The word was once, alienated. Now individuals are lonely. Wisecrackers and smart guys figure loneliness is society’s problem. Let’s make money. The United Kingdom has a Minister of Loneliness. They are wrong. The appropriate word is disaffected, and each person is alone.
If an individual is lonely today – media; cable TV; music everywhere; books and libraries; families; social, political and cultural groups catering to all causes, stamps and ilks; telephones; computers; and social platforms, religions, faiths and belief systems to follow or create – than that human being is not trying.
The basic problem becomes, can any person entertain her or him self?
Lonely persons in ill-health, physically or mentally, or are handicapped are less capable. Some might abuse alcohol or drugs; or they are like Alice, one pill makes them bigger and the other makes them small; not all humans like the lingering haze of THC and what it does to company.
Lonely people might have just left a job or are retired. They know nothing of life but work and fellow employees. Perhaps they have never heard or heard anything except they themselves are right and righteous. Finally some might now fear other human beings, whom they consider enemies: Consider the trash man who has seen the worst of society.
So what is loneliness today? Having 5,000 friends on Facebook and trying to respond to 50 people might take two weeks – hopelessness of reaching everyone and explaining X. Does anyone truly care? How come no one responds? Each friend has 5,000 friends of her own to respond to. People in this predicament are like attendees at a wedding in the scrum to catch the bridal bouquet. An individual gets a quarter of the flowers, along with pedals and other plant composition. What good are the thorns on a rose stem?
Some famous people and well-known individuals, exposed on social media, have announced they are going dark. The end. After 2015 Kelly Evans of CNBC made that announcement. Perhaps the best way to reach Kelly Evans is by letter delivered by the United States Postal Service – stamp (now 55 cents – two quarters and a nickel for new-school devotees), an envelope, a written address, and some form of return address delivered by a mail carrier to a street address. Old-school, they say. Come out and play.
Is the ability to reach three billion people in the world and become known raise the worrisome issue of loneliness? Over exposure to the masses is not a situation most individuals are prepared for, or like. Individuals cherish isolation. Human beings cling to what is familiar and friendly, sensations that comfort and warm. Does anyone ever wonder why any individual remains and lives in Barstow, California? The cultural center is the McDonalds attached to a few railroad cars converted into shops selling sundries and T-shirts and doubling as a bus stop. A gas station is across the main drag, next to the Freeway off/on-ramp. The biggest thing around is the San Andres Fault, 50 miles away.
It seems isolated, but most human beings like what familiarity delivers: Security. What is known become secure. What is routine becomes predictable. What seems certain and simple become truth. Why wonder? Why ask why? Curiosity is something to overcome, put away and reject. The imagination is fiction and dreams, the fake and the fancy of childhood. So at twenty years of age, human beings may have in place the ingredients to stop living.
Like all other animals human beings feel good being on solid ground, accepting set rules and going forward from there, rather than swimming in a swamp, or stepping into quicksand. This great divide separates home versus taking risks.
On its own communication becomes preposterous because the current length and style confine a tweet or text to a 50-word unit. Emails are short. Oft times one has not seen the person for two years or more. Nothing has changed in those years – life is the same, experiences are the same, human beings have not grown, no sense of living and doing, accomplishment, failure, struggle and solutions. Every person is the same, samo-samo. Time stands still as in The Lord of the Flies: Boys on the island for months maintain all physical, mental, spiritual abilities and relationships as when they were together in boarding school, or wherever. The in-group kills Piggy. Life on earth is always static. Put and keep the best face forward despite the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. A person can be in luxury or comfort and live a sheltered, rote, routine existence and wonder why life is not satisfying. Hamlet is no longer amongst us.
Will Rogers reacted to persons recommending a facelift: “I want the world to know why I look this way.” It was similar to Abraham Lincoln’s response to his being two-faced during the 1860 campaign for President: “If I had another face, do you think I would use this one?”
Which age of life do curiosity and imagination leave human beings? Two aspects – one regarding one’s own personal outlook, no self-reflection, and the second, looking at the world including human beings around us. The Second: Each of us has observed friends, acquaintances and souls who are or who have checked out no matter their ages. The ardent sports fan might be unable to tell which teams are on the field, who the players are and the sorts of plays. Those persons may be unable to recount a play or a situation. Indeed, some of those fans aren’t unable to comprehend the game without the noise of the crowd on TV. It is why the Whistle Guy, a New Orleans fan, was so annoying. Alert: Whistle Guy was why pass interference was not called against the Rams. The Rams won the trip to the Super Bowl.
Good Luck, Rams. Boston Red Sox versus LA Dodgers. No Babe Ruth. SOX.
Pats versus the Rams. Brady versus The Brady Bunch. PATS.
I know someone, somewhere wants to punch me in the nose for writing these sentences. They aren’t politically correct. Offend someone: I won’t watch because I don’t want to hear the announcers chat between themselves rather than describe the game to viewers. Plus there are loads of advertisements. No one comments about the commercials. There is humor and honesty when someone can present an alternative, cogent reality or faith. However, they are not present during the Super Bowl.
Next are grandparents in their Sixties and older. Many cannot shut up about their grandchildren, primarily because they have forgotten the lives of their own children or have rid themselves of recollections of their own lives. What happens to a young child may seem new and strange, but truly it is close to what was experienced by previous generations. Any grandparent may not feel alone if memory recalls the similarity between their own lives and what the runts, generic off spring are going and experiencing.
