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Loneliness - Happiness Or Curse? - Society
Loneliness - Happiness Or Curse? - Society

Video: Loneliness - Happiness Or Curse? - Society

Video: Loneliness - Happiness Or Curse? - Society
Video: Are Intelligent People More Lonely? 2023, June

Loneliness is associated with freedom and self-realization. If a person can live the way he wants (and does not depend on anyone), then he feels like a true master and creator of his life

Village robinsonade

For starters, I want to share one of the most eerie memories in my memory. Imagine a multi-day hike in one of the northern regions of Russia. The route is laid out on the map in advance, and on a certain day we go to a small village to replenish the supply of drinking water and, if possible, eat and spend the night in comfortable conditions. There is a village on the map, but in reality we are met by boarded up and dilapidated remains of houses. Alas, such extinct villages in the Russian outback are not uncommon, but something else scared us …

After passing almost the entire village, we find a single residential building. Smoke billows from the chimney; chickens are walking behind the fence; potatoes and some other vegetables grow in the garden. We knock on the gate, loudly call the owners. Nobody is answering. But the door of the house is hospitably open, so we go inside.

In one of the rooms we find an old woman who looks about 80 years old. She looks at us and is silent. We start with some tourist jokes (“Can I drink some water at your place, otherwise I want to eat so much that there’s nowhere to even spend the night?”), But she does not react in any way. We try to ask questions, to talk about ourselves, but in response, all the same, silence. At the same time, she hears and understands us, occasionally nodding her head in response to some questions, but for some reason she does not say anything.

We left grandma alone. We took water from a well near her house, and spent the night at the other end of the village in a relatively large and dry barn. Before leaving, we sawed wood for her and left some food from our supplies. We never heard a word from her, but then we discussed her lonely life for a long time.

I wonder if she is there only for the summer or does she live there in the winter? But in winter the frosts are terrible; and in recent years, many wolves have multiplied, in winter they even enter large villages, and she has no dogs or weapons. There is no electricity in the village. Mobile communication seems to catch, but what's the point of it if the phone is not charged. The nearest village is 15 kilometers away on a bad road. I wonder if anyone there knows about her? Do they visit her at least occasionally?

When you are 30-40 years old and you are full of energy, any Robinsonade looks like a fun adventure. But in old age, survival alone turns into a hussar roulette, where any ridiculous accident can take a life

He ate the wrong mushrooms, bit the snake, dropped the ax on his leg - but you never know what else! - but there is no one to help … And there is no one even to call for help. Oh, I would not like to be in the place of this old woman! Living in such loneliness is scary, and dying is probably even more scary.

But I don't want water

The motive of "a glass of water" (avoiding negative loneliness; when people enter into close relationships for reasons of "so that there would be someone to give me a glass of water in old age") is consistently among the top three reasons for marriage. One of the basic functions of a traditional family is to ensure security (financial, psychological, physical, etc.).

If a person is faced with problems and difficulties that he is not able to cope with alone, the closest people - family members - come to the rescue. If a person becomes completely weak due to the onset of old age and / or illness, the “glass of water” is first of all given to him by the family

But how much is the notorious "glass of water" necessary? There is a joke: one rich man dies. Lies on his deathbed, and something terrible is happening around. His ex-wives, children, grandchildren, mistresses, close and distant relatives gathered near his deathbed. Everyone is shouting at each other, swearing, fighting over the future inheritance. No one pays any attention to the dying person himself. He lies sad and lonely, and only his faithful friend asks him: "Do you really want to die so much?" To which he replies: "You see, I thought that the more people around me in old age, the more likely that among them there will be at least someone who can give me a glass of water before death …" - "And what, they served? " - clarifies a friend. “I don’t feel like drinking,” the dying man sighs.

As they say, in every joke there is a grain of a joke. American sociologist Eric Kleinenberg in his book "Solo Life: A New Social Reality" (in the sixth chapter - "Growing old alone") provides data that 70-80% of older Americans prefer to live alone. They choose their own house / apartment, refusing to move to adult children or nursing homes.

Interestingly, studies have been undertaken comparing the level of subjective and objective well-being of elderly people living independently (alone) and living in families of children and nursing homes. There were no significant differences in the degree of well-being, but there is one small "but". It is important to distinguish between forced loneliness (isolation; when social contacts are minimal) and voluntary (when a person himself chooses a circle of communication and frequency of contacts and he has the opportunity for such a choice). If old people live in conditions of "voluntary loneliness", then they are doing well. But if this loneliness is forced, the level of their well-being is significantly reduced.

Why am I writing specifically about old people? Usually elderly people are the bearers of traditions, the most conservative part of society. It would seem that they should be the strictest defenders (in fact, not in words) of the traditional family. Nevertheless, modern trends in the development of society affect them too. Life expectancy increases; active lonely old age "for pleasure" is quite accessible for many. Modern old people want to "live for themselves" and are not at all eager to bring up grandchildren or help children with household chores.

In general, sociologists note that the duration of a single life has increased both “from below” (in youth) and “from above” (in old age)

In youth, the motivation is usually this: "I will not start a family until I have walked up, I have not lived freely for my own pleasure." In old age, the motivation is similar. It seems that living alone is "easier"; plus avoidance of past unsuccessful relationships is added.

No family and no fear

The idea of a free loner, not burdened with family relationships, is very attractive in its own way. If earlier (even 100-200 years ago) it was almost impossible to survive without a family, today the modern consumer society has created many mechanisms that allow loners not only to survive, but also to feel comfortable. But even if the opportunity to “be alone” has become quite affordable, is it worth using it?

If a person gets freedom from something (to survive with the help of "obligatory" family relationships), then why does he need this freedom? In all developed countries, society is quite tolerant and no one will condemn a person who consciously chose a lonely life. This is his right and his personal responsibility. The main problem here is not in violation of social norms, but in the awareness of the choice made in favor of "loneliness without a family".

Loneliness is just a vehicle for realizing personal values (and avoiding fears)

Someone will choose loneliness in order to enjoy self-centered pleasures longer without interruption. Someone will choose loneliness for the sake of realizing a vocation in life (so that the family does not distract from the "great career"). Some will choose loneliness for the sake of peace, avoidance of failure, or mental pain. Is it worth sacrificing a relationship with a loved one (and starting a family) for any other value in life? There is no definite answer to this question. Because any arguments "for" and "against" will be extremely subjective (individual).

So what is loneliness - happiness or curse? Choose the answer to this question yourself. Choose consciously (considering why and for what "I want / do not want to be alone"). And consider what kind of society you live in (being lonely, will you be able to organize that very "glass of water" before your death).

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