On loneliness



http://cobravenom.deviantart.com/art/Solitude-257479617 (photo credit)

I was invited a few weeks ago to attend as a speaker on a Psychology open debate in Ílhavo, northwest of Portugal. Unfortunately I got sick that day but I wrote a text for the conference I now wish to share and translate from its original Portuguese to you, here at blog pack. I hope you enjoy it. Hugs: Fernando



I would start by saying that as a human being I am bound to have an interest in loneliness. To put it it another words, I believe this is not purely an interest, but rather a condition, a sentiment that materializes many times and that is a part our existence from cradle to the grave. Solitude has its own presence, its own legacy, something ancient and deep but somehow always actual and dynamic.

Besides that inevitability, my perception of loneliness divides in two aspects:

  • The philosophical, at first unattached from any existentialism and born from Kant’s unsocial sociability category. That defines Men as a sensible/empiric being (functioning according the natural laws) but also as a rational being (therefore capable of subsequent moral action and mathematical thought)
  • The “contemplative” or poetic/artistic if you allow me being bold, but still under  natural laws , so to speak, the semi spontaneous tentatives of expressing solitude creatively; through the exploitation of the artistic object of others or of our own. Who knows, perhaps, having a go at “understanding” solitude through the sentiment or aesthetic judgment of Art. Finally, maybe also as expiation, when solitude is an evil stopping us from breathing.

As far as Kant goes, I believe that the phraseology of unsocial sociability is self-explainable. Above all things, Men is bound to associate, to work and to transform society as a group. But his need for solitude (that can be good, bad, natural or pathologic) it’s not a mere coincidence or a slip of the tongue. It reflects the struggle between the concepts of freedom and its moral or anarchic fruition. Between the eternal desire of self-gratification versus the true manifestation of mankind in virtuous association with the others.

As far as “the sensible” part of solitude goes, I reckon it has many grades and takes many turns, and I try to find about them the best I can. From the romantic ideals of misanthropy to the raw and vicious antisocial, there are many steps in the ladder, coping stages, therapy and an acceptance of “the rules of loneliness” which are bound to be always chaotic. As a songwriter and poet I am, for sure, very interested in this conflict. As far as a more philosophical reflection goes, I believe loneliness has, fundamentally, the value of a perspective. That it manifests different in each “case”; sensibility and mental health upon sensibility and mental health; that, after all as Kant beautifully points out, Men is his own champion and rival and that lines are mostly curvy than straight. Solitude is a sleek as a snake. Some like to hold the snake, others dread the snake. Others simply don’t care while more than a few are stranded alone without intellectual options or evident regularity mechanisms. This happens especially among old people in Portugal that are not only left alone but also devoid of the world who surrounded them and which they understood.



On loneliness

4 thoughts on “On loneliness

  1. Monique says:

    Thanks for the english translation, i was hoping for that! An instructive post, that makes you think about loneliness that’s alway’s lingering. The picture of the wolf is heartbreaking. I’ve clicked the link to see where it’s from and see that it’s made with adobe photoshop. That’s amazing!
    The wolf and the last lines in your post affected me the most. There are older people that have no companion than only their television and hardly go out anymore. It’s good to see that people get more aware of this and try to do something about it.


  2. Always fun to read your academic side!
    Loneliness is something I wish we all (as a society) took more time to think about. Mexico has a culture of high engagement and it’s difficult to actually be alone, but not at all rare to feel lonely. I also recognize the issue with old people being pushed aside. Once I met a woman who had been admitted into a care home at age 60 (not old at all!) but she felt so hopeless and forgotten. I have no idea of the family’s circumstances, if they couldn’t afford to care for her or if she had some condition for which they were not at all prepared to handle. But that didn’t help the woman’s loneliness at all.
    Are there any systems being implemented in Portugal to counter this situation you mention with old people?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s