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Dealing with Loneliness

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One of my favorite lines or philosophy comes from the movie The Shawshank Redemption where he says either get busy living or get busy dying.

Juditha, if you are interested (I'm not, but I'm just saying) that there is a chat on this forum that you can access. When I used to go into chat, most of the people there were very nice to me. If you feel talky, you might consider that, might be a little step in a different direction for you. I know it felt nice at times interacting in real time with fellow Objectivists, and forum members, but I just don't like real time convos too much. I type slow and am not quick witted, but my social skills in certain areas improved quite rapidly as I adapted, but I don't feel like developing them further.

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I've found your responses and I appreciate your thoughts and advice.

Why did I write? I googled "loneliness" and this was one of the forums that came up so i went here.

I remember that day I was feeling very lost and unbearably lonely and I probably wrote because I needed to - to strangers where I might find one that would understand everything. That's impossible, but I grasped onto the only thing on hand to connect me with the world.

I initially was on disability for a very painful back injury which has healed miraculously and no more pain. I'm very grateful for that. But I'm on disability for clinical depression/panic attacks and anxiety. But i do what I can as far as work is concerned. As I was reading some of your responses, it's clear to me that alot of people don't really fully understand clinical depression vs. sadness/grief/loneliness. It can paralyze and unless you have felt it or walked in that person's shoes for awhile, you would not react to it with tough love. It's an invisible disease.

I know exactly what I need to do, but sometimes, it feels impossible. And yes, I've taken a variety of antidepressant pills, but I don't believe in pills. And I do believe that laughing with one friend can help anyone who is depressed or lonely. I'm trying.

Juditha

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Why did I write? I googled "loneliness" and this was one of the forums that came up so i went here.

Oh. I thought that perhaps it might have had to do with an interest in Objectivism.

As I was reading some of your responses, it's clear to me that alot of people don't really fully understand clinical depression vs. sadness/grief/loneliness. It can paralyze and unless you have felt it or walked in that person's shoes for awhile, you would not react to it with tough love. It's an invisible disease.

Well, I didn't react that way, but yeah, I for one don't know much about clinical depression, but have heard of people that don't even get out of bed some days, leave the house, and my ex-wife had a patient in a nursing home that couldn't even get up to use the bathroom where she lived and was found that way, and she was put into the nursing home to be cared for. I know that when I was a young man, I used to sleep for many hours, get up for a few, then go right back to sleep for many hours more, and didn't go out all that much, even for food at times. I was, I'd say, depressed, big time, but now I can barely sleep a full night's sleep, unless I'm sad, or super duper tired. I have learned how to work through that tiredness, so I increaisng have to be more tired than that to sleep sometimes, or take a PM pill to help bring me to Slumberland by force. So, I think I can understand at least a little.

I know exactly what I need to do, but sometimes, it feels impossible. And yes, I've taken a variety of antidepressant pills, but I don't believe in pills. And I do believe that laughing with one friend can help anyone who is depressed or lonely. I'm trying.

Objectivists, psychologically speaking, are pretty much in line with Cognitive / Cognitive Behavior psychotherapies, I think. Usually a change in thinking patterns can help, but one might need an extra boost with medication, but I think that's like more of a last resort, or at least not the very first, and I think always, for the most part, coupled with sais therapies, not "Here, try these. We'll vary the mg's and see how you feel." But I don't know all that much about it, since I haven't gone through therapy, nor studied the techniques fully. I do like the sentence completion that Nataniel Branden does, and other things in regards to self-esteem, and also Dr. Michael Hurd, Dr. ellen Kenner.

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Juditha, there is another Objectivist forum, here http://forums.4aynrandfans.com/ , which has a regular, Scott A, who is a psychologist. He almost always responds to posts like yours. So, while we may not know what you're referring to, I'm sure that he will.

Yup, that Shawshank Redemption line sprang to my mind as well! :dough:

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As I was reading some of your responses, it's clear to me that alot of people don't really fully understand clinical depression vs. sadness/grief/loneliness. It can paralyze and unless you have felt it or walked in that person's shoes for awhile, you would not react to it with tough love. It's an invisible disease.

No. You can't possibly know what other people understand or went through in their lives from the advice they give you.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 6 months later...

Most of the people whom I know have taken pills/medicines to get rid of Loneliness/depression, have not got much favourable results. Being lonely is really killing and leads to depression. I feel that socializing and meditating are much better ways to get control on such problems.

Edited by Ahmann
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Most of the people whom I know have taken pills/medicines to get rid of Loneliness/depression, have not got much favourable results. Being lonely is really killing and leads to depression. I feel that socializing and meditating are much better ways to get control on such problems.

Loneliness should never be treated with pills. Loneliness is a [ifeeling] so "treating" it with anything other than your own thought processes or habit changing is evading reality.

