At certain moments we all feel the desire to escape from it all. Even if it’s only a brief walk or a long drive through the countryside, there is truly no greater companion than ourselves.
In the past, those that didn’t ‘fit’ the normative regulations of society or didn’t want to fit them could withdraw from society to the margins. Modern society (taxation requirements, documentation, increased population density, private land ownership, urbanization, etc.) makes retreat from society much more difficult today. Some retreat while among us; homelessness has a great distance from social networks, even if not a spatial distance from city centers. I’m not trying to romanticize the past, because I am sure that retreating from society hundreds of years ago would certainly be fraught with peril and layered with tremendous difficulties.
Collectively, we have especially demonized women that pull back for societal connections (the idea of the lone ‘witch’ is loaded with negative cultural connotations). Many of these individuals seek a different human and environmental interaction, and feel a stronger connection to the land and animals than they do human society. Some with mental health issues find that societal interactions exacerbate their problems while can solitude and a more physical landscape can offer peace of mind and happiness. I don’t have any answers, but wanted to think about individualistic and isolationist geographies of those that don’t feel at odds in large groups and contemporary society.
Tags: mobility, housing, cultural norms, environment, culture.
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