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Man Who Avoids People Loses His Identity

We all know trying to get close to people is difficult. We can get hurt. Sometimes it’s tempting to just withdraw. But that can create even worse problems. That’s what Christopher Knight found out.

Back in 1990 at the age of 20, he walked into rural Maine with only the most basic supplies. He had no plan. His chief motivation was to avoid contact with people. He finally emerged in 2017, 27 years later. He had been arrested for stealing from cabins where he was living. In an interview about his decades-long solitary experience, he said:

It’s complicated … Solitude bestows an increase in something valuable. I can’t dismiss that idea. Solitude increased my perception. But here’s the tricky thing: when I applied my increased perception to myself, I lost my identity. There was no audience, no one to perform for. There was no need to find myself. I became irrelevant.

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