Wednesday, September 5, 2007

What is wrong with being a "loner"

Why is that anytime someone does an unspeakable crime the media charactarizes them as a loner? I was watching the news the other day and they talked about the man who shot all the people at Virginia Tech. They said he was a loner, obsessed with the columbine shooting and just plain strange. The school should have picked up on these things is what the news program I was watching implied. Then there was a man who had molested several children, he was a loner and very strange. None of his neighbors really new him. Other killers and extreme law breakers were also charactarized as loners, strange or even monsters.

Perhaps I simply understand the term "loner" differently. First of all, I think a loner is someone who is comfortable with him or herself by themselves. They do not mind doing things alone and often enjoy being alone. A true loner refills him or herself by being by themselves. A loner will often go to parties and be around people, but will find themselves exhausted afterwards. People wear out a true loner. Most loners have little room for small talk and do not need to fill the silences in a conversation with noise. Loners often enjoy silence and quiet and do not find it difficult to be silent. Loners sometimes want to be by themselves, but are not anti-social. They have a few close friends and are very happy with just a few friends. They may on occasion avoid social activities and not like crowds a whole lot. They can endure crowds, but it wears them out quickly. Others sometimes see the loner as withdrawn, unfreindly, aloof and even arrogant at first. However, once they get to know the person, they realize that he or she is not that way.

It seems to me that these people who commit such horrendouse crimes are not true loners, but people who have tried to fit in and lack the skills or abilities to truly be a part of a community. Therefore, they feel shunned and wish to strike out in some way or another. They are sick, yes, but not true loners.

I also find it interesting that we must characterize these people as monsters, as well. It is like we must remove them from the human race in order to attempt to understand what they have done. If I understand the Bible correctly every human being is a child of God. Therefore, we are brothers and sisters to these "maniacs" that do these crimes. Hence, but for the grace of God we also could do these horrible deeds. In other words, inside of each human being is the capacity for great evil. We all have the ability to be a Hitler or Virginia Tech shooter or whatever. However, we also have a great capacity for good. The Bible tells us that humanity was created in the image of God. Therefore, we were created good. That capacity for good never leaves us, it just becomes damaged when we sin. Being created good, though, because of sin, we have a propensity toward sin. Hence, we will all sin. Some sins seem bigger than others, but the result of sin is the same, death. Of course, our sins are taken away by the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

All this is to say, though, I think we as Christians should be very careful in how we judge these so called "monsters." We, as human beings have the capacity for equal evil within us, just as these monsters have the capacity for good. Jung called the realization of such evil inside of us as "embracing the shadow." In order to truly embrace the good within us, we also have to embrace the shadow and realize our capacity for evil. In other words, don't remove these people who commit such atrocities from the human race, but remember that the same capacity is inside of you. To truly be human, though, is to live in the image of God we were created in. We are children of God, let us embrace our heritage.

13 comments:

Todd said...

Loner is like "liberal" or "conservative". It is defined by the observer. Just because someone chooses not to associate with others in a way that is less engaging, then they are a loner. It may be physically (hanging out, going over, being with) or socially (not into the conversation, can't make eye contact, seems to be in a rush to be somewhere else).

I do not categorize myself as a loner; anymore. I did avoid people intentionally in high school. I was a loner then. But mostly because I didn't have the perception of being accepted. In college that changed.

Now I don't segregate myself like that. Instead I push myself out. But I would still be considered a loner by some because I don't engage like other, more outgoing, personalities.

Terrence said...

I'm a loner and I'm quite proud of it. There's absolutely nothing wrong with being one any way! Just because some one seems odd doesn't mean that they are a loner, and besides we all have the capacity to do as much if not more evil than the Devil himself! those who falsely claim to and those whom are falsely accused of being loners give the real ones a bad name... it's sad because now if some one hears I'm a loner they think of some one like that Virginia tech shooting or child molesting when it's nothing like those at all.

Rev. Counselor said...

I too am proud to be a loner, it is just frustrating that society and culture try to make loners out to be something odd, dangerous or whatever. I am who I am and this is the way God has made me.

Minkaboo said...

