Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Loneliness

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One true thing, at least, was said by Kurt Vonnegut - that loneliness was the big problem of modern life.

People are not built to live alone, to eat alone - yet so many people do, more and more as marriage and families are avoided and destroyed against a background of secularism.

People use their wealth to live alone, to be independent of ties and hassles - they are addicted to mental isolation.

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I used to suppose that the increasing numbers of single and divorced would lead, spontaneously, to new forms of group living - to something like colleges, where people could eat together and share social activities. 

Yet if people are plagued by loneliness, neither are people built to live herded randomly in institutions - they are meant to live in organic groupings, tied by meaningful affiliations.

New forms of group living have not arisen - atomistic disintegration proceeds apace. 

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The pain of loneliness may be alleviated or blotted-out by distractions; by immersion in the mass media, by communication technologies, by the serial psychodrama of modern sexual relationships, by travel, by consumerism and fashion, by drugs - but these are analgesics: the problem remains.

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Indeed, the problem of loneliness is ultimately spiritual, not a matter of proximity to and contact with 'other people'.

The reality is that we are never alone because God is with us always; therefore loneliness is a part of our state of sin - which is why loneliness is ever-more prevalent.

Loneliness is a side effect of alienation. A society without meaning or purpose or a personal relationship between the individual and the world, is a society where loneliness is intrinsic, existential and un-assuage-able.

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