Alan Kay won Season 1 of the History Channel's popular television show, Alone by outlasting nine other contestants after 87 days by his self in the remote wild of Vancouver Island. When asked after returning if he ever missed being alone, he replied that he loves being back with "his people" but that yes, he does miss the solitude.
Kay recounts that after his physical needs were taken care of, the challenge became more "inward looking".
In the video Kay asserts that most people do not want to look at the stuff on the inside and for this reason most of us do not want to be silent or alone. It's worth noting that the first seven contestants asked to be rescued rather quickly due to injury, bears, wolves, storms, health and food issues, but the two immediately before Kay who lasted significantly longer "tapped out" because of emotional stress.
Mr. Kay speaks of some of the positive elements of solitude for shorter amounts of time. The sensory deprivation experiments of the 1960's and 70's, documented cases of solitary confinement, shipwreck survivor cases, and more over the years make it quite clear that long periods of confinement and isolation can be extremely detrimental to human well being. But, Mr. Kay reminds us that there is a difference between isolation and solitude. Solitude is good for the soul.
I have made a commitment to spend time daily pausing from the affects of the artificial world we live in, if only for a few minutes a day. And for me it is extremely important to get out into the real world once in a while as well. And by the real world I mean outside. There is something special about getting outside.
"Living in an artificial world is like spending your life wrapped in plastic wrap... Our body, soul, and spirit atrophy because we were made to inhabit a real world, drawing life, joy and strength from it." John Eldridge, Get Your Life Back
Been outside lately? If not, let me encourage you to get outside, find some solitude and drink it all in!
PS. During this time of the pandemic the amount of time that most people spend with others has been drastically cut. Some have been isolated for periods due to quarantine, school and job changes and other reasons. You may have felt the emotional tug of war during this time. It remains extremely important that we learn to overcome the affects of isolation. The affects of isolation are real and can lead to depression and extreme difficulty. I do not want to minimize the affects of isolation in any way so part 2 of this blog is going to be focusing on overcoming isolation.
Troy Vande Lune
Big Rock Leader