The art of being alone


Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

Call me a laggard but the truth is I just discover how to use podcast on iPhone....

and God knows how joyful I am to ever discovering this podcast and stuff.  There's a lot of superb podcast channel out there, but my current favourite is 99% Invisible. I've been listening to their podcast almost every morning during my walk to campus! I see myself as a "visual" person than an "audio" person. Among the 4 basic communication skills, listening is the most difficult one for me. So listening to podcast really helps me improving my listening skill.

Also, I kinda wonder why podcast isn't that popular in Indonesia.

Anyway, last week I listened to The guardian's podcast, who interview Olivia Laing (the author of The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone). They talked about the connection between isolation and creativity. Its such a good podcast, that inspires me to wrote this post.

And the book itself talks about how Olivia Laing explore the lonely city (re: New Yorkby way of art. Its so cool, how the loneliness can affect some artist's works (from Edward Hopper's Nighthawks to Andy Warhol's Time Capsules, from Henry Darger's hoarding to David Wojnarowicz's AIDS activism) and suggest we should all be a little less frightened of being alone.

From what I experienced, we live in a society where children raised to be social and make many friends. Then they grew up thinking that "alone" is associated with "shame", "anti-social" and "unwanted". As a proud introvert, its actually irritating for me being with people that fear of being alone. People needs to understand the difference between being alone and being lonely. Even one says that lonely itself have two different reasons, because the lack of intimacy with human being or because the lack of connection with like-minded person.

Agnes Martin, an American minimalist-abstract painter, once said that 
"The best things in life happen to you when you're alone."

I've read somewhere, that there is a term called "Spotlight Effect", it refers to the tendency for individuals to think that others are observing them more closely than they actually are. Based on the research, people actually aren’t paying as close of attention to your appearance and actions as you are because they are too busy paying attention to themselves. I mean like, maybe you're the only one that realise you're having a bad hair day or your shirt is the wrong size. 

So the next time you're walking the wrong direction, no need pretending to check your phone before turning around. 
Because less likely people see that.

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