Monday, July 20, 2015
Let's talk about loneliness
Loneliness is an issue that can be put in a mystical context. Even though it’s mystical, it has deep psychological implications.
For me, personally, the issue is not so much whether we can distract ourselves and find ways to avoid the issue of being alone, which many of us do, but the issue is really an existential one. Existential loneliness essentially means that we are alone in this world. That we’re self-contained human beings.
No matter how much you feel for another person, there’s still a boundary: I’m me and you’re you. And that, when you think about it, has a certain element of pain because it’s something that you can’t get around.
You can party all the time and you can be a happy person, but you can still feel alone. When the Temple was destroyed and the Jews were sittingshiva, their saying Aicha yoshva bodad, “How lonely it is to sit alone,” was the expression of this existential loneliness. With the Temple being destroyed, being torn away from us, we were left with a situation where you suddenly see yourself in a glaring way and you see that I’m not connected.
And that’s what I’m leading to, that loneliness is not just between you and other people. Loneliness can be between you and yourself. You can be very happy being with others and still feel lonely because you’re disconnected from yourself.
Read the full radio show transcript by Simon Jacobson here.