The paroxysm of loneliness when you are surrounded by people is phony poignancy. Like seeing a picture of a cat and clicking on a blog post. Loneliness is not your relationship with people. It’s your relationship with yourself. And maybe you are just boring.
Loneliness used to be the sovereignty of existence. Now it’s an Internet phenomenon. What we now call loneliness is dependency, a need for attention. Sounds like we just reinvented marriage. And in its current form, loneliness resembles an overflowing garbage dump, what the Internet calls Facebook.
Social media is responsible for your loneliness the same way feminism is responsible for your pubic hair. If your kid took a shit on the floor and covered it with a rug, are you going to be mad at the rug? Or the fact that your kid’s 16?
The Internet isn’t the cause for loneliness. It’s a cover-up. We were given a magic carpet and instead of sailing through the winds of collective human imagination; we are using it to cover up our collective insanity.
We all get lonely. It’s how artists are made, and on a totally unrelated note, according to one men’s health magazine, it’s normal to get lonely once every week.
But like every useful feeling, we have rejected loneliness and made it look like the serial killer’s path to work. You know, pretty much what we did with religion. We are a century that shits on both happiness and sadness, on positivity and pessimism, on marriage and break-ups, on religion and progress. If the Internet has taught us anything, it’s that we love to hate, what post-modernism still insists on calling irony.
Why not call it what it is: fear of loneliness.
You can use this fear to make you strong, self-possessed, or you can use it to tear you up with addictions and stitch you up with self-pity. What are habits but fear of scars?
All along, we’ve been told relationships are about being there for one another. You know that’s some high-quality bullshit because we’ve learned to fake it. It’s why it feels like we are lonelier than ever, staring into screens sitting next to one another, when we should be holding hands, comfortable in each other’s solitude. The strength of a relationship is being there in each other’s loneliness. Try faking that.
Loneliness is life’s language. Our failure is not that we don’t understand, it’s that we don’t listen. Instead, we invent capitalistic alternatives: Enlightenment, actualization, aloneness.
The difference between loneliness and aloneness is as useless as the difference between spirituality and religion, between love and unconditional love. The path to God passes through you. It’s just that you are never alone.
To love, as is to pray, is to be lonely.