Lately, many people post funny videos on social media and messaging applications on various issues during the current pandemic, and one of them is about how people who are lonely and feel bored spend time.
Unlike you who can respond to the necessity to stay at home with a variety of positive activities and enjoy them, many people experience difficulties in this regard. Loneliness, either in the sense of being completely alone or isolated together with friends, partners, or family, seems to be really a kind of torture. Indeed it is rather strange nowadays given that in the era of the internet and social media where people have tended to or are accustomed to being alone even in a crowd, in a group, with friends or even family, everyone is absorbed in their respective gadgets. Strangely, when the movement is restricted so the place to “be alone” most of the time is only at home this situation then becomes a problem. Of course, this proves that humans are social creatures who need others, so even though millennials tend to be alone, their existence with other people or society is still a necessity.
That is different from Ascetics (asceticism practitioners), whether they are monks, real hermits, recluse, retreatant, solitaire or just ordinary people who deliberately abstain from sensual pleasures for realizing spiritual purposes, both with relatively mild behavior as part of natural asceticism to those who carry out unnatural asceticism, which puts the intention of being alone as the initial and fundamental step. The aim of the ascetics could be to obtain penance, spiritual glory, or to know and realize a higher self. These intentions are done consciously “while alive” because just like us, they realize that whatever lives will die, they know very well the meaning of M sketches in their palms which in old Latin culture is called memento mori.
Of course, we are generally not ascetic, so if we are required to be alone, it is a problem even though like them, we also know that one day we too will die. Maybe, belief in God or not, have full faith or not, believe in life after death or not, when we are laid off like we are today, we have a good chance to get to know ourselves better, question why we are here on earth, for what purpose, what is our mission, etc. as we go through this “misery” (which ascetics deliberately do and seek), at a time when many aspects of the material in life are less useful.
Have you ever done an activity that uses the current situation on purpose to at least better understand yourself?