Being in isolation #2 Looking at the word “Isolation”

Being in isolation

When talking about a person being in isolation we do have to look for the meaning behind “being in isolation” first.

Is it about someone or something to isolate or is it about an isolable condition or a tendency towards isolation or isolationism.

English: Solitary oak Most trees on the Moors ...
Solitary oak Most trees on the Moors are alongside the lanes or watercourses, but this one stands in splendid isolation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To isolate or to place in detached situation, like an island or to detach is not what we are going to cover, but we can have it over the detachment or the way to separate. To seclude but also about to segregate or even about to obtain in an uncompounded state and tending towards isolation or isolationism, or the policy of avoiding political or other entanglements  with other people, countries or organizations.

First of all we have to look at the state of being on your own and being lonely.

In Dutch etymological and ‘right word’ dictionaries before the 1960ies the words isolation, loneliness and being on your own were ordered under the heading “onbeschaafdheid” = “crudeness, rudeness, uncouthness, ill-breeding, bad manners” and in the worst sense “crudity” and “barbarism”.

This may look strange, but in a way it is a very civilized way of thinking, saying a lot of the way of thinking of my parents and their previous generation, who considered human beings to be associated with each other.

Today we have come in a total different attitude with lots of people preferring to be on their own, only thinking of their own or having no eye for others around them.

Before we are going to come to today’s situation and today’s way of thinking I take the liberty to look in a 1942 dictionary about isolation and being in isolation.

Let’s look at the words in a Dutch dictionary and what we can find in a contemporary English dictionary

Afgesloten      closed, private, locked, self-contained

English: Corrour Old Lodge - former Isolation ...
Corrour Old Lodge – former Isolation Hospital Now that’s what I call isolated! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Afgezonderd   isolated, cut off, solitary, secluded, shut off, separate, remote, recluse, dissociable, shy, dangling, shut-in,

Onvergezeld, onverzeld                     unaccompanied, left without company,

Eenzelvig        self-contained, retiring, solitary, introverted, unsociable, reserved, being to himself, to go it alone, to lead a solitary life, self-contained existence,  being a loner, a  lone wolf, an introvert, withdrawn, turned in on One self, incommunicative, inconversable, farouche

Verlaten          deserted, desolate, lonely, abandoned, been forsaken, forlorn, lovelorn, leave, alone, lonely, vacate

Eenzaam         lonely, lone, alone, solitary, lonesome, desolate, cloistered, sequestered, recluse, secret, lorn,

Eendelijk         single

Alleen, Alleenig alone, on one’s own, completely alone,

Eenig, enig      only, sole, single, unique, one and only

Doodalleen, ziel alleen, moederziel alleen  all alone, soul alone

Moederziel alleen, moederzielig      all alone, mother pathetic, be cast away

Geïsoleerd      isolated, secluded, sequestered

Geretireerd, teruggetrokken retired, retiring, sequestered, withdrawn, lead a retired/secluded life, lead a sequestered life

Solitair            solitary, solitaire, loner, lone wolf

Onburgerlijk   not bourgeois, not middleclass, not common citizens

Afzondering, Afzonderen, zich afzonderen, zich van de wereld afkeren    seclusion, isolation, privacy, separation, segregation, sequestration, apartness, disconnection, severance, lead a secluded/withdrawn/hermit’s life, singly, individually

Zich uit de wereld terug trekken       withdrawing from the world, draw off, pull back, move back

De wereld vaarwel zeggen    say the world goodbye

In afzondering gaan leven, in afzondering leven     going to live in solitude, living in solitude, in seclusion

Voor zichzelf leven, Op zijn eigen leven       live for themselves, living on his own

Obscuur zijn    obscure, hidden, inconspicuous, unknown to others or unknown to fame, living or enveloped in darkness, not distinct, indistinctness, not easily understood, to hide,

Leven als een oester  to live as an oyster

Kloosteren      cloister, taking on a monastic life, cloistered life

Zich isoleren   to isolate oneself

Kluizen            to hermit, to lead a hermit’s life, to lead a life of recluse/solitary

vreemd aan, verwijderen      foreign to, unusual, to live in an unusual way, to take on or live an alien life, foreign, strange, feeling a stranger/out of place

But we also can find isolation under “zich onthouden” “ontzeggen” to abstain or refrain from, forgo, forbear.

Onverhinderd unhindered, unimpeded, unhampered

Ongehinderd  not impeded, not hampered, not obstructed, not hindered, undeterred,

Onbelet           unobstructed, not preventing someone to go somewhere or from speaking

When overlooking the related words with “isolation” than we may notice that we may find isolation created by the person himself or herself and isolation created by others or by circumstances.

