Author Topic: Boo's Thread of Multiple Existential Crisises  (Read 555 times)

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Boo's Thread of Multiple Existential Crisises
« on: June 03, 2018, 01:49:35 am »
I've toyed with the idea of this post for weeks. I ebb and flow both for against the post, as I don't want the message to be misinterpreted. It's so easy to misconstrue messages in digital format; there's no voice inflection or true human emotion within to drive the truth of the message.

Regardless, I'm going to get these thoughts off my chest. Please understand, these are late night musings. In the morning I recognize I'll feel differently. I'm a night person, and it's always at night I feel most alive, most creative, most isolated, most vulnerable. This isn't a cry for help, I'm not in any pain, it's just the continued working through my own existential views and trying to recognize what it means to be human in the human condition. I've touched upon these ideas with some of you, either in PM or email or thread, so hopefully it doesn't come off as too dark of a place to be thinking.

By why, in a world of seven billion people, do I feel so alone?

I don't ask this question directly only in my own condition. This is a question I think that many people feel... and it drives me mad in my pursuit of an answer that may never come. Maybe it's the human condition; it's something almost everyone suffers, but goddamn does life feel lonely as fuck. Even with a partner, that loneliness persists. Even with an entire familiar unit relying on you, it's a lonely road one walks alone.

I'm framing this as a sort of existential question, but it's a question I've wrestled with for two decades or more. I remember being about ten years old and crying myself to sleep thinking about loneliness as a whole, my own loneliness, and how so many others likely feel the same way. I remember wondering if the God I had been told about was false, wondering what made my God and more real than the other Gods out there. It was heartbreaking then and the memory of that realization still stings. It has nothing to do with a deity, but rather it's about the human condition that persists regardless of that facet of human pursuit.

We crave connectivity. We turn to the internet, but so many of the relationships are touch and go or fleeting, and they're very impersonal. They're real, but they lack that touch of reality. It's all binary. We all flock to Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat in pursuit of connectivity, and it's all pointless and false vanity and feeble attempts at chasing some sort of relationship with humanity. It's all we know these days. We keep checking our phones and we promise ourselves we'll stop but we KEEP DOING IT. We check and we check and there's nothing but we check and we check hoping it will be different. We say we'll quit and we don't. Hell, I don't even have a Facebook and I know this truth. It's why I gave it up about five years ago. Giving it up gave me freedom from unnecessary noise, but it's severely limiting when you are an outlier looking in.

Life feels like a train ride. We're surrounded by people that come and go at each stop. Then we wake up and we're at the end of the line and we're all alone in the cab. All alone. Not a soul in sight.

So many days I feel like I'm going through motions, through memorized routine. It's almost a dream; there's no point to it and it all feels random and pointless but we keep going because it's all we have or because we're told we have to ride it to it's rightful conclusion. We keep going because we chase that valuation of whatever we value and we hope for some kismet to make it all have worth and meaning that we didn't see until that magical moment.

We work all day, but what does any of it mean? We lose ourselves in the grind of money and pursuit of things and the whole routine is pointless. It's stupid and emotive and we overthink just like I'm doing now.

And here's the kicker: sometimes I love this loneliness. Like, it's both incredibly fulfilling on my creative aspect, I feel so many things that I would love to capture on paper (but fail). Some of these are even literal, visual scenes that play out but I am unable to capture them on paper. Then again they're horribly isolating on the other. And I keep coming back to that question: there are seven billion people, so why does anyone feel lonely? I feel like these emotions drive this creative epicenter to my persona, but at the same time eeks away at my sense of connectivity and in turn drives me into the Mountains of Madness, into the maw of Cthulhu or whatever unnamed entity awaits me.

Once I again, I'm not crying out, so please don't misinterpret this post. I fully recognize that it's sort of a dark place, and it's one I know (or rather believe) so many people suffer with. The question remains: why? SEVEN BILLION PEOPLE, almost everyone connected via technology. It's morbidly fascinating. It's almost an intangible feeling, but it's both beautiful and horrifying at the same time.

