Kaitlyn Creasy, an associate professor of philosophy, explores the concept of loneliness from a philosophical perspective. She reflects on her own experience of feeling lonely upon returning from a study abroad program, despite being surrounded by loving friends and family. Creasy delves into the idea that loneliness can stem not only from a lack of basic recognition by others but also from a failure of our social networks to meet our specific, evolving needs and recognize our individuality.
- Personal Experience with Loneliness: Creasy describes feeling isolated after returning from studying abroad in Italy, despite having a supportive network of relationships. This loneliness stemmed from an inability to share her transformed intellectual and emotional experiences with those at home.
- Philosophical Perspective on Loneliness: The article examines the philosophical notion that loneliness can occur even when surrounded by loved ones. It suggests that loneliness is not just about being socially disconnected but also about not having one’s specific needs met or individuality recognized.
- Transformation and Loneliness: Life-changing experiences often lead to the development of new values, needs, and desires. If these changes are not recognized or shared by one’s social circle, it can lead to feelings of loneliness.
- Complex Nature of Social Needs: The article emphasizes that social needs are complex and individualized. Loneliness can arise when these specific needs are not fulfilled by our relationships, even if we are otherwise socially connected.
- Strategies to Combat Loneliness: Creasy suggests both passive and active strategies to address loneliness. Actively communicating one’s evolving needs to friends and seeking new relationships that align with these needs can help alleviate loneliness. However, she acknowledges that some degree of loneliness might be inevitable due to our inability to fully understand or articulate our own needs.