When there is the free choice of nonparticipation in or withdrawal from, local or international politics or from people with another or even similar mind it is the own choice of the person which shall bring him or her in seclusion or left without company. The state of being in a place or situation that is separate from others or the condition of being isolated can be liked, not so much liked or even can be detested.

When there is a lack of contact between persons, groups, or whole societies such being on their own can become a problem. The failure of an individual to maintain contact with others or genuine communication where interaction with others persists often creates an isolation which shall create an unwished feeling by the person and shall have him to adapt his choices.

Bad is it when Isolation is the state of feeling alone and without friends or help. ⇒ Many deaf people have feelings of isolation and loneliness. ⇒ He also talked briefly about the isolation he endured while in captivity. {Collins dictionary on isolation}

When isolation is an act of being put apart it is bad. But also not good is it when it is a feeling of being disliked and alone, or having the feeling that one is in concealment, privateness, secrecy, privacy – the condition of being concealed or hidden.

Alienation, disaffection, estrangement – the feeling of being alienated from other people can bring the affected person in different states, which can bring him more down than keeping him or her going.

The worst is the act of separating something from other things: the act of isolating something or the condition of being isolated.

English: The isolation of Ess.
The isolation of Ess. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Danger is also that Isolation can bring solitude, isolation, seclusion meaning the state of one who is alone or implying a condition of being apart from all human beings or of being cut off by wish or circumstances from one’s usual associates  or from members of a community, like in our instance from our religious friends. The outcome of isolation shall be detachment from others often involuntarily whilst the seclusion suggests a shutting away or keeping apart from others often connoting deliberate withdrawal from the world or retirement to a quiet life <lived in pastoral seclusion>.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said in `Self-Reliance’

“Isolation must precede true society”

Joseph Roux on the other hand said

“Isolation kills”

and that is the danger we should all be aware of.

Some may think that

“Solitude vivifies;”

and rightly being on our own can make us to think about a lot of things and can bring us to do lots of things. Being on your own obliges you to think seriously about what is around you and how you want to do or solve problems which you have to tackle on your own.

It does not harm to take some moments in seclusion or isolation to meditate and to take time for yourself to contemplate and to make time to be on yourself with God’s Word and talking to the Most High Elohim.


Preceding articles

Being in isolation #1 Baptists making an important choice

Determine the drive

Dealing with worries in our lives

Not staying alone in your search for truth


Additional reading

  1. Subcutaneous power for humanity 5 Loneliness, Virtual and real friends
  2. Illusion of Separateness
  3. Lonely in the crowd
  4. You’re so used to
  5. Lonely Life
  6. So Lonely
  7. Lonely so lonely
  8. Loneliness (as seen by Tess Connor)
  9. Overcoming Hurt Feelings
  10. Alone in the cold and dark
  11. Depression Is and When
  12. A Cranky Old Man
  13. Growing rift between observant parents and their children
  14. Let us not fret or worry about next season
  15. “Unnoticed”
  16. Tax to pay to atone for a certain complexity of mind
  17. Christadelphian Support Network Meeting: The Age of Loneliness
  18. Walking alone?
  19. What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?
  20. Companionship


Further reading

  1. Abandoned place; abandoned me….
  2. Letting Go…
  3. Void…
  4. Shutting out the world
  5. Just another day
  6. Survival…
  7. Shutting out the world
  8. Emptiness
  9. Alone 1
  10. Alone 2
  11. Alone With Self
  12. Lonely?
  13. Lonely 
  14. Loneliness
  15. Loneliness – Personal Blurb
  16. My loneliness now 
  17. Alain De Botton – On Loneliness
  18. A crushing solitude
  19. How to cope with loneliness
  20. And He is Still Enough
  21. Jesus, Jaggery, Juicing and Jogging
  22. Mine Own Enemy
  23. What does your loneliness look like? An adventure in the world of Lonesomes
  24. Lifestyle: The Loneliness Of Leaving Home
  25. “Finding Who We Are” Entry #15: Loneliness Hurts…
  26. A professional cuddler explains how she cures loneliness
  27. Empowering Women
  28. 10 Things That Happen When You Get Used To Being On Your Own 
  29. Is One Really the Loneliest Number?
  30. Call to solitude
  31. Scripture of Solitude
  32. Me, On Loneliness … On Valentines Day
  33. Is One Really the Loneliest Number? Five Bloggers on the Virtues of Solitude
  34. An Elk Walks By
  35. Two Solitudes
  36. Healing in Nature
  37. Safe Place
  38. “Constructive” Criticism
  39. Invisible Light
  40. Now



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