Anyway, that is all for today. Weight in below with your thoughts if you'd like.

EDIT: A few typos corrected.

EDIT2: I should add that this post now makes me think of the question as was presented to me in ~2007 for Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon. I was so excited for this game and the themes it claimed to tackle. However, in the end, although it explored themes of isolation and loneliness, it never really tackled it in the framework of today's standard. The game explored a single human, perhaps the last human, exploring humanity with AI and androids and engineered humans, and it did explore the theme of loneliness and survival in pursuit of another like oneself. But it was never framed against the modern day questions of loneliness among the entire human species at our fingertips; there were never seven billion (then six billion) people just beyond the horizon.

See the trailer below: If nothing else, my God the music is stellar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENhS2lhNk-c

Despite a planet so vast...
and populated by a countless number of people.
Why is that I'm so alone?
This is dedicated to those that share the sasme feeling of isolation.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2018, 02:17:03 pm by Boo the Gentleman Caller »

xcalibur

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Re: 7 Billion People... So Why Do We Feel So Alone?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2018, 02:16:55 am »
I've thought about this. I believe modern industrial/technological civilization tends to have an alienating effect on its participants.

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: 7 Billion People... So Why Do We Feel So Alone?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2018, 02:31:32 am »
Quote
I've thought about this. I believe modern industrial/technological civilization tends to have an alienating effect on its participants.

I've wondered this myself. In the "olden days" (take that however far back in time you wish), people were quite literally almost always confined to the towns/communities they were born into. This, of course, changed with the advent of communication. It likewise increases the literal scope of connectivity, but limits the alienating effects of those who fall within.

Currently absorbing 5 Centimetres Per Second, which is my favorite (but the least watched) film by Makoto Shinkai. The literal beauty of the film is superb; it's able to capture the beauty of every day living, but my god is it harsh on the spirit. It's just... too true to life. People come and go.

I wrote the original post and felt a need to help further capture this feeling. Sometimes I do that. This film was it (for tonight, at least).

Mauron

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Re: 7 Billion People... So Why Do We Feel So Alone?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2018, 02:32:00 am »
Personally, I'd be more isolated without technology.

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: 7 Billion People... So Why Do We Feel So Alone?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2018, 02:33:49 am »
Quote
Personally, I'd be more isolated without technology.

I think this is true to all of us. But there's still this feeling of... longing?

Although I didn't explore it in my parent post, I do think some of it is derived from my own personal experiences. My own life choices. At least to some degree.

xcalibur

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Re: 7 Billion People... So Why Do We Feel So Alone?
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2018, 06:13:40 am »
Quote
I've thought about this. I believe modern industrial/technological civilization tends to have an alienating effect on its participants.

I've wondered this myself. In the "olden days" (take that however far back in time you wish), people were quite literally almost always confined to the towns/communities they were born into. This, of course, changed with the advent of communication. It likewise increases the literal scope of connectivity, but limits the alienating effects of those who fall within.

Currently absorbing 5 Centimetres Per Second, which is my favorite (but the least watched) film by Makoto Shinkai. The literal beauty of the film is superb; it's able to capture the beauty of every day living, but my god is it harsh on the spirit. It's just... too true to life. People come and go.

I wrote the original post and felt a need to help further capture this feeling. Sometimes I do that. This film was it (for tonight, at least).

it's true, many people used to spend their lives in a given community/tribe/city-state/etc. modern technology has made it easier to connect in some ways, but breaks down social bonds in others.

however, it goes much further than this. past societies had an overarching conception of life: ideas, values, purpose, and hierarchy in which everyone knew where they stood in relation to the grander scheme of things.

in Egypt, there were pharoahs, pyramids, hieroglyphs, and myths of the afterlife, all intended to enforce a hierarchy and purpose.
Ancient Rome had roads, aqueducts, theaters, baths, coliseums, and (at first) a republican form of government, all in pursuit of the Good Life.
Medieval Europe had cathedrals, universities, a unified Church, and a culture of chivalry, which sought to glorify the Christian religion by all means and get people to Heaven.
Classical China was a stable agricultural empire, governed by scholar-bureaucrats who passed examinations on Confucian social philosophy, for the purpose of maintaining a stable and harmonious society through enlightened leadership and moral example.

