Wednesday, May 16, 2007

In this lonely world

Good afternoon, dear friends of internetland. For the first time in several days I am writing a full session while there is still daylight out and the result is...slowgoing and much weariness. It's hard not to feel that this time would not be better spent sleeping but the show, well, the show must go on. And so I press on. My loyal readers might recognize that phrase as one of my most overused ones. Another one of my most overused cliches is me whining about being lonely, but it is a very prominent part of the human condition, loneliness affects us all in some way or other and it has affected the course of huan history so many times, just as it is shaping the future today.

(Nice gradiouse segway, don't you think?) Loneliness sways people. It alters their thoughts and motivations. It is a plague to many and they seek out some way, any way of ending that plague. They search to belong somewhere, to find a sense of kinship with some people. And how does this affect history you may ask, well it affects psychology and psychology affects history. A desire for belonging fueled nationalism in both its moderate and extreme variants, it is part of the reason that people join militant movements, because it gives them a sesne of belonging to a community since they now have enemies that don't belong. And without belonging, some survive, some are fine, but some collapse, diving into depression, insanity, and other non-nice places. Loneliness can be deadly and properly manipulated it can be powerful, but it is a part of our lives. We can never truly know each other, because in the end we are not who we are on the outside. Two people may act the same, but the thoughts behind their actions could be completely different. If a man helps another person it may be due to his love of humanity, it may be out of a desire for the other person's love, it may be for the onlookers, it may be for a dozen different reasons. And while we might be able to make better guesses of people's motivations the more we know them there's still too many possibilities to consider and too much space in the brain to know for certain, and to attempt to know the motivations behind the motivations, why this man wants this, it is impossible, and then to judge whether the person deep in their heart is good or bad...well, that's something that we cannot do.

All this seperation between people, even between people who have know each other for years, breeds loneliness. It is part of the human condition, but then again there are also degrees. While we may not know for certain if our friends are truly our friends we can take leaps of faith and trust them, and this can bring us a sense of companionship, easing the loneliness. We can feel a kinship through family and community feeling a desire for the common welfare and a sense of common love based on an idea of a community which is at least in name shared. We can also look to the commonalities between people and cling to that as closeness (this is one of the motivating factors behind identifying people who are simliar to you and those who are different). And there's always God. Loneliness is always there, but there are ways to reduce it, and of course there are ways to increase it. Isolation, removal from contact, removal from community, removal from mutal need, etc. And in this world it seems that the latter factors are growing.

The modern world seems to be growing in loneliness. Our community spirits are looser, we need each other less, we interact with each other less. We have so much capablities of our own that the reliance upon others that forced us to maintain a closeness is waning. But on the other hand we have more possibilities of communication than ever before, more travel opportunities, and more ideas upon which to bond. So these could in theory decrease our loneliness. But in practice, the conviences of the modern world can decrease your loneliness if you use them to do so, but will increase your loneliness if you simply use them to remove yourself from other people. What has changed in the world is freedom, we no longer are forced by law, by custom, by necessity to be communities, but we still can be by choice. And this is scary. Because relying on the choice of others for the future of a community that you love is frightening, other people may be lazy, or cruel, and your community could whither, and perhaps, just maybe, die. Freedom removes force, and so communities are no longer forced to exist when there is freedom, and so they might just disintegrate. Here we get back to the whole history angle (you thought I forgot about that didn't you), all around the world people are trying to reduce their loneliness. Some are doing this by using that freedom of choice to reach out, but others, others are looking to force. They are trying to force a sense of community by trying to change the laws to reflect their customs, by trying to limit the choices of others, by trying to force their ideas upon others, such as hyper-nationalism. And this use of force can often lead to murder, it can lead to dictatorship, it can lead to chaos as well as the order of the guilded cage. That's the world we live in. And what to do about it? Well, sure we can reach out to each other and try to reduce loneliness through our choices, and sure we can try to counter those who would use force, but... but ultimately some degree of this conflict is inevitable with the onslaught of freedom. Freedom is not simply a peaceful, easy thing, it causes changes that tears at people's souls and causes them to tear at the souls of others. Should we then abandon freedom? No. Sometimes good things carry with them bad effects, it is the consequence of the complexity of the world, to insist on only doing good things when their consequences are purely good would lead completely to paralysis. And so despite the price we must continue to press on with freedom, it is more precious than the air we breathe and so if it must cost us our breath, then so be it. At least that's what I think.

Anyways, I have other things I need to do and other people need this computer and so take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

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