Why do we have such a problem with being alone?

Sara Maitland in Carlin’s Cairn, Galloway Forest Park

‘Happy as a pig in clover’ … Sara Maitland in Carlin’s Cairn, Galloway Forest Park. Photograph: Adam Lee

“…there is a problem, a serious cultural problem, about solitude. Being alone in our present society raises an important question about identity and wellbeing. In the first place, and rather urgently, the question needs to be asked. And then – possibly, tentatively, over a longer period of time – we need to try to answer it.

The question itself is a little slippery but it looks something like this: how have we arrived, in the relatively prosperous developed world at least, at a cultural moment that values autonomy, personal freedom, fulfilment and human rights, and, above all, individualism, more highly than ever before, while at the same time those who are autonomous, free and self-fulfilling are terrified of being alone with themselves?!” – Sara Maitland

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