By P Chong Monday, 28 December 2009
Loneliness would aptly apply to people without friends or company – a sort of solitude by nature or circumstances. Despite having the ease of modern communication to connect with people & with each other, more & more people are falling into the trap of loneliness. This I would term as “an abstract poverty”.
Fans of Elvis Priestley would know the tune “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” Yes, I am afraid many are & this spell of loneliness or lonesomeness cut across all economic divide, race, creed or sex. Some people just find it hard to reach out for the phone even to talk to somebody. Others may even be lonely in a group . . . harbouring fear & inhibition of reaching out to people . . . unable to trust others . . . incapable of interacting . . . feeling secluded, isolated, unwanted & lonely. This is indeed a serious indictment, a real social issue which ultimately lead on to health problems.
Ever feel dejected in a party, like a fish out of water and just dying to get out of the place in a jiffy? Loneliness breeds a host of problems: social awkwardness or shyness, emotional strain & stress, suicidal tendency, reclusiveness, unfriendliness among others. How can this come about when making friends is just like smiling or merely extending a hand for a warm handshake? Struggle of this nature often accentuates the loneliness.
I believe the nature of the person has much to do with the resultant social behaviour. Some people just can’t accept dejection, as with a friend of ours, who because of love dejection jumped from a high floor of the building where the ex-lover worked. Things can really get out of hand, mind confused, and the life of a perfectly healthy lady was lost because of loneliness & dejection.
In another extreme, I have known of men driven to brutality & murder on ground of dejection. Emotion is a strong force, uncontrollable at times, and for the likes of them many are instituted. As a board member of the visiting board to a mental institution in Malaysia, I have witnessed many sad cases of perfectly healthy young men & women in confinement.
Crisis of loneliness can be attributed to three statistical “Ds” – death, divorce & deferred marriage. The last category is becoming more rampant with feminism drive, individual freedom & independence, especially in highly developed economics, for which even Singapore is famous for. Over there in Singapore, with the trend of social status & security, the fear of being unequally yoked, ladies are entrapping themselves in the loneliness enclave.
A sudden or unexpected demise of a spouse is often hard to bear. The years of companionship are irreplaceable, & from grieving ultimately to loneliness. Others through incompatibility, the selfish need for change, excitement or adventure, by choice find themselves in the divorce courts. Whatever justifications may be unfolded, the underlying cause of all this is self-centredness or gross individualism. Have you ever thought of this that “I” interestingly & symbolically is always spelt with a capital letter . . . meaning Individualistic, Independent & Idiosyncratic. Whatever happened to the traditional value of commitment & attachment?
In this fast changing world, it would be difficult to implement the basic fundamental solution to our social ills & ailments. People would generally chose the easy option of quitting rather than working it out.
God’s basic commandment is “Love”, but the price tag of it is switched upside down in our modern day living. The first great commandment of God is, as Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” and the second great commandment is: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself”. (Matthew 22: 37-39).
3 thoughts on “Loneliness – An Abstract Poverty”
Paul, this is a nice piece on loneliness, which I also feel is widespread, especially in modern, so-called “civilized” societies. There is one other cause I would like to address for loneliness, and that is the separation of humans from their own hearts. I believe the truest, deepest, and most severe form of loneliness is that very separation. Until humans find their way “home” – back to their own source that lies deep within – they will always be yearning and longing at a deep level, sometimes deeper than words can convey, to be re-connected to their birthright.
Keep up the good work … it makes us think about important issues..
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