The Philosophy of Solitude

Nobody enjoys being left alone…or so the society thinks.

Individuals who hide behind the walls of isolation are just a bunch of cowards who don’t possess enough bravery to face the imperfection of human beings that has disturbed them to an intolerable level…or so the society thinks.

I believe otherwise: it is our nature to live all by ourselves.


Yes, Aristotle‘s concept of zoon politicon puts people as social animals, political animals, who would not survive without the help of others. I’m not sure if I understand the argument behind his notion, but his empirical observation might be surprisingly wronged.

We were born from a mother, that is a factual truth. However, being part of a family is not even a choice we make. Some of us are, indeed, lucky enough to receive love from our given parents (whom we don’t pick from a market’s display window, by the way), but some others are less fortunate in a way that they have to build their own kit-to-survive-childhood institution named orphanage. Some others fail to even understand why they were born when they’re unwanted. Okay that went a little bit off the main line. My point is, there is no unfalsifiable justification to a subjective view that we are all born social. Although, you can always argue the other way around.

My main, semi-physical evidence to prove the case to you, ladies and gentlemen, is the existence of our thoughts–subsonscious, undermind, or other alternative nouns that English is kind enough to provide us with.

No one, I repeat, no one can ever understand another person’s idea completely.

Not even Plato towards Socrates. Our brain, sometimes stimulated by rationality or faith, produces insights that are solid enough to require extra efforts for one to break in. Everyone has the right to compose a thorough explanation in order to assist a second party to enter your room of thoughts, but there will always be a shadowy section of which they would not comprehend completely. The same framework can also be utilized to shed some light upon analyzing our dreams–one of our most personal belongings.

So I contend, as long as human still owns the attribute of private properties–a wholly different realm whose entrance is not accessible by another person even when the owner wishes so, we are pretty much secluded creatures.

Another bad news, even love might have been designed to put us into a state of extreme alienation. Peek into Jeffrey Eugenides, in The Marriage Plot:

Madeleine fully understood how the lover’s discourse is of an extreme solitude. The solitude was extreme because it wasn’t physical. It was extreme because you felt it in the company of the person you loved. It was extreme because it was in your head, the most solitary of all places.

In the end, I don’t necessarily expect you to understand such a saturated theory, because I know you wouldn’t. I comprehend that we were all born as unique individuals, not as groups of people, with our incomprehensible minds as a valid distinction.

You should not, however, misperceive me as a skeptic to social or even romantic interaction between human beings. I always admire, as a matter of fact, how people are able to create some kind of connection with others–whom of which was once a complete stranger to their own being.

Most blessed of all are people who believe in, and find, their true love–despite the solitudeness they were naturally born with. Have a blissful week!


(My) 2011 In Pictures

I blame Iman for having lured me into composing this personal kaleidoscope which most of you might not even be interested in. But with or without your permission, I am going to brag (I know ‘share’ is a hypothetical verb) about the best things that happened to me last year (and prove to you that happiness might come in a form of simple, everyday lessons and first-times):

January: Has It Been A Year?



If you see happy faces in the picture, that’s because we were. Jabriks (our department’s outing program) to Ciwidey, Bandung officially marked the end of our happy-period of being sophomores. Now, ready or not, we should welcome the merciless junior year…

February: Boston, New York, and D.C.



Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) served us not just a tough, mind-boggling competition, but also a cool family with whom you’re able to visit United States’s sexiest spots, from museums to Times Square! It was an ugly truth (of realizing that you’re not good enough to win) lurking inside the joy of visiting the remarkable land of liberty. Did I also tell you we literally met Lady Gaga on Broadway?

March: I Don’t Swim…but I Snorkle!



When I was informed that I was selected to attend the faculty‘s talent scouting program in Kepulauan Seribu, I did not realize that I’d end up in such gratefulness: that Earth owns gorgeous creatures under the sea, and that there are honest people living by the coast. This picture was taken before we dipped ourselves into Laut Jawa.

April: There’s Always the First Time for Everything



…and that includes directing in a Model United Nations conference. I was very excited when one of the participants approached me after this valuable opportunity!

