Unfortunately, Philoctetes' talents led him down the path of war (Lloyd-Jones, 1994). He was a witness and participant to bloodshed, plunder and rape. Eventually, he became so disgusted with himself that he decided to punish himself for his sins by allowing a poisonous snake to bite him. As a result, he was shipped off to the isolated island of Lemnos, where he was physically isolated from the rest of the world for nine years. During this time, all he could do was think about his life and his crimes, which was sort of a self-punishment for his sinful existence.
I think that this type of physical isolation can be very damaging to a person. Today, many prisoners are kept in solitary confinement for days, completely cut off from all social activities and human contact. Isolation in prison means 23 hours a day in a concrete cell no larger than a bathroom. One hour a day is spent alone in a small concrete room. Most inmates held in solitary confinement have no contact with the outside world other than mail.
This is unhealthy, as people need to feel like they are a part of something. Most people would agree that, at time, they crave solitude. However, most would agree that too much solitude can cause depression, anxiety, and perhaps even make one feel crazy. Without social contact, human beings are likely...
Like Philoctetes, people in solitary confinement are likely to start questioning their existence and obsessing over the actions in their lives. Everyone needs some social interaction to keep them satisfied, stable, and sane, as human beings are social beings by nature.
Prisoner advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch have asked the government to end long-term isolation, arguing that it may make inmates more violent and render them unable to rejoin society (Sullivan, 2006). However, prison officials and correctional officers say isolation units are necessary, as the people who are sent to solitary confinement pose a threat to themselves, guards, and other people in the prison.
To a lesser degree, people experience more isolation in communities where the closest neighbors are very far away. Without a nearby neighbor, there are many benefits to one's quality of life. For example, one has carte blanch to do whatever one wants without interference. However, the negative side is that there is no sense of community and no one to talk to or ask for help when needed. People feel alone and may start to experience feelings of depression or separation. As a result, their lives and personalities may change for the worse.
Isolation causes mental distress, and the stigma and social exclusion linked to mental health problems can make isolation worse, according to MIND. This self-reinforcing cycle condemns people to a life of social segregation. In the philosophical stories, the profound impact of isolation was clear. And today, it appears that this impact is as strong as ever.
Kaufmann, Walter. (1992). Tragedy and Philosophy. Princeton University Press.
T.C. Brickhouse and N.D. Smith (1989). Socrates on Trial. Waterhouse Press.
Lloyd-Jones, H. (1994). Sophocles II. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
MIND. (2007). Not Alone? Retrieved from the Internet at http://www.mind.org.uk/About%2BMind/Mind%2Bweek/isolationsummary.htm.
Sullivan, Laura. (July, 2006). In U.S. Prisons, Thousands Spend Years in Isolation. National Public Radio.
Daru is still trying to cling to a sense of morality; yet, the Arab himself shows how this will not work in a world of uncertainty because after he is set free, he goes to the police station himself. James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" Topic 6 James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" is an interesting tale of a lost soul, who finds his solace and ability to express himself through the art of music.
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