Many people my age, and many younger and lots older, have forgotten that humor – not comedy – plus a sense of ridiculous boost hope throughout society. Human folly. Everyone with a family knows nothing in life is perfect; indeed, nothing turns out perfect. Laugh or cry. Drollness is a good response to occurrences in life and society. The best any individual can expect is a sense of fairness. Old people know this. Young people must struggle with it; they must fight for perfection – it is the glory of being young, enthusiastic and somewhat ignorant and naive. The triumph of youth is sometimes blessed: James Madison was 37 years old when the Constitution was ratified in 1788. He had worked seven years getting a governing document accepted. Off the bad in human behavior Madison took opportunities to exploit the good.
In society Americans are offended. Don’t judge me. Don’t be judgmental. Americans are wrong. Yet, they are revealing they watch too many law programs: Perry Mason gone wild, now Law and Order. There’s no evidence. I have issues. That’s hearsay. I did nothing wrong. Prove it. I’m innocent. You’re judging me. Other legal words and phrases have crept into the American vernacular and are used to ward off preconceived criticisms or to avoid conversation.
Any friend is not judging. At best he is a juror and mostly works on impressions. Issues are problems sometimes revealing mental illnesses. No one can live life bound by rules of evidence – Just the facts, Madame. All human interaction would be frozen by evidence. Hearsay is inadmissible but is frequently true. Human beings infer, feel, suppose, believe and wonder. Every claim to be innocent – innocent until proven guilty – misstates the legal principle: Not guilty until proven guilty. The legal principle is closer to reality, because everyone is guilty: …He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone…(John 8:7)
If Americans remain defensive about everything, we are a sorry set of human beings, each an over sensitive crybaby. Our society is odd, foreign and idiotic; it is incomprehensible. Is it all right to be discriminating, or judgmental? Food, stores, clothes, personal hygiene. music, movies, sports teams, games, sports teams, music, cars, etc. Americans make choices, express opinions, have likes and dislikes (thumbs up or down, emojis with a smile or a frown), vote with dollars, and favor many things over others which might be beneficial or a waste of time: Global warming, (climate change, or new term} and pollution need a stronger push and better arguments to be accepted by persons other than benevolent enthusiasts.
What is the difference between making choices and being discriminating and being offensive when doing your own thing or making comments about behaviors and attitudes that offend, are gross or arise from curiosity? Most people do not make the distinctions. They say nothing; they end friendships; they are silent; they become isolated. Ideas offend or an individual’s behavior can be entertaining: Comments say more about the person making them than the recipient. Americans do not always believe adverse words carry benefit or are funny. Is any comment accurate or true? An individual should evaluate. Should an American have to reflect on comments? Yes, we are human beings. Someone on Facebook told me I wasn’t part of the Twenty-First Century because I didn’t smoke marijuana. I’m taking that comment to the bank. Should Americans distrust that which is perceived to be criticism? The immediate reaction is do the macho thing, make fools of defending oneself in all circumstances, and lose: Americans should be celebrate the manifestation of human diversity, opinion and folly, and recognize all that in ourselves.
An unquestioning mindset over decades separates thousands of individuals from more wondering human beings. There is security in isolation – I’m right; no one else tells me otherwise. That person may as well be living in Barstow, California. What anyone says reveals deficiencies: Spout cliches and dated ideas, like the person has lived on that island with boys and none had changed. What does any human being think now, about existence, life or the news, rather than events 40 years ago? Who to talk to? How to entertain oneself? Cable TV, Doctor Phil. Change the channel to Judge Judy. Think TV was once better? Indeed, did Edward R. Murrow ever ask anyone he interviewed: “How did you feel?” Eventually most human beings want society after fifty years of confined, narrow thinking. How to break out? Human beings lose the ability to socialize. It is why principle topics that emotionally come to people – religion and politics – are forbidden subjects in many retirement homes.
It is all education of a lifetime, not lessons of don’t judge, don’t question. Show no curiosity. Misunderstandings reveal weakness. Show ignorance, never! Listen to the exotic and believe it automatically. However being stupid and curious is fun, inspiring and harmless: A supernova produces energy, radiation and light. I’ve never heard anyone ask an expert whether any sound or noise is emitted from a supernova which humans have detected, or whether it exists at all. [If a tree falls in the forest and no person is there, is there noise?] It seems absurd that noise would come from an exploding supernova a billion light years away! Perhaps it is the sound and sight of deity.
Finally, laugh. Laugh at yourself/ Follow Herman Melville’s advice in Moby Dick, Chapter 5:
A good laugh is a mighty good thing, and rather too scare a good thing: the more’s the pity. So, if any one man, in his own proper person, afford stuff for a good joke to anybody, let him not be backward, but let him cheerfully allow himself to spend and be spent on that way. And the man that has anything bountifully laughable about him, be sure there is more in that man than you perhaps think for.
And there is nothing more pleasing and refreshing than a human being who is honest, frank and well-balanced, willing to admit what was once stupid, miscalculated and a jump into the abyss. That human being has learned, knows honesty, become conscious of the world and fellow beings, and is comfortable giving lessons, relaying experiences and telling stories. What all human life is, nothing is perfect: Mistakes, regrets and blunders speckle our lives. There is humor, irony, joy or love in all that.