Love and Solitude

Life is difficult because humans are, by nature, alone.

Eric ZhangMarch 1, 2022

“Love” is an umbrella term for all those things that make us no longer alone in the world.

  • Love of money and power creates social groups, corporate institutions, and complex interpersonal dynamics. It’s why people spend so much time at work.
  • Love for one’s craft brings people together around a shared interest: artistic, intellectual, humanitarian, exploratory, or otherwise.
  • Love for culture breathes life into the shared experiences of millions of people with a common heritage.
  • Love of nature expresses how we can connect with everything around us, that feeling of a cool breeze in a sunny day in the Spring, or a beautiful sunset, or the stars dancing in the sky.
  • And of course, loving other people is as close as you’ll get to truly, unconditionally appreciating the wonderful human-ness that permeates all of us. It’s why we can find art beautiful, experience gracious empathy, laugh at jokes together, and make lasting connections.

I’m busy trying to carve out my own path here, as is everyone else. But for better or for worse, my background makes me alone in a lot of paths I’ve taken thus far. So I have a lot to uncover and a strong sense of personal taste.

One thing I often say is that finding my voice is about loving myself; the reason is because in the absence of people following similar paths to take direction from, the only way to continue my journey is to be guided by and express the beauty of the scenery along the way. You can borrow the words and values of others, or you can forge your own.

In every moment of my life so far where I’ve been developing my creative voice — from middle school math meets to online programming communities, web projects, hardcore systems software, classical music, and the open-source community — I’ve been remarkably alone. There’s been no close colleagues to chat with on a rainy day or support me when I fall. But I marched on. That’s what it means to find a unique passion in a subject, and that is why loving oneself is the clearest vision on a path of solitude.