Major depressions, chronic depressions and the like are usually an issue of brain chemistry disfunctions and as such are an illness. One that should be treated in consultation with a doctor. If medication is indicated then it should be taken with caution of course as many of them are habit forming and have serious withdrawl effects when the time comes to get off them. Generally speaking though they are over prescribed to people who would be better off with a different treatment strategy.

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  • 1 year later...

*** Mod's note: Merged with a previous topic ***

 

Although i`m a very objective person, and starting my journey towards a more objective life, there is something that I do not agree. I see nothing wrong with wanting to be social and having more friends, even just for the sake of “having more friends”. I don’t see nothing wrong with having friends whose view of the world are different from mine – what matters is if we have fun together and enjoy each others company. For instance: Peter Keating was social, everyone liked him and he could have any girl he wanted (nice!). On the other hand, Roark didn`t have any friends in school, and was lonely like a baby in the womb. What was Roark`s problem? Why couldn`t he go to a party, have sex with girls, and have fun for gods sake? I personally value these things very much, even though there is not a important and serious purpose behind these activities.

Whenever Roark entered a room, people felt uncomfortable, and his face was closed like a vault. What is the advantage of being like that? I don`t see why he couldn`t be social, have a lot of friends, join the fraternity, and still be loyal to his principles, and still stand for his ideas, do you guys get my point? Does living objectively in the context of human interactions means having just few friends who share your views, just sitting by their side doing nothing and acknowledging their existence? That seems pretty boring to me.

In Atlas Shrugged, the playboy life Francisco was having seemed pretty cool and exciting. Why couldn`t someone lead a life with a lot of fun and parties and girls and still be productive and objective?

For instance yesterday I decided to learn to surf. I live In a coastal city and it would be fun to surf. Then I asked myself: why do you want to surf? And I didn`t know a reason, besides: I just want it, it must be fun! According to Roark, he would say: since there is no reason for me wanting to learn how to surf, besides my wish to do it, I wont do it.

I remember a time in the book when Keating called Roark to go out and have a beer. Roark said: what for? For gods sake, what was the problem of going out for a beer????? He would stay home doing nothing anyway!!!!!

I don’t want to realize with 80 years old that I lived my life as a lonely bastard who didn`t have fun at all.

Do you guys understand what i`m saying?

Edited by softwareNerd
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What was Roark`s problem? Why couldn`t he go to a party, have sex with girls, and have fun for gods sake? I personally value these things very much, even though there is not a important and serious purpose behind these activities.

Whenever Roark entered a room, people felt uncomfortable, and his face was closed like a vault. What is the advantage of being like that? I don`t see why he couldn`t be social, have a lot of friends, join the fraternity, and still be loyal to his principles, and still stand for his ideas, do you guys get my point? Does living objectively in the context of human interactions means having just few friends who share your views, just sitting by their side doing nothing and acknowledging their existence? That seems pretty boring to me.

In Atlas Shrugged, the playboy life Francisco was having seemed pretty cool and exciting. Why couldn`t someone lead a life with a lot of fun and parties and girls and still be productive and objective?

...

I don’t want to realize with 80 years old that I lived my life as a lonely bastard who didn`t have fun at all.

Do you guys understand what i`m saying?

I'm going have a go at your question.

First of all, the very important and serious purpose behind activities you enjoy (aside from your own happiness, which is integral) is productive work. It's the very purpose of man's life, and happiness is the "successful state of life," which you gain from the attainment of values. The attainment of those values is virtue, which comes from the use of your mind. Far from considering things that might not be considered a "job" as non-productive simply because they aren't career-oriented with tangible results (like an iron bar), I suggest you think more of them in terms of what they do for you, in particular your mental state. Others have mentioned sport and other such things as beneficial for your body, for your ability to cope and relate with others, and just as a recreation to appreciate the things you have done.

This is what is so important about treating yourself. There seems to be a strong parallel between getting a reward you don't deserve and a resulting negative emotional state.

The thing about having sex with "girls" is that sex is not supposed to be meaningless. It is supposed to represent your values and your recognition of those values in another person (cf. love). The feelings of physical pleasure that are gained from the mere act of sex can be recreated without another human being, given the right tools. The experience of sex involves more than just nice feelings. An extremely important quote on sex is the following one:

The man who despises himself tries to gain self-esteem from sexual adventures—which can’t be done, because sex is not the cause, but an effect and an expression of a man’s sense of his own value . . .
-Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual

Most of my response I gleaned from the Ayn Rand Lexicon, which it would be good for you to read, in particular the following entries:

Productiveness

Loneliness

Sex

Love

I'll end with a great quote from Rand in the "Loneliness" entry that I think is relevant:

"...(Loneliness is specifically the experience of this type of child—or adult; it is the experience of those who have something to offer. The emotion that drives conformists to “belong,” is not loneliness, but fear—the fear of intellectual independence and responsibility. The thinking child seeks equals; the conformist seeks protectors.)" -Ayn Rand on Loneliness

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i`m sorry I should have said that he had, 3 or 4 friends.

