December 3, 2023 | Rome, Italy

Adam Lanza

By |2018-03-21T18:52:22+01:00December 15th, 2012|Essays|
The mind of a loner incubates a self-indulgent tyranny of self over self to the exclusion of all around it.

he mind of a loner is a place of infinitely private ducts and gears. It sees itself as a unit separate from anything around it. It formulates thoughts and intelligence based only on what it allows to enter and chooses to know and to prefer. It is inhospitable to anything but itself, wary of intruders, but eager in its own way to affirm the many things it has come (over time) to consider important. It may seek to communicate but only on its own terms — those of a loner — which to avoid judgment are asserted or inflicted, when and if the time comes, with unilateral ferocity.

The mind of a loner incubates a self-indulgent tyranny of self over self to the exclusion of all around it. It will carry out tasks, sometimes exceptionally well, but fail to take seriously the social context into which those tasks, and their successful completion, fit.

The mind of a loner can impose speechlessness for days at a time, particularly in the presence of potentially intrusive others, seeing the act of speaking as needless act of bridge-building between a deeply protected “in” and a hugely unstable, if not menancing, “out.”

It can celebrate reticence and anonymity as defensive weapons in a crusade against the marring penetration of others. It can produce a smile from time to time, to mislead and distract onlookers from the chaos it is engineering, or can make itself engineer, grudges made to grow. It can produce and nourish a dimension of its own complete with goals and priorities different by choice than anything around it, giving it purpose. It can know the substance of right and wrong but put them aside in favor small caprices, or larger ones if and when the time comes.

The mind of a loner believes in quixotic missions, in callings, in inspired doubt and inspired loathing. It will do anything and everything to protect itself from the hostility of correction, because it is not wrong. It knows itself as a sovereign entity that no one else can fathom, or so it believes.

The mind of a loner sees alien beings as real because it is among those beings, something apart in a dimension apart, with sounds, colors and noises only it knows to understand and act upon, landscapes it invents at its own behest, acres of mind at a time, created to keep the outlines of the imposed outer world at bay. It feels and absorbs a sure-fire sense of existence than no one else can claim, a separate but equal social aptitude.

The mind of a loner associates only with itself, and from that association comes schemes no one else would dare dream of, let alone carry out, since they’re possessed by a sincerity of purpose only the loner knows, and will never share, since it exists to negate the meaning of others.

There are many kinds of loners, and most, like me, are benign, remote, self-absorbed and seemingly at peace with the world, keeping their fluctuating inner linings to themselves (throughout my teens I wore sunglasses to high school classes and by night and spoke to few).

But there are a select few, whether in Connecticut, Texas, California, or some otherwise conventional place, that will feel slowly compelled to take all that’s been accumulated inside and impose it externally, once and evermore, so that the complexities of so much aloneness can be collectively exhaled, usually for a first and last time, almost inevitably yielding an extended moment of unprecedented frenzy that in the loner’s mind has gradually been advanced as a sweeping work of art and is carried out on an excited inside dare, so that what others see as madness is made to represent — once again in the loner’s mind — as the surest of accomplishments as well as a singular, final and definitive breakout.

About the Author:

Christopher P. Winner is a veteran American journalist and essayist who was born in Paris in 1953 and has lived in Europe for more than 30 years.