We Choose to Be Lonely

Posted on by jschnapp42 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


Jeff is lonely. He “did the only logical thing” and posts a flyer about it. And that’s news.

One narrative of technology is that it bridges gaps. It connects us via skype, facebook, dating services, and message boards. By calling Jeff we can express ourselves in ways we believe we can’t in person. However, this narrative is fiction.

It’s called “egocasting.” We see it best by the light of our iphone screens and our youtube channels, where we can focus entirely on the things we enjoy, none of the things we hate.

It also works with people. We used to lived in small communities and the people there were our only options. Today, it’s “so sorry, can’t talk with you, I’m listening to a podcast of people talking.” We no longer have to acknowledge the existence of others we share space with.

The end result is Jeff’s flyer and websites like Post Secret, where people “connect” through the anonymity of ones and zeroes. And we feel this is a good solution.

But the problem we solve is not loneliness, but the need to change and take a risk. We momentarily treat the symptom, when the cure is to say hello to the neighbor you’ve lived next to for years but never met. We choose to keep ourselves locked away. We don’t want to be lonely but we also don’t want to accept the reality of others. 

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3 Responses to We Choose to Be Lonely

  1. Guy Fox says:

    In any big city there are dozens of constructive ways to connect with people if that’s what you’re looking for. Jeff could have volunteered at a soup kitchen, he could have volunteered at a nursing home/hospice, or better yet, he could have volunteered at a suicide/depression hotline, where people would be calling him up to talk. What advantage does his flyer have over all of these other activities? The flyer makes him the occasion for the contact. It remains a story about Jeff. He might even be willing to listen when you call more than talk, but the kick is that you are calling him. He’s the hub, you’re the peripheral node.

    We’re perfectly happy to accept the reality of others, so long as they don’t break character and serve as mirrors rather than painters.

  2. bananarama says:

    There is know logic in hurting yourself, it’s all in your mind. I myself have gone through depression and have drawn up ways to put things in place so that it would all make sense. The thing is anything can make sense if you want it to, you just have to believe its true and use things to point in the direction you feel is right.