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Saturday, September 27, 2008


I have been pushing hard lately. Just get things done. But nothing very specific. Many small things that set the stage for other things. Too abstract.
Today my dad told me that he thought I am a bit lost. That he's never before seen me without a clear path forward. But has my path ever really been clear? It has certainly not seemed that way.
Today I was at Barnes and Nobles for awhile. I saw people from within my isolation and didn't talk to them. But I feel like some processes are playing themselves out that have been hidden and pushed below. I think some of this is good. I was actually looking at this feeling of isolation, and deciding not to fight it in that moment. One thing I have come to realize about myself is that I am basically an introvert. I've learned to be an extrovert, but its not always so natural to me.
I picked up a book called "Loneliness" by John Cacioppo. I read the description of a New Yorker who started a relationship with an old girlfriend who was not thriving in the city. In the midst of the ensuing misery, he is staring out the window and sees the image of a sad, lonely person. At first he thinks this is himself, but then the image moves backwards, and he sees it is someone mirroring him out the window! This connection pulls him out of himself, allowing him to see his situation more clearly.The story made me cry. Ok, just a little.
Here's an interview with Cacioppo.
Actually, I'll add that while reading this book, I was noticing the focus on statistics which was annoying me. There's an interplay between personal antecdote and supposedly objective analysis. It was also the discussions about genes that bothered me. Like the gap between these two ways of understanding is too great.


Unknown said...

Hi, I'm John, the author (with Bill Patrick) of the book, "Loneliness." I can appreciate your response to the juxtaposition of the stories of real people's lives and statistical analyses. The statistics are not meant to be irritating, though, they are the language of scientific analysis which permit us to see more clearly what loneliness is, what functions it serves, how it relates to other processes, and how one might understand and perhaps even escape its grip. Loneliness is such a misunderstood feeling, I hope the book proved provocative if not helpful.

Boaz said...

Hello John,
Thanks so much for the comment.
I actually only read about 30 pages, so my comments were preliminary impressions. I do think the topic is very important, and the book affected me. I look forward to reading more when I get a chance, and will post more opinions/analysis.