I went out w/ a guy who described himself as a loner. I didn't understand what he meant b/c he seemed just like everyone else when we first started dating. Then he wouldn't want to talk to me on the phone or would IM me for a date instead of calling me. Is this a normal characteristic of a loner? He also told me that he felt shunned growing up in schools. I felt badly and wanted to support him but he seems so w/drawn and not wanting support. My question is this: (1) Do loners end up as that b/c it's their natural personality or more b/c of the environment? (2) Is there a particular type of personality that loners are drawn to? Could they desire to date an average girl who's a non-loner?
Please reply her or also at simplicityandheart@yahoo. Thanks!

Rev. Counselor said...

Minkaboo,

There is a difference in being a loner in the context that I use it in and being afraid to have a relationship with other people. It seems to me that this guy had been hurt and was really scared of being in a relationship with somebody else. It is sad, because he probably had a very lonely life. The context I use loner in is someone who is very comfortable with who they are and not afraid to be alone. They may be quiet and seem shy to some poeple, but they really make very deep connections, when they connect. I do not think there is one particular type of personality that we loners are drawn to. I for one am married to a very extraverted woman and love it. We compliment each other. Yes, is my answer to whether or not a loner can be attracted to an average girl. Remember a true loner is not anti-social, merely very comfortable with him or herself and not afraid of being alone. In fact, they renew themselves being alone

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is very annoying. 'Oh, he was always a loner, he kept to himself.' As if they always suspected there was something wrong with him. It's media bullshit. There have been plenty of charming and sociable serial killers.

Anonymous said...

Hello I to am a loner. I would classify myself as this because I fell comfortable by myself and don't feel like I'm missing anything when I'm not around other people. It's not that I'm anti social, which I'm not, it's just that I have no urges to go to parties and have long conversations. I have a girlfriend and am very close to her. She doesn't mind that I am a loner and says that I am the best thing that has ever happened to her. I don't like to meet a lot of people but the ones I do get to meet me become close friends. An important characteristic of a loner is someone who is very observant not mentally sick.

Anonymous said...

Actually people who go to social events, such as parties and are exhausted afterwards are called introverts.A loner would be someone who would stay home and read a book rather than the social event.

Anonymous said...

The idea of characterizing loners in negative ways is actually based on our instinct as a species. It's a remnant of our tribal times when we lived in small hunter gather communities. People who were popular and good providers were the ones that produced the most offspring and became "alpha" dominants. Where as an outsider near a tribe would be treated as hostile because they usually were.

Anonymous said...

There certainly isn't anything wrong with being a loner. "I don't see anyone talking to that person, they're a loner." I also hate people who talk behind someone's back, saying,"I'm not really their friend, I don't like them. They're a loner." I hate going to parties and hanging around with new people and in crowds. I'm not exactly a loner, I have a few close friends, and I don't like being around new people. Some people may think that "loner" is a mean way to call anti-social people, but being a loner isn't bad, people just give it bad definitions. I used to be a loner, but it's okay. Being a loner is one of my traits.

Derek Farrin said...

I'm a loner but i don't have social anxiety, as I have no problem communicating with people, especially strangers (despite my speech impediment), I enjoy being alone it just feels so natural to me, my social life doesn't involve me staying in one place, but i keep meeting people from various locations, for example I see someone who caught my attention like a homeless person, i talk to him and we then start to meet more often and we form a bond and much more examples like that varying from one person to the other. I don't see the problem with it, also the way I see the world is one massive playground, having for me to be alone in the first place (though I'm ultimately a christian which I have a big reason to introduce that into my comment), I get to discover the hidden treasures and challenges of the vast world. Kind of like an indiana jones movie except this doesn't last for 2 hours, but a lifetime. I hope you understand what I'm saying?

Terence said...

I am a loner too and I just accepted that fact. I used to try blend in and tried to please others but at the end, I was viewed as the nice guy and boring. So I decided to be on my own and accept whomever the lord sends to me. I also talk to whoever wants to talk to me but there are times where I am questioned for being too quiet, but hey, can't I have a day of solitude, or perhaps, I just got nothing to say? It can be frustrating but I don't deny anyone that comes to me, but people can't seem to accept this in life. Another thing is that I just don't click with you. You know it, but yet somehow you want to beat a conversation out of me. The worst case is that people think I am arrogant or stuck up for being quiet but hey I am sinner like you alright?

another loner said...

Thank goodness I found this blog. I'm fed up with people painting all loners as villains. Since when's there anything wrong with being a loner? I've been one for a long time and I've grown to like it.