Loneliness and Solitude

While they share the condition of existence of being alone, no two states could be more different. They are the Janus face of being an N of one.

Loneliness is a state of lack; a missing, an unfulfilled place of fear (even of death, and the idea that we “die alone”). It’s a feeling of utter despair.

Solitude, however, is something wholly different. It’s a state of fullness. Of being complete, at peace and in harmony. While not overtly connected to others in solitude, one is nonetheless connected — at one with nature, space, time and the universe.

And, interestingly, the choice is yours. You can change from one state to another in a heartbeat. It’s as easy as flipping a switch.

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16 Responses to “Loneliness and Solitude”

  1. chronosynclasticteacosy Says:

    I think it’s possible to feel both at the same time…

  2. The Necromancer Says:

    Really, how so? I don’t see it. To me it’s one or the other, so different are they as states of mind (and even being). Even though the possibility to flux from one to the other is there. But maybe I’m being too much of a dualist about it…

  3. chronosynclasticteacosy Says:

    You can feel loneliness for a memory – someone or sometime that is gone forever – at the same time as you feel a serene solitude in/with your life at the moment. Maybe it’s the difference between time and space. You can’t really be connected to time (memory), your connection is artificial at best, but you can connect to space, in a real way. There’s a certain despair in not being able to inhabit time, to hold onto it, but it’s a relief to know you inhabit space. Maybe loneliness is the fear that you don’t exist while solitude is knowing you do…And you can feel/know both at the same time.

  4. The Necromancer Says:

    Can all these things — memory, space, time — be disassociated from one another? Isn’t memory the experience of space over given time? As to the latter, it depends on how you see it. You can’t really be connected to time as a mechanical abstraction (it’s a representation of reality, not reality itself)…But a Bergsonian time, a lived time — what he called “duration”, is actually the essence of life. Space, on the other hand, sometimes seems like nothing more than a geometric Cartesian abstraction.

    The idea that you can vacillate between doubting and certainty of existence is interesting; that may be an essential existential dilemma…

  5. chronosynclasticteacosy Says:

    Or is memory the experience of time in a given space? Doubt and certainty about all these notions is the existential seesaw.

  6. Solitude, the Gift of Rebirth. | Friend Nature Says:

    […] Loneliness and Solitude (thenecromancer.wordpress.com) […]

  7. Jeb Says:

    Bergsonian time, being a non-philosopher not come across his concept.

    Lived time “duration” and reliving the event.

    I think, absorption in the past allows for the transformation of one to the other. Don’t see them as different as the potential for becoming utterly different is always in the mix with such things.

  8. The Necromancer Says:

    @Jeb: I wonder if there’s always the potential to become utterly different. There is certainly the potential to always change, but as things go on I feel like living things become more and more “grooved” into a pattern of behavior that is increasingly difficult to alter. A young organism (man or beast) has plasticity and flexibility, but this rigidifies with age. This holds, I think, whether we are talking about minds or mitochondria.

  9. Jeb Says:

    Yes that’s true. Deep sense of loss immigrants often feel for the patterns and rhythms of the culture they have lost, for example. But for me at the moment it suggests that these emotions — grief, loss, solitude — all potentially provoke a sense of belonging and community.

    I most readily think of them as very related or can alter inflection from loss to solitude to a deep sense of belonging in a heartbeat due to the ‘grooved’ nature of being. But I am up to my neck in related material that deal with these emotions and discuss it in a particular way, so it may just be useful to classify on the hoof in this way and note relationships.

    Stuck in a particular groove in the moment.

  10. The Necromancer Says:

    @Jeb: Indeed, I think you’re right about certain emotions as a prompt (and even foundation) to community. Nostalgia, don’t forget, was an actual disease (and not just a state of mind) until the late nineteenth century. Memory may be a very important foundation of history (and thus of the construction of identity). You know Pierre Nora’s Les Lieux de la mémoire?

  11. Jeb Says:

    No not yet, but I will. Managed to skim through it, looks to be on familiar ground, will spend sometime with it. Thanks!

    P.S. with nostalgia I had forgotten despite straying across the subject.

  12. Jeb Says:

    Nora’s work is somewhat forceful. Interesting, don’t think I buy into the timeline he suggests but I suspect he is attempting to make a wider theoretical argument that has shaped the material — a first impression. Certainly makes sense need to read him in full.

    Seriously helpful suggestion!

  13. The Necromancer Says:

    @Jeb: You’re welcome. Nora’s multi-volume work sparked a new interest in the importance of memory in history. There are now many imitators.

    BTW — Are you a historian? Grad student?

  14. Jeb Says:

    Classical background in drama later history and ethnology at uni. Independent somewhat sloppy but getting back up to speed slowly.

    Informally learning psychology and neurology with some expert help at the moment in relation to my first craft and few other things related to dyslexic mind that have wider application.

  15. The Necromancer Says:

    @Jeb: Right on. Sounds appropriately eclectic.

  16. Cryptoquote Spoiler – 03/29/13 | Unclerave's Wordy Weblog Says:

    […] Loneliness and Solitude (thenecromancer.wordpress.com) […]

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