About loneliness and sociality

About loneliness and sociality

So K. didn’t message you. No matter if you went to sleep. In any case, nothing would have happened. However, it matters that he didn’t text. It matters as well that the first thought or feeling of your day was to know that he didn’t text you. Because it actually doesn’t matter so much. However, it does matter the fact that you checked it, realized, and recognized it. But well, you can keep this lesson for the future, to know who are your friends and who are not. In case you have any.

You can consider the levels of solitude that you have by living wherever you live with simple questions. “Who can you call or message when something like this happened?” 

It was always your strategy. To be alone, to move alone, to go fast, to jump from people to people, to not belonging to any specific group. Thus, any of those social structures that, from your point of view, were slowing down your progress, your movement forwards were not a problem anymore. However, inertia stops every time you don’t have anyone to go with, or you don’t have people around you, not even for parties. You may think that you are a very picky person, and thus, you don’t mingle with anyone. Nevertheless, you could start considering to mingle with more people.

Work in your openers, work in your closings. And more than focusing only on certain type of people, focus on beings. Focus on potential long-term relationships. Because we all know when things start, but we tend to forget quite easily that we cannot know when they will finish.

Figure out what you want to do with your free times in the evenings. Which sports? In which ways? A collective sport can give you a social network, while an individual sport may isolate you even more.

But being alone is just another sensation. Another Anitya [essential Buddhist doctrine of Impermanence]. For many people, it is clearly a surprise that I spend so much time alone when I am actually a quite social person. But it is what it is, and it is partly what this society has told us. Or at least me, or what I have learned from society.

I cannot blame society for what I have learned. Society has also shown us to be gregarious, to belong to big groups, and to develop camaraderie. But my mind, my thoughts, and my being found in these the seed of brutality, the catastrophes of war, and the attacks of masses towards individuals, in the metaphoric and literal way. However, I have always observed and thought that the individual was a source of enlightenment and progress. The hardworking intelligent individual, able to sacrifice his sociability for the development of his work, for the improvement of society. Scientists, artists, thinkers… After all, although I was attracted to Sociology, when I had to choose a degree I selected the more individualistic Psychology.

Maybe the mistake was to fall in love with Social Psychology but skip Group Psychology. So, I couldn’t learn as much as I wanted, or needed. So, I was left handicapped in that sub-field that, like the rest of the psychological aspects of human beings, I never quite understood completely. That is probably the situation. My lack of knowledge about Group Psychology. That is why, I am kinda okay at one-on-one relationships (although, I start doubting about that as well), and I am not really good at groups.

I never wanted to be a leader.

I always thought and believed that we should become our own leaders.

At least, that is the lecture that I have learned from modern thinkers. We have to be independent, we have to realize our infinite powers inside and develop them to the utmost. However, at some point, I realized the fundamental importance of interdependence for survival and thriving. It is not the individual the one that survives, but the group that best learns how to cooperate. The group that put all its service in action towards its individuals, towards its components, towards its part. (Individuals or group: Welcome to many conflicts and dilemmas.)

So, that is maybe the step I am missing. The lost piece in the puzzle of my personality. I have to put my resources, my services for the group to use them. In this case, the biggest possible group: human beings, humankind. Once I start giving away what I have, I will feel better, I will feel more released, more at peace, more complete, and more included. I will not feel the limitations of being so deep in my life, so constrained in my daily elapsing. I will be actively participating in my group. In a group that I want to identify with: humankind, human species.

Even further, I want to feel included in the group of living beings. Another step forward. If I am with an animal, I may not feel so lonely. It could be considered as a pseudo-social relationship. However, I prefer to call it an inter-species social relationship. We are animals we like it or not.

Sociality lies in the level of identification of myself as an equal with the other being. A kid that makes a relationship with a teddy bear, is making a pseudo-social relationship as long as he doesn’t consider himself as an equal to the object. However, to the point the kid is generating a bonding with the object and its quality, we can assume that a certain degree of sociality is present in the relationship. Thus, we could define the relationship as an object-subject social relationship. However, for the kid is something else, since the object is not inanimate as a rock, but with a great inner world only accessible to the kid’s imagination. The kid may know that the teddy bear is not equal, but the way he relates to it is not as if it was another object. The kid is assuming a certain level of consciousness to the teddy bear. And that consciousness and the identification of the shared qualities of the teddy with the qualities consciousness of the kid make the relationship social.

