Reviewing ‘This Exquisite Loneliness’ by Richard Deming and ‘How to Know a Person’ by David Brooks
Joel, thanks for this wonderful review. As an introvert and cerebral individual, I have a love hate relationship with loneliness, the internet, etc... There are definitely times I prefer to be alone but the internet has also provide forums (such as this one) where people of shared interests can congregate. I have not read either of these but adding them to my list.
"Familiarity doesn’t breed contempt so much as inattention and neglect. We focus on only the bad, and insist people prove the good from scratch as if their own lives didn’t already testify to the upside."
There's a lot of wisdom in that statement. I'm going to try to keep it in mind as go about my day today.
Thanks as always for making me think!
I've written about my own struggles with loneliness, which I believe are echoes from childhood loneliness. Now, I am objectively not lonely at all, but still those echoes come every now and then.
I worry, however, that acceptance of lonely anguish as a shared human condition can be self-defeating. Shouldn't we combat our loneliness by connecting with people around a shared interest rather than a shared unhappiness?
I've never been in a room, whether crowded or empty, that I didn't feel lonely in. I'm definitely going to have to pick up a copy This Exquisitie Loneliness...but I should aos get a copy of How to Know a Person too.
I’m not choosing loneliness. However, I am often lonely. Meaningful relationships are highly valued and rarely found. There is a sense of a profound separation of consciousness. The loneliness is unbearable at times. I can distinguish between solitude and loneliness and solitude is sublime and cherished. Ultimately, I’ve been unwilling to exchange connection for companionship. As I’m writing this, I’m wondering if I’ve been looking for authenticity and been unable or unwilling to be authentic myself. I’m hopeful and I remain open to new relationships.
I am on the same page as Matthew. But i do feel we all look inwards too much. I would suggest some volunteer work, when you see others overcoming odds it puts things in perspective. Life is about others, not just me. Hard to say and follow as an introvert who enjoys a lot of quiet and interact only on a one to one basis:). Great article. Many pauses fir thought from it
I think that one contributing factor to loneliness can be found at the societal level, in terms of the common values and themes a particular society practices and that it views as a cultural norm. Specifically, it depends on whether or not that particular society in question values the wellbeing and priorities of the whole of society in general over the individual rights and freedoms.
I feel that societies that place more emphasis on the wellbeing of the whole of society, rather than individual desires and wants, will tend to nurture citizens who're naturally inclined to cooperate and work with one another to solve certain issues, or to pursue certain goals.
Whereas for societies that place more emphasis on the individual's rights and personal freedoms, will tend to nurture citizens who're more focused on themselves, and their personal ambitions and careers.....with less consideration towards the wellbeing or 'greater good' of the whole of society......and thus may not be naturally inclined to interact and collaborate with other citizens, in terms of both general socialization or addressing social issues.
It would seem that in general, Western societies place more emphasis on individual rights and freedoms over the greater good of society, whereas the reverse is true for Eastern societies.
I think that ultimately, a healthy balance between these two aspects are required for a society as well as its individual citizens to thrive and progress. Such a healthy balance in a society would definitely help foster a sense of community and togetherness within its citizens, thus reducing the risk of experiencing such loneliness and feel disconnected.
Thanks for these well expressed reviews. The loneliness and tribal
(“Political “) epidemic is basic to everyone’s well being and this country’s survival.