What is loneliness?
The phenomena of loneliness is not entirely within physical proximity; it concerns the proximity of the spirit. It begins with a misalignment of the content of one’s communal vitality in the context of self-values. The lonely do not suffer simply from lack of contact, it is the lack of a shared understanding of what is important in one’s life. It is comprised of other people not valuing the same things you value. If one finds themselves surrounded by others operating under different ideals, concentrating on separated mores, aiming their attention at dissimilar interests — then the feeling becomes pervasive, it becomes a loneliness of an existential nature.
As much as we might pursue it, the fires of alienation cannot be put out into escapism. In all its various forms and modalities, fantasies are forever temporary. These unguided realms are built inside of addictive illusions which all too often serve to amplify solitude. Why is it so all-consuming, so exhausting to entertain oneself? Why can’t we keep our own selves occupied with the worlds we create? Why can’t we be enough? The life you imagine for yourself here isn’t quite enough; it never will be and we’ve always known it.
After a spell, we release from these games and visions, driving towards renewed social animation. But when we arrive, something is amiss. The conditions uncertain, the conversation is less than expected; there is a recurrence of energy into restlessness. You are here and time is passing you by. No matter how many words you cast forth, or thoughts you invest — there’s still a void. These people are not for you, you now know. And in spending time alongside an impatient & unsympathetic personage there is no saving water, only more oxygen for the flames to burn with. This lack of understanding is also a two-way street, and when it is reciprocated, and we find ourselves witnessing the relative happiness of the outside populace — the damning feelings of loneliness are intensified. For where does the inherent experience of personal discontent spawn, then from our own (often misguided) assumptions of the content of others’ apparently fulfilled experiences relative to our own?
This estrangement of the soul can cut so deep that no developments can alter its condemning long-term effects, save for the presence of an enlightened & empathic audience at some point during the journey. This form of relationship is no easy find. To discover the other(s), the kindred spirits of our souls, is no promised encounter. If we could only each be delivered such a person in this life, such needless suffering could be prevented and the souls of the lonely duly repaired in due time. Even the most introverted solitude-seeking misanthrope desperately seeks such a companion as this. Everyone should understand this inherent truth — no one wants to be alone. Sometimes solitude is necessary, a reprieve from the rigors of the social sphere. But one way or another, it’s a compulsion and not a strategy. True loneliness, an empty soul, is no desired endgame, for anyone.
The hope is that such moments are fleeting. Eventually, we return to the world, and to some form of fulfillment, in whichever scale we can find it, within whichever medium. What more could one want in this life than to have someone listen to the music of your heart’s beating, catch the tune with pleasure, and dance with the commensurate enthusiasm to discover more of the song?
Often it can feel as though all existence is a battle to feel less lonely. This struggle we find ourselves in, to exist, is inescapably an exercise in resistance. Resistance against entropy, and against the increasingly dreadful circumstances of this existential solitude we keep finding ourselves within. We want to be less like we currently are, so counter to what we know — that we can go temporarily mad in the effort. We all experience it, at some point and in some degree. And this battle, like the one waged on mortality, could not be won. This fact is known to each combatant. We are born alone, we die alone. Yet this ‘futile’ resistance is anything but. Living well among others — as friends, lovers, family — is strived for endlessly, it compels one unto his or her final days. The interconnectivity of our social circles and tribes brings intrinsic meaning to the forefront of our experiences. We wish for something greater than the sum of its parts to be built in these intentional interactions and exchanges among kin and lovers. We want to be filled with the comfort & warmth of love as is produced in meaningful relationships, as long as can be. Once attained, perhaps it will not last; and yet, perhaps its transience amplifies everything that it can be.
The lonely are to be solaced and embraced. Because they are us, we walk alongside them everyday. We seek the same objective in our strides. We want to be less invisible, less dreadful, more fully understood and experienced by those we try to love. Is this too much to ask? The answer to our endless inquiry lies within the expansion of our realms unguided, untested, and uninitiated. To self-actualize, we must venture to the very places our psyche has most forbidden. And in this truth, the vanguard of our efforts is blasted back, in repetition. The least confident must overcome the illusory failures of social efficacy. So much of our problems are subconsciously self-imposed, created in the crucible of doubtful and cynic-laced realism spanning years of a history constantly relived. In ignorance of our own dreamed-of potential, we unknowingly accelerate our own entropic development into darker pathways. We stop trying, for fear of yet another imagined failure. We imprison ourselves with hesitation, doubting progress unto its full realization. We have to keep finding the energy to return, drawing from an already starving well. It’s hard work we have to find a reason to do.
And yet, does this experience better us? Might there be a silver lining on reality’s razor here? In the realms of envisioned experiences, perhaps the darkness has prepared us for the coming of the light. Its glow will now so fully expel us from the depressions and pains tenfold what it might’ve if we had never ventured into the shadow. A hypothesis, only. But the valley and mountain seem to develop in reciprocation. And in the lows of loneliness, perhaps we have cleared the way, laid the groundwork, readied the chariots — for an eternally mindful appreciation of the eventual treads of a beneficent destiny.
For the sake of the lonely, for our sake, one must hope. ~