Meaning in the Modern World


Loneliness: A Fate We All Face

Loneliness: A Fate We All Face

Loneliness: A Fate We All Face

Confessing to feelings of Loneliness is not a done thing. Unless a person has just moved abroad or been widowed then loneliness is a shameful thing. Something no reasonable person would ever feel.

Yet being a sensitive, intelligent human will always lead to some loneliness. We are each our own private universe. Our own selves. No one will ever understand you the way you understand yourself.

All of us must face the reality that one day we will die. Others can understand us and support us, but each individual must alone face this fact.

And it is unlikely you will ever find someone who can completely understand you. We all appeared on the earth in different places and times and under different conditions. We are all unique. It is unlikely that at all times we are thinking and feeling the same things.

If we expect complete understanding, complete congruity of thoughts and action then we are setting ourselves up for failure.

Moreover there maybe little you can do to solve the problem of loneliness. The more thoughtful or educated or perceptive you become the lonelier you are likely to be. There will be less people to relate to.



It takes a lot of effort to listen and get to know another person. We should not fee surprise that others don’t always have the energy to understand us. And you don’t always have the energy to understand them in return. Much of your time and energy may lie with understanding your own self.

And we may not want to share everything. There may always be thoughts or experiences that we will never share. Either because they seem unimportant or because they seem too abnormal. Many of the ideas we have maybe strange or alarming and we worry about revealing them. Preferring to keep parts of ourselves, parts we perhaps don’t understand, locked away.

A certain amount of distance and incomprehension between two people is normal. It isn’t a sign life has gone wrong. It is what we should expect from the start. And it has the following benefits.

We can get creative. Sing, write, dance, and make connection with others with similar passions. Friends are made in books or art and dead poets and the philosophers of the past.

And loneliness can give us character. We develop opinions. We develop our uniqueness or non-conformity. One day when the time is right we may form stronger bonds than we otherwise would have.



Having people around you does not mean a lack of loneliness. Jokes and laughter will not cover for not being understood. Much need to meet and spend time with others may in fact be a cover for loneliness. Or years after the friends have moved on and the parties stopped, people will claim they were never understood. They always felt alone.

Finally, loneliness can also make us elegant and alluring. As sense of isolation is often a sign of depth. A sign of great character. And in you loneliness you find yourself in good company with philosophers, poets, writer and artists, both now and through the ages.

Suffering loneliness is better than suffering the compromises of false community. It may be the price for holding onto a sincere, ambitious view of what companionship must and could be. It may be the price for true creativity and self-reflection. Or it may just be the price of being unique.

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Loneliness: A Fate We All Face, Matt, Nov 2016


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