I could keep going, but you get the point. the typical person in these societies was given a place and purpose in an idea larger than themselves, which could be relied upon. in modern industrial society, what is our larger idea? there's free trade and pursuit of wealth, hedonistic pleasure seeking, and there's enlightenment-era political philosophy encompassing democracy and the Constitution. Those count for something, but is it enough?

There's a relative lack of stable purpose and ideals in modern life, which leads to many people finding themselves adrift, unsure of who they're supposed to be or what they're supposed to do. This leads to anomie, as well as attraction to extreme ideologies and cults, which have flourished in recent history. I believe many people experience a sense of drift and anomie in modern life, often without knowing what it is. I think that directly relates to this thread.

PrincessNadia78

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Re: 7 Billion People... So Why Do We Feel So Alone?
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2018, 09:13:38 am »
Thereís actually a lot I want to say about this, but I have a lot going on right now. I will say that I needed this post, it makes me feel less alone. And I understand what you are going through Boo, because Iím feeling the exact same way. 

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: 7 Billion People... So Why Do We Feel So Alone?
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2018, 11:07:06 am »
Quote
There's a relative lack of stable purpose and ideals in modern life, which leads to many people finding themselves adrift, unsure of who they're supposed to be or what they're supposed to do. This leads to anomie, as well as attraction to extreme ideologies and cults, which have flourished in recent history. I believe many people experience a sense of drift and anomie in modern life, often without knowing what it is. I think that directly relates to this thread.

This is a really good, logical summation, and it's one of the answers I've suspected: that the freedom of choice created in more modern societal constructs has a counter effect as loss of role in society. Not saying that choice is a bad thing, far the contrary, but I totally get this point.

There's a part of me -- a very small, private part -- that seriously wants to just go buy some land and become a self-sustaining farmer. Grow some crops, have a handful of livestock, etc. I'd be self-reliant and stop worrying about the pursuit of material self. I think there's something to know your place (or lack thereof) and work with your hands. Arduous labor is good for the soul, especially when it generates survival for the self. Granted, this is idealistic; imagine how hard that lifestyle is! How lonely and cold it can be! So I recognize that as having read too much of The Hobbit and not enough John Steinback. :D

This feeling is what turned me down the path of philosophy. I read thousands of pages from existentialists, hoping to find some answers. Of course, there were none, and if nothing else, some of them pushed me in the opposite direction (I'm looking at you, Soren Kierkegaard!).

Regardless, the topic really does fascinate me. I recognize my own feelings and how false they often are, but this aspect of our society is completely fascinating to me. Obviously, not everyone suffers from this same 'loneliness,' but it's very widespread in modern society.

xcalibur

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Re: 7 Billion People... So Why Do We Feel So Alone?
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2018, 11:29:36 pm »
I've delved into philosophy, as well as history, religion, science, and other topics seeking answers. While I learned alot, no one seems to have it all figured out.

I don't mean to romanticize past societies, either. Strict hierarchies and circumscribed roles can be confining and oppressive, not just for the peasants but also those higher up (eg Marle chafing against her royal obligations). There are pros and cons to both freedom and duty. Duty can be repressive, but it also provides a reliable structure. Freedom gives you choice and agency, but it can also create a sense of drift and aimlessness.

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Re: 7 Billion People... So Why Do We Feel So Alone?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2018, 12:23:27 pm »
Great topic to touch upon because its effect on everyone in today's society is paramount.
It is ironic that without it we are disconnected from everyone, and with it, everyone is disconnected from everyone else.

Although like most I have a facebook account, I seldom use it outside of my work hours. Once I am home, my phone is typically not on me. I don't need it usually. One thing I found that helped limit my exposure to mind-numbing social media and overuse of devices was not having data on my phone; I am only connected in wifi areas. You wouldn't believe how freeing it is (and saves a lot on my phone bill). I'm not going to lie there are sometimes that is difficult to do without (like playing Pokemon Go, or GPS) but I get by.

