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AN ESSAY ON LONELINESS

Introduction:
Loneliness is a precious bane. It is a bane because we are social animals, born into families, needing each other in order to whole in ourselves. Loneliness is a lot of things, but it always involves being cut off from others is a deep and fundamental way and therefore also cut from ourselves. It is also precious. There may well be no such things as being totally and completely alone, but there are critically lonely times, like moral decision making, and the onset of death, when we have to seek out an befriend our loneliness in order to do the right thing, or to die gracefully.

Definition:
According to Eliot Deutsch, Loneliness is an emotional isolation based on either the loss or lack of an intimate bond or the lack of sustaining social networks which help give definition to ones identity and place in social order1 According to Wesley Wildman, Loneliness is not an alien condition thrust upon us but, indeed, a virtue in much the same sense that Love is a virtue. Loneliness is a necessary but undesirable concomitant of things we need and deeply desire2. Berrigan says of Days loneliness: Loses aplenty; a sense of being unacceptable, of living too close o the bone, too close to the Gospel text, of having ones work judge as a kind of gaffe, a sorry mistake or worse.3

The Marks of Loneliness:


Those of us with a happy family life and professional success within colleagues who are also friends, are not lonely at this first level of ordinary life, while those who are not so blessed many of the poor, the outcast, refuges, the homeless feel lonely a lot
1

Robert S. Weiss, Loneliness: The Experience of Emotional and Social isolation. (Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1973).p.115. 2 Wesley Wildman. In praise of loneliness (Indiana: University of Norte Dame press).p.15. 3 Robert S. Weiss, Loneliness: The Experience of Emotional and Social isolation. (Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1973).p.164.

of the time. There is no universal human experience, but we beg to differ. There is loneliness of some women is different from the loneliness of many men and vice versa. Loneliness is not a feeling but part of human condition. To be a human is to be lonely, in some dark and deep places which lives in us all. Loneliness is something to be accepted and ultimately to be overcome. We can counter this by saying loneliness is not primarily a feeling but a state of being to which various feelings attach themselves. It is hard to think of loneliness as a virtue because we have a bias towards the pleasant, and loneliness is not always pleasant. It is intimately connected with many other experiences, including individuation, freedom, relation, difference, change and love. Loneliness is dynamic, with a driving restless at its heart. It is not the state of being alone, which can be described without any hint of internal dynamism. It is restless aloneness, ever driving beyond itself toward action. To be a singular being is to be the progeny of loneliness, to determine ones life is to express the dynamisms of loneliness, to enter into the companionship is to explore the contours of loneliness to become overly attached to intimacy is to attempt vainly to cheat the prices of loneliness and to live and die is to illustrate the unswerving implacability of loneliness. These are the marks of loneliness.

Aloneness Vs Togetherness:
Religion is what the individual does with his own solitariness. If you are never solitary, you are never religious.4 According to Eliot Deutsch, There are two major contrasting terms which often set the framework for discussions about loneliness and solitude, namely, aloneness and togetherness5. He explains that Aloneness means a state of separation from whatever is taken by us to be the primary domains of our existence. It is often characterized as a universal condition of humankind. In simple each persons life story is unlike that of any other person. Togetherness means a state of connectedness with what ever we take to be the primary domains of existence6.

4 5

Alfred North Whitehead, Religion in the making (New York: Meridian Books, 1960), p.16. Leroy S. Rouner, Loneliness (Indiana: University of Norte Dame press,1998),p.115. 6 ibd., p.116.

