• Fiona Prior

Fascinating Loners

In COVID lockdowns, recent and present, some are mentally handling the isolation better than others. Those people more immune to the social deprivation are the loners, the hermits, those who aren’t so keen on being invited to the party at the best of times.


A horrifying statistic from the US indicates that in 2020 drug overdose deaths surged by 30%. Though likely to be related to a deadlier supply of drugs, such an increase in overdose must surely relate to people being plain destabilised by the pandemic; the social distancing, the inability to see family members and support groups, and the general unsticking of the herd glue. Pre-Covid, the herd was the accepted and the stragglers and stringers the aberrant. Of course, enforced Covid restrictions turned this configuration on its head with enforced unsociable behaviour becoming a norm for periods of time. Still, it is probably our loners and recalcitrant who fare better in isolation; who don't turn to drugs, alcohol, self-harm or other anti-social behaviours in these mandated unsociable periods.


Looking into the lives of some fascinating loners I was taken on an unexpected scientific tangent. Species may actually have a mathematical equation that predestines some members (non-members?) to be outsiders. These outsiders are the species insurance policy for its continuance. In the smallest of groups of species all are loners!


When predators attacked the herd, the tsunami hits the city or the asteroid the metropolis, it was/will be those not amongst the pack and who are most unsynchronised with the coordinated majority who will survive. I only hope that the 'outsiders' of our endangered species have got their brief! A fascinating article from 'New Scientist' has tentacles that will lead you off in many directions. More here.


And I’ll finish with my favourite ‘loner’, though there are so many to choose from; Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Frederic Chopin, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, JK Rowling, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg to name a few.


Greta Garbo

I want to be alone”, would have to be the most famous statement attributed to a loner and was probably misquoted. This is according to the loner in question, Greta Garbo, a Swedish actress who became as famous for shunning journalists, fans and red carpets as she was for her films. More here.


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