The isolationist is in a dangerous place. He seeks his own desire, not the benefit of others. He doesn’t listen to sound judgment. He “takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (v2). The picture here not only defines one who is a loner, but also one who is anti-social despite remaining interactive with others. Such a person may allow what seems like a dialogue at times, but in the end, he only hears a monologue because he only hears what he wants to hear: himself.
Solomon’s warning against such rugged individualism could not be more pertinent for our time. Generations removed and miles away from Proverbs’ original writing, our culture is perhaps the greatest victim of individualistic thinking in the history of the world. Modern, western society prizes the “do it yourself” way of thinking; we are told not to care what other people think, to keep our opinions to ourselves (especially if they are grounded in absolute truth), and to do whatever it takes to reach our goals, even if it means stepping on others along the way. No wonder marketers are so successful at reaching the biggest idols in our lives: ourselves.
More tragic than the individualism of society is the way this worldly philosophy has infiltrated the church. The church’s capitulation to rugged individualism is perhaps one of the greatest blemished on her today. Professing Christians isolate themselves from the regular fellowship without giving much thought to their actions (or inactions). The church is often seen as an optional blessing, but certainly not a necessity.