Loneliness comes under aloneness, and is contrasted with belonging, which comes under togetherness. Solitude is spiritual creative state which, in its consummation, transforms loneliness and belonging into the liberating relation of communion. Alienation is the state of being shut off from what among the primary domains of our existence is perceived to be a rightful place of belonging. Whether experienced as an acute existential estrangement or as something put forward abstractly as a conception of the human condition, as in the expression, once so frequently used, the alienation of modern man7. Loneliness is essentially a social category and is experienced as a keenly felt, unwanted disengagement from others. One can be alienated without knowing it; loneliness is always an intense personal or private awareness, Loneliness is an emotional isolation based on either the loss or lack of an intimate bond or the lack of sustaining social networks which help give definition to ones identity and place in social order (as when moving to a new location or when retiring from ones occupation)8

Causes:
Universal emotion known as loneliness tells two important things. Loneliness is a reflection of the fact that each human knows that no other person can share that secret of inner self. It is also a reflection of the fact that human beings are not whole of them selves. Human being lives must be interlaced with one another if they are to be fulfilled. Thus it is said of fear is true of loneliness. It is good thing if consciously understood because it tells the truth about us. Fear breeds loneliness and conflict; loneliness and conflict breed fear. Fear of failure or fear of ridicule, or the fear of what others may think, may drive persons away from social contact and isolate the fearful; person in a special type of loneliness. To heal the world, we must give human an answer to fear and restore among them the sense of community. Sometimes human sexuality causes loneliness, when the unattractive whose needs may be great are ignored. Family tensions may produce loneliness.
7 8

Eliot Deutsch, Loneliness and Solitude (Indiana: University of Norte Dame press,1998),p116. Robert S. Weiss, Loneliness: The Experience of Emotional and Social isolation. (Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1973).

Loneliness is an unpleasant experience that occurs when a persons network of social relationships is deficient in some important way. Loneliness exists when there is a discrepancy between the needs of a person and the social contacts available to meet those needs. Loneliness is something felt by he person and relates of the degree of emotional contact one person with others. So being with a crowd of people does no mean that one stops feeling lonely. Emotional loneliness seems from the lack or absence of a close attachment. This form of loneliness stems from the absence of adequate or effective social networks. The feelings associated with this type of loneliness boredom and exclusion are not as intense as emotional loneliness.9 It would appear that it is no the number of relationships that ward of loneliness but he depth of the relationships we do have in other words, intimacy. It also seems that loneliness is linked to self esteem, anxiety, depression, shyness self consciousness and other lack of social skills that help inn forming new relationships. Anyone who has experienced loneliness is apt to be puzzled by it. It hurts so much, and yet it is not a disease. It is painful, but you cannot put your finer on any one spot hat hurts. It makes you cannot miserable all over, but it is not like a broken le. One reason loneliness is so baffling is because we have trouble defining it and even when we struggle towards a definition we find that the defining of the condition is not an explanation of it.

Loneliness in Language:10
What wisdom might reside in the English languages locating of loneliness? There is much that is lonely about word itself: 1. That there are no synonyms for lonely and this without needing to get into vexed questions about synonymy. A thesaurus will give you a synonym for sad; for lonely it gives you solitary and alone, both of which fall far short of being it synonym.

10

William Stewart, An A-Z of counselling Theory and practice (England: Nelson Thornes, 2001).p.241. Leroy S. Rouner, Loneliness (Indiana: University of Norte Dame press,1998),pp.178,179.

2. That dictionary definitions are often immediately inadequate, in that they almost all resort to these synonyms that are no synonyms since they have none of the emotional coloring, none of the plea, that lonely owns. 3. That there are no proverbs about lonely and loneliness likewise no catch phrases; and any similes or metaphors. 4. That perhaps the only rhyme for lonely is only, in one anothers arms and perhaps pockets. 5. That there is no verb; you can isolate someone but not lonely them in any shape or form. 6. That, rather as there is no opposite of disappointment there is no single straight forward opposite of loneliness opposite in the sense of not being lonely; moreover, there is no opposite in the other sense of being opposite of loneliness as foolhardiness is the opposite of courage. 7. That the languages attempts at making lonely and loneliness less alone, less lonely, and have all come to nothing. 8. That the King James translation of the Bible does not have lonely or any cognate form. (Alone, yes, and solitary and solitarily).

