“At bottom, every human being knows very well that he is in this world just once, as something unique, and that no accident, however strange, will throw together a second time into a unity such a curious and diffuse plurality: he knows it, but hides it like a bad conscience — why?” — Friedrich Nietzsche, Schopenhauer As Educator
In part I on loneliness, I quoted Bukowski to bring into our possible sympa-writing a few ideas that I would also use in this part as signal words, both to flash back a little, and to hang on what I tried to say earlier: meaning, happiness, depression, loneliness, (—your picks—). Yes, your picks matter more than what you think you will gain out of this series of short pieces on loneliness. Especially in this part II, I am involving Nietzsche, but do not worry as he promised he will be thinking more positively; surely after you have chosen your picks. Words matter especially when it comes to how we express feelings, thoughts and opinions. Thus, the statement “I feel lonely” is, despite being an honest expression of what one feels, a good example that we may not need to take the face value of being lonely as much seriously, while I also think it is equally valid to say that “we do” and “we don’t” believe we are lonely, because:
“ […] men (humans) are even lazier than they are timorous, and what they fear most is the troubles with which any unconditional honesty and nudity would burden them. — Friedrich Nietzsche, Schopenhauer As Educator
This, however, does not mean if you have made your pick list in honesty and complete nudity, you are lazy. Yet, it is the after-thought of not trying to accept and suffer the consequences is the task you would constantly refuse to be responsible for, according to Nietzsche:
“ (only artists) dare to show us the human being as he is, down to the last muscle, himself and himself alone — even more, that in this rigorous consistency of his uniqueness he is beautiful and worth contemplating, as novel and incredible as every work of nature, and by no means dull.” (same)
What makes us suffer longer and more unfavourably from the feeling of loneliness is not the stereotyped image of it, because, I believe, the words that are expressive of the meaning of loneliness are at times devoid of the truth in the heart of loneliness. Nonetheless, how and through what is this examinable? Nietzsche, in a way, once again tries to put up with this existential pain of being what we are in words:
The human being who does not wish to belong to the mass must merely cease being comfortable with himself; let him follow his conscience which shouts at him: ‘Be yourself! What you are at present doing, opining, and desiring, that is not really you.’. . . (same)
It is, I believe, the struggle between the very profound image of ourselves as lonely souls and what we would prefer others not see in us. Being constantly tossed between the truth of the struggle and the picture we encourage ourselves to show is even more devastating, more stinging, yet more revealing of our human nature:
“This is how Schopenhauer’s philosophy…should always be interpreted first of all: individually, by the single human being alone for himself, to gain some insight into his own misery and need, into his own limitation…He teaches us to distinguish between real and apparent promotions of human happiness: how neither riches, nor honors, nor scholarship can raise the individual out of his discouragement over the worthlessness of his existence, and how the striving for these goals can receive meaning only from a high and transfiguring over-all aim: to gain power to help nature and to correct a little its follies and blunders. To begin with, for oneself; but eventually through oneself for all.” (Same)
I hope this piece brings the power of loneliness into your life in the moments following your reading of this last quote, just like it did to mine.
*I have adapted and borrowed the quotes from the philosophicalsociety.com and the selections are courtesy of Professor Walter Kaufmann’s Anthology Existentialism From Dostoevsky To Sartre (World Publishing Co., 1956), pp.101-104.