Equality between beings is given by how the rest of the world, the environment, interacts with them. An invisible friend, like the teddy, has an inner world of feelings and thoughts as broad and extensive as the invisible friend creator’s. However, during the interactions of the world with the invisible friend, the creator has to verbalize its desires and needs, besides avoiding conflicts with those that cannot interact with it. Thus, the real person (the creator, the intermediary) can point out the place and state of being (mood, opinions, attitude, values) that the imaginary friend is having at a specific time. So, that makes it an inter-beings social relationship (as much as the invisible friend is considered as a being). Similarly, bonding with a teddy is an inter-being social relationship. As it is bonding with a pet, or bonding with a human.

Unlike teddies and invisible friends, animals can express themselves without the need of an intermediary. However, the sensitivity of certain people can help facilitate their communication with the rest of the world. These people are the owners of the pet, or professionals specialized in animal behavior. It is quite easy for everyone, no matter the level of sensitivity, to notice when a dog is angry, or when a cat is relaxed. However, there is a range of more subtle sensations that had to be understood and discovered through experience, and training. This means, that the being has the potentiality of expressing itself, of speaking up and interacting with its environment and the rest of the social world by itself. This mindset remarks that it is us the ones that are not sensitive enough to understand them, to understand the rest of beings, the rest of consciousness, the rest of the elements in our surroundings.

The debate can get quite big now. Beings, like plants, are rarely considered as part of social relationships. However, they could be considered object-subject social relationships. But scientifically, they are very alive. So, like in the case of dogs, we are in inter-species social relationships with them. (Food for thought: Is a stone alive? Is the planet alive? Is the universe alive? Does Anitya mean life?)

The communicative limitations of beings make us consider our relationships with them as less or more social (inter-mammals, inter-species, object-subject…).

Some working questions could be:

    • Do people that live with plants feel less lonely?
    • Is their loneliness affected by their assumptions and consideration about plants as living beings?
    • How do they understand plants? As beings with transitory states of consciousness (e.g.: “This plant is happy”)? As autonomous independent beings? As communicative beings? Or are the plants dependent of an intermediary to speak their different states with the world (e.g.: a biopsy of their tissues to know health states)?

Nevertheless, it is not difficult to observe how a plant itself can speak his state of being, at least in a bipolar way. Everyone is able to know whether a plant is healthy or sick; thriving or dying. Maybe even “happy, fulfilled, satisfied”, or on the other hand, “sad, needy, suffering”.

As we had to study in school, one of the basic characteristics of living is communication. In a very anthropocentric way, we define a social relationship to the extent the other being communicates with us. Thus, a friend that doesn’t text me, may not be my social relationship, whether a plant that communicates that is suffering may well become my friend.

So, more food for thought. To which point can I cheat my mammal brain and affiliate with plants, or insects? Could we even feel affiliated to the planet, or to inanimate objects in a conscious way, accepting their communicative limitations, but our duty of developing our sensitivity to be able to understand what they are expressing? It is easy to blame outside. The challenge appears when we take responsibility for our actions and decide to take the steps to change the world we live in. Am I feeling lonely because the beings in my surrounding don’t communicate with me, or am I feeling lonely because I am not sensitive enough to understand what the beings are saying?

Am I feeling lonely because the people in my life don’t say to me what my ego wants to hear? Or am I feeling lonely because my being is not sensitive enough to listen to what these people are actually saying?

Silence is, after all, a form of communication.

Learn to listen to the silence, and understand that is the way the people in your life are communicating with you right now. If you want them to speak, maybe you set the right environment for a conversation. Maybe, you should develop enough sensitivity to actually hear what they are expressing. Start being sensitive enough to accept that in case you feel lonely, the message the people in your life are giving to you is silence. Start being sensitive enough to recognize that if you have a plant in your room, you may not be as alone as you though.

#63 unsolicited advice from David Cain (www.raptitude.com):

“Own at least one plant. They’ll never judge you, but they´ll let you know if you´re being careless.”

For me, Carlito Fluito, owning a plant can be used for knowing how developed your sensitivity is, how inclusive your consciousness is, or how social your relationships are.

Good luck with all,

I hope you get some thoughts for the day.

Best,

Carlito Fluito

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