Biblical perspective:11
The Bible talks about the remedy for loneliness. The following are some of them. 1. The inter personal experience of agape love(1 Corinthians 13) an experience grounded in Gods love for us shown forth in Christ 2. The corporate experience of fellowship in the church, an experience grounded in God the Holy Spirit. 3. The inward experience of God, an experience which God offer us as Father. 4. Our loneliness is the God-given thirst that makes us ill-content with anything but living water.

Loneliness and Poetry:


11

James A. pike Beyond Anxiety (London: Charles Scribners Sons, 1953).p110.

For the following poem by e. e. Cummings is there to be seen but not heard, to be apprehended but not to be listened to: Within loneliness, a leaf falls. Loneliness enfolds a leaf which had once unfolded and now falls. This poem is unutterable and unvoiceable. The poem strikes some as unutterably silly, unspeakably trivial. But then it is bent upon evoking something that eludes what can be uttered or spoken.

Different Types:12
There was the loneliness of the adolescent and the need for understanding and friendship. There was the loneliness of the bereaved woman whose kill as psychologist complicated her own emotional problem. There was the existential loneliness of the young woman who was searching for the world for a lost dimension of her own being. There was the loneliness of the adopted woman who sought the missing root age of her life. There was the loneliness of the critically ill and injured person separated from the life he had known and reduced of helplessness and despair. Loneliness is characterized13 by a. Apathy b. Distress c. Emptiness as vast as a frozen wilderness d. Feeling of drifty e. Without ruder or line f. Futility g. Helplessness h. Lack of concentration i. Lack of motivation
12 13

Edgar N. Jackson, Understanding Loneliness (Londonj: SCM press,1980)p.13. William Stewart, An A-Z of counselling Theory and practice (England: Nelson Thornes,2001).p.241.

j. Over sensitivity k. Restlessness l. Suspicion m. Withdrawal n. A worn out feeling Loneliness is often precipitated14 by a. Age b. Disability c. Extreme introversion d. Infirmity e. Isolation through environment f. Isolation through loss of partner g. Over dependence h. Poor social skills i. Rigidity of personality j. Self deprecating trait k. Shyness l. Being a single parent. Loneliness may be coped with through denial. Social contact may be devalued and a refuse sought in work, social activities or addiction. The link between loneliness and depression is an important consideration15. Feeling lonely may result from knowing that one has fewer friends than other people. People who attribute being lonely to some personality deficit are likely of experience depression and pessimism. When relationships end, other than by mutual consent, the person ending the relationship is reported to experience less loneliness than the other person. The one who was dumped is very likely to feel a victim. People who have a schizoid personality disorder have treat difficulty with intimate relationships and are characteristically loners. They are often to be found in occupation
14 15

ibid, p.242. ibid., p242

where they can work in isolation. People with a paranoid personality, often experience difficulty with intimate relationships. People with social phobia are invariable lovers and lovely and as such often consider relationships to be more intimate them they actually are.

Role of Counselling:
The aim of Counselling is to help the client live with the deep loneliness that lies at the heart of existence. Counselling should not propel the client into establishing relationships that may simply be perpetuating the denial. Loneliness results from a sense of loss, a feeling that the past was better than the present. A 1990 all up poll showed that loneliness is most common among widows, separate and divorced. Over half of this group felt lonely frequently or sometimes. Compared with 29% of he married participants. Adults who had never married fell in between. According to the survey, women are more likely to be lonely than men, possible not because the genuinely have less companionship, but because the place more importance on friendship and are more willing to confess to being lonely. Loneliness is often a factor in Depression, drug addiction and alcoholism. In recent cases many studies have shown that the more connected to life individuals are he healthier mentally and physically.

Conclusion:
Loneliness is a Virtue. It is something to be overcome. It is the source of creativity. It is the agonize cry of the heart from philosophers and poets who seek to say unsay able about the agony and ecstasy of life, and the awesome unspeakable of death is a precious bane. It is an inescapable part of the human condition. It is a blessing and a curse. It is a burden of all or days and at the same time, a resource for being burden.