The problem of Loneliness

Loneliness is universally recognised as being part of the human condition. The emotion of sadness at being alone, can be felt, even when in the company of others.
People may spend hours brooding  about things that make them feel sad, angry or worried. Everyone feels lonely at times, but when transient loneliness becomes chronic, it is a problem  that may be damaging to health, leading to depression  and physical decline.
Since the start of the Pandemic, Society has experienced lockdowns, restricting freedom of movement and people have been unable to visit each other’s homes, unless in a “bubble”, a known contact deemed to be safe. This has led to social loneliness, which people with access to social media have sought to remedy with Zoom meetings,face time and Skype calls.
Dependent on the whims of electronic devices, people may comfort themselves with the knowledge, that their isolation will have an ending, while those experiencing emotional loneliness, may not have this, with which to look forward. They may be experiencing existential loneliness, confronting what philosophers such as Jean Paul Sartre see, as the absurdity of our existence in a meaningless world. Not surprisingly, this will lead to a great deal of anxiety.
While not feeling cosmic isolation, immigrants may miss their own countries and feel themselves to be outsiders, living in a foreign culture, leading to their cultural loneliness.
Faced with so much misery, what can be done? Self care and sharing the emotional load is the advice given on websites dealing with physical and mental health. Paul McCartney in 1966 brought loneliness to public attention with his song “Eleanor Rigby” about a woman who hid her distress from others by wearing ” a face that she keeps in a jar by the door”.  In later songs, McCartney offers words of encouragement to John Lennon’s son Julian in “Hey Jude” and he remembers the advice his mother Mary gave to him, in times of trouble, to “Let It Be”.
In 1988, Neil Diamond expressed his existential loneliness in the song “I Am I Said”, protesting the worth of his existence in an empty and uncaring universe. While we may be less eloquent than Paul McCartney and Neil Diamond, surely sharing our negative emotions is the way forward, to bring us out of Loneliness?

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