The Significance of Solitude

Michael Atkins
5 min readJun 3, 2021

“Alone, even doing nothing, you do not waste your time. You do, almost always, in company. No encounter with yourself can be altogether sterile. Something necessarily emerges, even if only the hope of some day meeting yourself again.” Emil Cioran

It is my honest belief that people aren’t built to be alone. Most people can’t stand silence. The world grows noisier and faster every day. We rarely stop and look around. We rarely try to spend time alone and figure things out for ourselves. However, creative people are different. They do care.

When I was a kid, I would catch a cold every so often and wouldn’t go outside and play with the other kids. During those brief moments, my whole universe was contained inside my house. Looking back at that time, I viewed it as the cold perspective of a stranger observing someone else’s life. But it wasn’t.

As a child, life was simple. I played with my toys and made up stories. I read books, and I tried to learn as much as I could to talk to an adult like an equal. I enjoyed it. I also spent a lot of time alone in silence, but my mind was never quiet. Solitude grants you the bizarre freedom to fill your mind with questions and answers.

I spent a lot of time building the life I was going to have. At times I felt like I spent more time someplace else than with my own body. This filled my soul with bitter hope and fear. I don’t fear that my dreams would never come true, but fear that they would come true and turn out to be very different from what I had expected.

When I was a child, I often wanted to be alone. The more I drowned in solitude, the more I needed it, and the more I desired it.

Solitude changes a person, especially a child. It makes him wary of going out into the world and experience life. The world outside a boy’s window can never be as beautiful as the one inside his head. I believe that this desire for solitude is the highest price a writer has to pay because as a writer, you never stop being alone — not even in the most crowded of places. A part of your mind is always someplace else, contemplating the possibility of a different life. The creative mind lives as much in the present as it does in the future and the past.

Michael Atkins

Technologist and life-long language learner. Speaks fluent Japanese and Indonesian among other languages. Inspiring the world through love of language learning