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On Solitude

Creation reveals patterns and natural truths that are simply unavoidable. The sooner we figure them out, the better we can function as individuals, families, and civilizations. One of the more recent ones that has come to my attention has been the truth of the balance-seeking nature of all things. Scientists might call it equilibrium. Strategists call it parity and a biologist might call it homeostasis. Whatever term you want to apply—stability, symmetry, harmony—without balance, eventually something breaks. An example might be an overpopulation of Elk in Yellowstone destroying the environment until wolves were introduced. Another might be the concept of flight in an aircraft, where lift is produced by thrust and the design of the wings, but if not managed correctly with control inputs or throttle, airflow is disrupted and a stall ensues.

I experienced an incredible visual illustration of equilibrium during my classes at the Air Force Weapons School. We were studying the tactics involved in the aerial delivery of naval mines when a video was shown displaying an underwater detonation of a deepwater anti-ship mine. This fascinating clip showed how the fiery heat of the detonation expanded rapidly outward, creating a massive bubble of hot gases which, after expanding to their limits, were immediately collapsed inward by the force and cooler temperatures of the deep sea water. This incredible external sea pressure compressed the bubble back in on itself, which was now concentrated and superheated again, creating another rapid, explosive expansion. This oscillating bubble ascended, repeating this expansion and compression action until it attached itself to the hull of a ship, breaking it in half in the void created beneath it. It was a fascinating and visual demonstration of this concept of balance, equilibrium, compression, and violent expansion. It revealed how energy of all types seeks neutrality and balance.

Horses are also excellent examples of balance-seeking in nature. During our training of wild mustangs at Mountains Move, we see in very real ways how these beautiful creatures are trained by concepts of pressure and release. These majestic animals just want balance and a release of stress—and they really do strive to understand human communication. Once a horse is taught that it can relieve human pressure by responding away from that pressure, this 1,000lb beast can be taught to do amazing things. And once their trust is established, they become amazing companions capable of incredible tasks.

Photo by Rex Pickar on Unsplash

Why does this matter? What do aircraft wings, underwater mines, wild horses and ravenous wolves have to do with an article on solitude?

We are subject to these same laws of nature. The same rules that God made for creation apply to us, his finest of creations. As society races headlong over the cliff of technology, we are forgetting that we have a desperate NEED for the things of nature that are not synthetically delivered by big tech, big pharma, big government, or even society itself. Multiple studies have revealed the impact of solitude in the wilderness. Getting away from technology and the urbanization that crowds out the individual results in higher attention, improved creativity, better problem-solving skills, and other social benefits. More importantly, this is therapy for the discontented soul. At Mountains Move, we use it for the shock treatment that comes from getting people out into amazing places involving high alpine passes, some cold wind, and stunning mountain scenery that speaks to them in ways only their Creator can, and in ways that can quiet this discontent by restoring balance, perspective, relationship and faith.

If you really think about it, there are several reasons that time in solitude serves humanity. Obviously, pressure and release is the same formula we use in the gym. Time under weight and tension with appropriate rest periods (and a healthy diet) results in muscle growth. But there are deeper forces at work here too.

In our information saturated environment, the individual is crowded out. Social media, social networks, social gatherings, social credit…it all reminds me of Nietsche’s comment about going into wilderness in order to stop drinking from other people’s cisterns. Today, more and more, it seems we are being herded like animals into social corrals, for the sake of monetization, popularity, agenda, ease of surveillance and control. Here, in the slaughterhouses of Facebook, Twitter (X), or Tik Tok, we mindlessly scroll through and absorb the thoughts and lives of others while our own individual nature and creativity is slowly eroded, numbed, mined for information, and purchased by modern digital plantation owners. It’s The Matrix, manifesting before our eyes.

What about you—the individual you—with your own thoughts, passions, and creative forces? When was the last time you considered the “likes” around the campfire or the real emotions (not emojis) that a morning cup of coffee at 11,000 feet can generate? Getting lost in the wilderness and seeking solitude is not the hardship it may seem—its necessary today in order to find our way back to the individual that communes with God in nature. It is necessary to find our way back to ourselves.

C.S. Lewis also touched on the importance of the individual in The Screwtape Letters when he talked about how nations are not the things that are saved by God from eternal damnation, but rather it’s all about the individual. This great game was always about collecting individual souls—distracting them from their purpose and from their God. As it turns out, forcing masses of people into collectivism is a convenient way to melt the individual.

“Go slow to go fast”, Yin and Yang, dark and light, black and white…you know these truths already. They are timeless. Balance in nature has always been about compression and tension, pressure and release, activity and rest. Do we fail to see that technology and all the hype of modern interconnectedness needs to be counterbalanced with solitude and rediscovering ourselves, recovering the individual? When was the last time you experienced true solitude, and got lost in order to find yourself—and to find the way back home to reality?

As neural networks get implanted in people and humans get “jacked” into the world wide web of artificial creations and synthetic experiences, we better be finding ways to get back to hard spiritual truths, individual identities and the true artistry, beauty, and miraculous designs of the real things wrought by God and not by man. Believe it or not, it’s connected to fulfilling your purpose.

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