May: A Tweet Just Happened



You’ll never, and I mean never, understand HOW HAPPY I WAS TO BE MENTIONED–let alone complimented with ‘great job’–by my most favorite Indonesian writer! And she’s actually following my Twitter account! (Yes I put that as a present continuous tense because she might change her mind after reading this, haha!) You can judge me all you want–but this tweet of hers will remain forever epic in my head.

June: New Batch, New Energy!



Meet Indonesian Future Leaders’ (IFL) new board of executives, framed right after our hilarious 2-day Camp. Energized by ‘IFL Initiates’, this team is (supposedly) ready to aim for greater youth development this (and next) year!

July: A Slap of “You’re Not A Freshman Anymore!”


That’s the beloved batch of International Relations Universitas Indonesia 2011, a new family which reminded us–batch 2009–that we’re not a first-year student anymore. In fact, it’s almost our 4th year… You guys rocked and we did our best, so let’s not thank each other but make us proud!

August: First (Visionary and Yet Paid) Formal Work



If you think that this is a modified-for-pretty-pictures office, you’re wrong. This energy-efficient (no lights required!) room is as neat as the picture appears to your eyes. It is the very workplace of Energy Efficiency and Conservation Clearing House Indonesia (EECCHI). I was blessed to have worked in such a passionate atmosphere (and have my articles published)!

September: Two Weeks of Being ‘Young’ Again



Thanks to Iman and Alanda, I was able to join a Volunteer Program Development and Management Course (VPDM) arranged by VSO Bahaginan in Antipolo, Philippines. Apparently being surrounded by old people (the youngest one was a 29 year-old Chinese bloke!) reminds you of how being young and spiritful is indeed a privilege. I learned a lot of new things.

September: Having My Baby’s 2nd Anniversary



Sometimes what you thought a fling could turn into a lifetime affection. I remember a quote saying that, “If you have a good idea, lead. If you heard a good idea, follow. If you don’t have or hear a good idea, don’t let yourself bother the others.” We had the good idea, tried to lead, and now we’re struggling to grow the organization bigger. Wish us luck!

October: The Future of Libya?



I was plain honored to be part of Security Council in Indonesia Model United Nations (IMUN) last year. It was not an easy work but I was happy, having directed a fruitful discussion upon the future of Libya after Gaddafi’s death. (For the record, he was not dead when we had the conference–and that’s probably why the news about his death immediately made me shiver.)

November: Can Indonesia Raise Social Scientists?



Who says Indonesia can’t have their youngsters analyze social issues? Social Science Olympiads (OIS) is a valid evidence that WE DO HAVE ALL THE POTENTIAL WE NEED! This extraordinary event has taken so much of my time and energy this year–but it was totally worth it. I can visualize perfectly how we cried in one another’s hug right after the grand champions were announced.

November: First Touchdown in Purwokerto!



This is embarassing but I’ve never been outside West Java on my own (not even Bali), so I found the 5-hour ride all by myself to Purwokerto very exciting! That’s not to mention the warm welcome from these students of Universitas Soedirman (all dressed in this pretty batik), matur nuwon!

December: I Knew Knowledge-Sharing Would Feel Great



Ari knows best how we did not intend to create anything big, but School of Diplomacy (SOD) just managed to betray our expectations–in a good way! Started as a simple fundraising idea at Burger and Grill, we had  more than 200 students on board, each of them is enthusiastic to learn in our chambers. Hats off to the facilitators, too!

December: A Thesis Topic?



This sheet of paper is very historical to me–because two of my most favorite lecturers of all time acknowledged this as ‘original’ and deserving to be ‘patented’. That beautifully happened in the last session of our Identity class. I just hope that one day I can develop the idea into my own, non-traditional international relations book–or at least a thesis. Amen.

Isn’t it ironic that my first post in 2012 is about 2011? Regardless all the bad luck that was kind enough to have visited me several times (in a row) last year, I am happy. I was not that sure about that before, but reading this post…I guess I am. (Supported by the fact that I learned shuffling, several billiard trick shots and–most important of all–cha cha cha dance in the last day of 2011, HAHAHA.)

Have a blessed year ahead, everyone. We deserve it.