The Pursuit of the Solitary
Physical distancing and masking due to COVID-19 were initially thought to magnify isolation and loneliness. Instead, pursuits of the solitary have become socially recognized, valued, and positively appraised as engaging experiences of intense concentration. Solitude that is fostered by direct personal agency, individual choice, and commitment includes a diverse range of repetitive, self-regulating, and goal directed activities. These are theorized to constitute disciplined practices that are importantly connected to periods of cognitive and emotional self-development. These spawn positive emotions that function as ethical safeguards to the hazards of conformity.