by James Park
Outline for Chapter 1:
Deeper than the Reach of Love
Loneliness for a Specific
2. Loneliness for Other People in General.
3. Existential Loneliness.
I. FIVE DIFFERENCES
INTERPERSONAL LONELINESS AND EXISTENTIAL LONELINESS
II. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE EXISTENTIALLY LONELY?
III. ATTEMPTING TO COPE WITH EXISTENTIAL LONELINESS
IV. THE AUTHENTIC RESPONSE TO EXISTENTIAL LONELINESS
V. BEYOND EXISTENTIAL LONELINESS
Loneliness is an
aching void in the center of our beings,
a deep longing to love and to be loved,
to be fully known and accepted by at least one other person.
It is a hollow, haunting sound sweeping thru our depths,
chilling our bones and causing us to shiver.
Is there a person,
anywhere, who has never felt the stab of loneliness,
who has never experienced the eerie distance of isolation and separation,
who has never suffered the pain of rejection or the loss of love?
The final rupture
or breakdown of a valued loving relationship,
the sudden death of someone who was close and special,
an unavoidable separation from a loved one
—these things strike loneliness into our hearts,
the intense experience of the absence of that specific person.
But sometimes loneliness
has no name attached.
This is the general feeling of being alone, isolated, separated from others.
And there is a third
kind of loneliness—existential loneliness—
which is even deeper and more pervasive than interpersonal loneliness.
It often disguises itself as longing for a specific person
or seems to be yearning for contact with anyone,
but this deeper lack or emptiness-of-being is not really a kind of loneliness at all.
Being together with other people—even people we intensely love—
does not overcome this deep incompleteness of being.
This inner default of selfhood has never been solved by love,
no matter how good and close and warm that love might be.
Thus, our feeling
of loneliness is not a simple experience
but a complex of three different feelings,
two of which can be solved by better relationships
(loneliness for a specific person and loneliness for people in general)
but one of which cannot be solved by love (existential loneliness).
1. Loneliness for a Specific Person.
If we have a close
loving relationship with a specific person,
we have probably experienced longing to be with that person
when we were unavoidably separated for a time.
No other person in the world can fill that special place in our hearts.
We do not want general companionship.
We want that one, unique, irreplaceable person.
This kind of loneliness is not built on fantasy or hope;
it is a definite, experienced absence of someone we love.
Chapter 1 EXISTENTIAL LONELINESS: DEEPER THAN THE REACH OF LOVE by JAMES PARK 25
If you would like to
read an online article (3 pages)
based on this chapter, go to:
Existential Loneliness: Deeper than the Reach of Love .
If you would like to
explore the concept of existential loneiness more deeply,
here is the portal to many resources on the Internet:
Existential Loneliness Portal
Go to other portals for exploring our Existential Malaise.
Go to the Existential Spirituality page.
Go to the EXISTENTIALISM page.
Go to the opening page
for this website:
An Existential Philosopher's Museum .