Today, I discuss alienation: how individuals fall prey to it and what to do instead.
Table of Contents
- Virtue Is A Personal Journey
- It Is Rational To Want To Be Alone
- How To Combat Your Desire To Be Alone
- 1) Become an individual and develop your independence
- 2) Find a community focused on virtue and self-improvement
- Strong Individuals Build Their Communities
- Alienate Yourself From Destructive Forces
Virtue Is A Personal Journey
The journey to reach your most virtuous self is a solitary one. No one can be virtuous on your behalf; no one can shoulder your dreams. You must show up and act in the ways that maximize your potential.
Therefore, your accomplishments and achievements are primarily your own. You can celebrate publically, but most goals are achieved in quiet solitude. Your demons are defeated through your might and focus. The things you do to make yourself a better individual are done by your hands and mind.
It Is Rational To Seek Solitude
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa
Because virtue is a personal journey, too much exposure to others can stunt progress. If you want to learn a new skill, you need to be able to sit alone and focus. If you want to overcome your vices, you must first understand your strengths and shortcomings through quiet reflection. If you want to define your personal goals, you must define a self to have goals for.
This is the reality of self-growth. You are the lone instigator, as no one can cultivate your self-worth.
Additionally, “keeping to yourself” is the rational response to an increasingly broken and frankly gross world. What wisdom can you seek from addicts and losers? Your time is better spent away from their corrupting influence. You are wise to seek solitude as your degenerate society falls apart due to its love of vice.
How To Combat Your Desire To Be Alone
How much should you alienate yourself, and how healthy is it? I can’t answer for sure. Individuals cannot carry the world alone, but we cannot over-rely on a failing society. We have to find a middle ground.
Alienation will not help you as an individual. You need an external, virtuous community that satisfies your communal, physical, and spiritual needs. Therefore, you must understand that self-growth is a personal journey requiring a virtuous community.
1) Become an individual and develop your independence
For your entire life, you must pursue your most virtuous self. Set life goals and be serious about accomplishing them. Take care of your health. Be virtuous and never see yourself as an identity. You are an individual, and your life’s quality begins and ends with you.
By becoming an individual, you will develop your independence. This independence allows you to disengage from forces and people that may harm you or impede your virtuous goals. You will also toughen your character. A formidable character can endure troubling times and fierce challenges. Additionally, when you build your character, you will experience less shame and the mental fog that comes with guilt.
A virtuous individual can stand on their own. Such independence will serve you in finding a virtuous community and escaping alienation.
2) Find a community focused on virtue and self-improvement
Most people, when it comes down to it, are addicted to vice. Because of this, forming communities with others is a difficult task. Most groups are immoral or amoral and do not promote virtuous behavior.
Gyms, churches, and volunteer centers are obvious places where you can find better people. Try to make friends with others. In due time, you’ll be able to determine whether someone is of quality.
You need community. Many political and social movements attack individualists. Having other individuals protect you physically, socially, and financially is essential. Furthermore, a virtuous community helps reduce any feelings of loneliness or anxiety. Lastly, a virtuous community will note your blind spots and help you overcome your vices.
Community is built on trust: the sharing of secrets, the borrowing of goods, and the firmness of advice given. Move slowly and be patient with your insecurities and your distrust. Building relationships take time. But the time is worth investing as you may find a new friend, spouse, or business partner in the community you are growing.
Alienate Yourself From Destructive Forces
Combating your desire for alienation is good. You shouldn’t close yourself off from the world and pretend it doesn’t exist. You should be out there, interacting and building a community of people who will support and defend you.
Determine what aspects of the culture can be ignored. Cut back the time you spend with weak individuals and eliminate relationships if you need to. You do not have to chose between alienation or an abusive community.
“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” – Kurt Vonnegut
- What communities are you a part of? What needs do they fulfill for you? Are these needs good? Do they serve your most virtuous self?
- Define your perfect friend or spouse. Define your perfect business partner. How can you adopt the qualities of these people you envision? How can you be more like them so you may attract these people?
- What do you fear? How can a community help you manage your fears, anxieties, and vices?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.