The Innovation of Loneliness – by Shimi Cohen

 

“We are sacrificing conversation for the sake of connection.”

While technology has obviously turned human connection into an increasingly intricate web than ever, particularly in such times of early 21st century, human beings are becoming increasingly lonely and isolated in their own worlds.

What makes it happen? Are we getting lost inside all these webs too complicating to sort them out?

We can befriend 1,000, 2,000, or even 10,000 friends online, but do we really know them? Can we really trust our feelings and emotions? Can we even engage one of them for a conversation?

Scientists have, after mathematical calculation, deducted that human beings can only get in maximum 150 persons into their own personal circles, but with the advent of online social media (and to 1.2 billion Facebook users, welcome to a brand-new world), is that reality diminishing?

Social media has enabled us to expand our horizon greater than ever, with new faces, with unexpected traits and other characteristics, appear in our lives. But, again, the existential question is: are we seeking friends, or are we ending up only seeking up connection for our own self-image?

Shimi Cohen will explore all these brilliant, thought-provoking, and ironic questions in this video, which, for those already excessively addicted to social media, will be particularly frightening.

 

 

Lonely writers

loneliness

 

 

A novelist, and also a writing teacher, contemplates back on her past, as seen from her student’s lonely attitude. Read her full story on Rabbit Room.

Excerpt:

I couldn’t, in that room full of a hundred children, run to her and throw my arms around her. And I doubted very much that she was the only one who harbored such a question in her heart. So I answered her as simply and directly as she had asked: “Yes. Yes, I was lonely. I was so shy and quiet that boys would tease me in order to see who could get me to talk. And yet in my books I found friends. As I read and wrote stories I became other people, I went on adventures, and I found out more about who I was.”

I wanted to tell her: The loneliness will end. You will find your place.

I wanted to tell her: The world is full of lonely people, and someone else is looking for the friend that only you can be.

But those are only half-truths. It would have broken my heart to speak the whole truth to her or to the nine-year-old version of myself that I saw in her eyes: You will continue to be lonely for a long time, and your loneliness is the furnace in which fine metal will be forged, and out of that place of inner fire will rise your art. For you will be a writer someday, and words will come from those places in you where speech is muffled and still.

The ups and downs of solitude

A-Sarah-Maycock-illustration

 

 

Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature. – Albert Einstein

One should not confuse the notion of solitude with that of loneliness – solitude refers to a point when one chooses to refrain from being in the center of the crowds, or merely wants to keep oneself deeply tranquil, while loneliness is perceived as an acute lack of social contact. At times, solitude can help individuals to think more calmly, to envision ideas more obviously, and to get engaged in mind games more creatively. Most authors, painters, and other artists, for instance, are notable for having utilized solitude as a means of accomplishing their magnum opus. Solitude itself, in addition, helps to reconnect a person with the inner self one aspires to discover. Hermits, monks, or any other spiritually inclined individuals, get acquainted with the nature – mostly forests – as means of achieving inner peace for themselves. 

Nevertheless, solitude itself may have its own drawback. When one clings to this concept for too long, loneliness is the consequence, frequently, that may result. He or she, upon returning to the societies, is more likely to get detached throughout the circumstances. With a significantly distinct point of view, one may find oneself alienated by the dominant sense of ‘commonness’ prevailing among majority of the individuals. Or that he or she may be entrenched in guilt for having failed to trigger them to enter their own solitude, where the inner peace rests in. Or end up disappointed by societies’ unchanging flaws. It can be anything.

John Burnside, writing for Aeon Magazine, wants us to make an equipoise, regardless of how uneasy it sounds to be, about the fundamental concept of solitude by itself. Read the full article here

Excerpt:

For many of us, solitude is tempting because it is ‘the place of purification’, as the Israeli philosopher Martin Buber called it. Our aspiration for travelling to that place might be the simple pleasure of being away, unburdened by the pettiness and corruption of the day-to-day round. For me, being alone is about staying sane in a noisy and cluttered world – I have what the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould called a ‘high solitude quotient’ — but it is also a way of opening out a creative space, to give myself a chance to be quiet enough to see or hear what happens next.

There are those who are inclined to be purely temporary dwellers in the wilderness, who don’t stay long. As soon as they are renewed by a spell of lonely contemplation, they are eager to return to the everyday fray. Meanwhile, the committed wilderness dwellers are after something more. Yet, even if contemplative solitude gives them a glimpse of the sublime (or, if they are so disposed, the divine), questions arise immediately afterwards. What now? What is the purpose of this solitude? Whom does it serve?