions (such as schizophrenia [cite journal |author=Maltsberger, J.T., M. Pompili and R. Tatarelli |title=Sandro Morselli: Schizophrenic Solitude, Suicide, and Psychotherapy |journal=Suicide & Life Threatening Behavior |volume=36 |issue=5 |pages=591–600 |year=2006 |pmid=17087638 |doi=10.1521/suli.2006.36.5.591] ) are strongly linked to a tendency to seek solitude.

Different types

There are two different common types of human isolation. These are known as protective isolation and source isolation. They are different in that one is voluntary, while the other is not.fact|date=February 2008

Protective isolation is the type of isolation created in tests. This can usually be classified by the fact that one can opt out of the experiment, or the isolation. It can often be prepared for, and is generally not a negative thing. (More often than not, there is a reward for the subject's time as an experiment.)fact|date=February 2008

Source isolation includes no benefits, and cannot be prepared for. Thus, it is usually undesirable, and is not very common.

Emotional isolation is a term used to describe a state of isolation where the individual is emotionally isolated, but may have a well functioning social network.fact|date=February 2008

Other uses

As a punishment

Isolation, in the form of solitary confinement is a punishment used in many countries throughout the world for prisoners accused of serious crimes, those who may be at risk in the prison population (such as pedophiles), those who may commit suicide and those unable to participate in the prison population due to sickness or injury.

As a treatment

In addition, psychiatric institutions may also institute full isolation or partial isolation for certain patients, particularly the violent or subversive, in order to minister to their particular needs and protect the rest of the recovering population from their influence.

See also

*Hermit
*Loneliness
*Autophobia
*Hikikomori
*Loner
*Emily Dickinson

References

External links

*Citation
last = Marano
first = Hara Estroff
author-link =
publication-date =
date =
year =
title =Solitude vs. Loneliness
periodical =Psychology Today
series =
publication-place =
place =
publisher =
volume =
issue =
pages =
url =http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/index.php?term=pto-20030825-000001&print=1
issn =
doi =
oclc =
accessdate =2008-05-03

*Citation
last = Buchholz
first = Ester
author-link =
publication-date =
date =Jan/Feb
year =1998
title =The Call of Solitude
periodical =Psychology Today
series =
publication-place =
place =
publisher =
volume =
issue =
pages =
url =http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/index.php?term=pto-19980201-000034&print=1
issn =
doi =
oclc =
accessdate =2008-05-03


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  • solitude — [ sɔlityd ] n. f. • 1393; « état d un lieu désert » 1213; lat. solitudo 1 ♦ Situation d une personne qui est seule, de façon momentanée ou durable. ⇒ isolement. La solitude lui pèse. « La Solitude seule est la source des inspirations. La solitude …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • solitude — Solitude. s. f. Estat d un homme qui est seul, & retiré du commerce du monde. Il aime la solitude. il ne sçauroit souffrir la solitude. Il signifie aussi, Lieu esloigné du commerce, de la veuë, de la frequentation des hommes. Affreuse solitude.… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Solitude — Sol i*tude, n. [F., from L. solitudo, solus alone. See {Sole}, a.] 1. state of being alone, or withdrawn from society; a lonely life; loneliness. [1913 Webster] Whosoever is delighted with solitude is either a wild beast or a god. Bacon. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • solitude — solitude, isolation, alienation, seclusion mean the state of one that is alone. Solitude applies not only to a physical condition where there are no others of one s kind with whom one can associate {this man [the lighthouse keeper] in his wild… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • solitude — late 14c., from O.Fr. solitude loneliness, from L. solitudinem (nom. solitudo) loneliness, from solus alone (see SOLE (Cf. sole) (adj.)). Not in common use in English until the 17th c. [OED] A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; ...… …   Etymology dictionary

  • solitude — [säl′ə to͞od΄, säl′ətyo͞od΄] n. [ME < MFr < L solitudo < solus, alone, SOLE2] 1. the state of being solitary, or alone; seclusion, isolation, or remoteness 2. a lonely or secluded place solitudinous [säl′əto͞od′ n əs, säl′ətyo͞od′ n əs]… …   English World dictionary

  • Solitude — (fr., spr. Solitühd), 1) Einsamkeit, Einöde; 2) württembergische Domäne u. Lustschloß bei Leonberg, s.d. 4) …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Solitüde — (franz., »Einsamkeit«), öfters Name von Lustschlössern. Besonders bekannt ist die S. bei Stuttgart. 500 m ü. M., 1763–67 von Herzog Karl erbaut und 1770–75 Sitz der durch Schiller berühmt gewordenen Karlsschule (s. d.). Dabei eine Wirtschaft mit… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Solitude — (frz., spr. tühd), Einsamkeit, häufig Name von Lustschlössern …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Solitude — (–tüd), frz., Einsamkeit; Name mehrer Luftschlösser z.B. bei Ludwigsburg, der erste Sitz der Karlsschule, gegenwärtig Sitz eines pietistischen Instituts …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon


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