How to be a Recluse
Why seclusion right now might be the very best thing for you.
Let me start with a confession: I enjoy being a recluse. It’s probably because for most of my life, every experience I’ve ever had, has evoked a feeling of utter dread. It’s not just social situations — in fact like a chameleon I can blend quite easily, but not enjoy it— it’s all situations. This apparent lack of adaptability is at the heart of my personality. For years I fought against it. I’d peruse the world of more ordinary folk, and feel a degree of envy and confusion, “what’s wrong with me?” I’d ask. As I’ve got older I’ve realised there’s nothing wrong with enjoying solitude, , it’s actually beneficial.
In fact, to be a recluse you don’t have to be one of the crusty old desert father’s feeding on locusts and honey. As eminent psychiatrist Dr Anthony Storr once wrote ‘some of the most profound and psychologically healing experiences which individuals encounter, take place internally.’ That is to say far from the madding crowd, where creativity manifests, imagination runs riot, and in the stillness of the moment, tranquility sets in.
The problem in today’s world is everything’s upside down and back to front. We live in a crass age. The media glorifies loud brash characters, at the expense of the more sensitive souls; delicate snowflakes, we might assume will melt away at a moment’s notice. However, as author Susan Cain writes in the Power of Quiet, ‘There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.’ In fact one might argue, the best ideas don’t emerge from the blue sky thinking of the boardroom, but in the solitary visions of recluses. From Isaac Newton’s Theory of Gravity, to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, creation emerges from superlative silence.
In today’s world, you’d be forgiven for wanting to bury your head in the sand; however you can keep your head up, while still remaining detached. Here’s a few reasons why you should unleash your inner-recluse.