Thursday, March 31, 2011
Usually it is uses of words, not words in themselves, that are properly called vague.
Allergies are inevitably felt more when squatting down low. Eaglehawk Neck, Tasman Peninsula. January 2011.
I heard someone claim the other day that loneliness was a crisis in fracturing and shrinking rural communities here in Australia. While I’ve not inclination to deny that, it got me thinking whether or not loneliness is easier (?) to find out in the backblocks or right at the centre of big cities.
If we define “lonely” as “being alone” (in a literal sense), than I guess – from a technical point of view – you might be more likely to suffer loneliness while stuck in the middle of nowhere than you are standing in the CBD of a big city or town.
Yet it seems to me that (literally) “being alone” has nothing to do with “loneliness”. You can be alone in a literal sense, but not at all lonely. Surely most lighthouse keepers don’t suffer from loneliness, otherwise they wouldn’t put their hand up to be lighthouse keepers.
Loneliness is surely more a state of mind rather than a state of being. You can be surrounded by people and at the same time despondent with awareness that you are ‘alone’ (in a figurative sense). Moreover, the very dissonance of having people all around you, yet still feeling ‘alone’ is likely to enhance that sense of ‘alone’, and therefore enlarge that sensation of “loneliness”.
Am I wrong to assume that the presence of others is likely to trigger a greater sense of ‘loneliness’ than the mere absence of others?