One thing that is great about this age of technology is you CAN communicate and stay in touch with people that you may have since lost touch with; this can in turn, strengthen your network ten fold of what it may have been, had the technology not been there.


PrincessNadia78

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Re: 7 Billion People... So Why Do We Feel So Alone?
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2018, 02:16:20 pm »
I completely understand this feeling. It's been compounded for me since I relocated from Wisconsin to Florida. When I moved I learned how many people back home really didn't care about me and that still hurts. But it is what it is and I'm trying to make the best of it. I have a good husband who loves and adores me and I'm slowly making friends, but it takes a very long time to reestablish a circle of friends. So really, right now my husband is the only person I have in "real life" and it does make it lonely for me. In fact, I was having some emotional issues yesterday, that's why my response was so short (I'm better today by the way, it just happens to me sometimes.)

In regards to social media; I like it because I connect with people that I otherwise wouldn't be able to, but it's definitely a time sucker and energy sucker too. I know I should take a break from Facebook, but I haven't been able to do it yet.

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Re: 7 Billion People... So Why Do We Feel So Alone?
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2018, 06:45:23 pm »
Eh, TL;DR, except for the first post.

On a personal note:
Looks like you haven't learned to be comfortable with yourself that much, despite your love for loneliness. I don't blame you -- discomfort in loneliness is generally a default position for everybody, usually due to biological reasons -- but it's hard to find peace from one's own existential terror unless one "can" make peace with their own loneliness and other fears / discomfort.

After all, perhaps the reason anyone feels so alone despite being surrounded by so many people is because one is one's self. You are you, and you are all you'll connect with the most.

On a non-personal note:

Perhaps another reason for why anyone would feel lonely is because of the fact that there are seven-billion people. Too many people to know, too many people become disposable, with fewer actually meaningful connection. Not to mention it's a particularly common illness among urbanites make friends on the basis of high standards (say, somebody has more money / better skills / better looks than somebody else), and quickly not wanting anything to do with that same person on those very shallow reasons (they chose to disagree / have the wrong politics / felt angry one time / called somebody a cunt / etc.). Because why not, among seven-billion people it's easier to find somebody who may be ever so slightly more perfect than the one before, and even then the association is just as shallow.

Because they aren't people anymore. They are just a number from a crowd. A stereotype of an average joe with no depth to them (at least to any of us). People made of card-board cut-outs.

This is a luxury that smaller and tight-knit communities do not have. They have to live with ones they know because they're all they've got, and there will be nobody else to replace them. They might do shitty things, but they learn through each other, hash out their differences and learn to get along again. It's like siblings: Doesn't matter how different you are or how much you hate each others' guts, because he's still your brother / she's still your sister and you love each other anyway and have to look out for each other.

The more snowflakey a generation gets, the more detached they seem to be from each other, despite all the preaching of love and harmony. Everything is surface-level, because everybody is disposable, and no real connection is ever made.

In this situation, nothing will help you. Not even a God.

As far as I know, the only way to eradicate this problem is to sit down with the ones you know and bond with them at a level that nothing can break you apart. Easier said than done, of course.

EDIT: James Bond With Them
« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 06:50:34 pm by tushantin »

Lord J Esq

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Re: 7 Billion People... So Why Do We Feel So Alone?
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2018, 11:27:39 pm »
I just want to put a little note here to say I will be commenting At Length* on this topic later. I simply don't have the time to do it justice today. So let the Hype Train begin!


* Yes, a Lord J Special "At Length" Feature Post HUZZAH!

chrono.source

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Re: 7 Billion People... So Why Do We Feel So Alone?
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2018, 11:55:44 am »
*waits in anticipation of great revelation*  :shock:
« Last Edit: June 08, 2018, 08:46:17 am by chrono.source »

PrincessNadia78

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Re: 7 Billion People... So Why Do We Feel So Alone?
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2018, 12:01:03 pm »
*waits in anticipation of great revolation*  :shock:

*is also waiting in anticipation*