Ok - fair enough.

Ask yourself this - of what value are your "friends" to you? I'll wager the answer is you enjoy their company, right?

Of what value was Keating to Roark? Keating was someone who in nearly every regard, SAVE ONE, was the antithesis of Roark. They had no common values save Architecture - and Roark acknowledged later in the book that his helping Keating in that field was a mistake, because it enabled Keating's faking of reality.

Would you want to hang out with someone who lived a life that represented almost your complete opposite?

How would Roark enjoy that time with Keating in any way? It would be of no value to him. Thus, "What for?"

But Roark DID hang out with Dominique, Mallory, Enright, Mike, and others with whom he DID have things in common. He did enjoy their company.

Galt hung out with Ragnar and Francisco - and later with Halley, Mulligan, Ellis, and who knows how many others - with whom he had much in common.

Hardly lonely - just smaller numbers.

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Rand values work above friendship (http://www.playboy.com/articles/ayn-rand-playboy-interview/index.html):

PLAYBOY: According to your philosophy, work and achievement are the highest goals of life. Do you regard as immoral those who find greater fulfillment in the warmth of friendship and family ties?

RAND: If they place such things as friendship and family ties above their own productive work, yes, then they are immoral. Friendship, family life and human relationships are not primary in a man's life. A man who places others first, above his own creative work, is an emotional parasite; whereas, if he places his work first, there is no conflict between his work and his enjoyment of human relationships.

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I'll give you my perspective on these aspects of her fiction, but my comments (about, for example, what I think she was trying to convey) are not based on anything other than my reading of the novels and my understanding of Objectivism.

Although i`m a very objective person, and starting my journey towards a more objective life, there is something that I do not agree. I see nothing wrong with wanting to be social and having more friends, even just for the sake of “having more friends”. I don’t see nothing wrong with having friends whose view of the world are different from mine – what matters is if we have fun together and enjoy each others company. For instance: Peter Keating was social, everyone liked him and he could have any girl he wanted (nice!). On the other hand, Roark didn`t have any friends in school, and was lonely like a baby in the womb. What was Roark`s problem? Why couldn`t he go to a party, have sex with girls, and have fun for gods sake? I personally value these things very much, even though there is not a important and serious purpose behind these activities... Does living objectively in the context of human interactions means having just few friends who share your views, just sitting by their side doing nothing and acknowledging their existence? That seems pretty boring to me.

There is certainly nothing wrong with having friends, acquaintances, drinking buddies or whatever who don't share your worldview. I watch Wake Forest basketball with other Wake Forest fans or other college ball fans in general, not other Objectivists (for example). However, I do think that in order to be close friends with someone, there need to be some deeper shared values, and certainly in a serious romantic relationship there should be a deep compatibility of values (this is NOT to say that it's irrational to have such relationships with people who aren't Objectivists. Also, much of this "shared value" stuff is on a subconscious or sense-of-life level, it doesn't necessarily mean a conscious agreement on all or most things of importance.) In any case, there is nothing un-Objectivist about having lots of friends, or having friends who don't really share your views. In my view, a full life ideally includes relationships of all types, from close personal friends to casual drinking buddies.

Whenever Roark entered a room, people felt uncomfortable, and his face was closed like a vault. What is the advantage of being like that?

I think this was more of Rand's comment about the society that Roark was in, rather than some inherent property of Roark himself. One of the major themes of the novel concerned what she saw as the phenomenon of 'secondhandedness,' and people who were like that were naturally uncomfortable when someone came along who was confident in his own value, without having to derive it from others' opinions. Therefore, those people in the novel (which was most people in society) shied away from Roark. There is no inherent value to one's life in being standoffish. I think that Rand simplified her portrayal of society in the novel in order to stay truer to the novel's theme. Any real society (certainly modern American society) is much more rich than can be conveyed accurately in any work of fiction, and there are a multitude of values to gain from people all around you.

In Atlas Shrugged, the playboy life Francisco was having seemed pretty cool and exciting. Why couldn`t someone lead a life with a lot of fun and parties and girls and still be productive and objective?...I don’t want to realize with 80 years old that I lived my life as a lonely bastard who didn`t have fun at all.

There's nothing wrong with partying, but there is something wrong with living the 'playboy' lifestyle that Francisco was portraying (of course, he wasn't actually living it). In order to retain a sense of purpose in one's life, it's important to make productive work a central feature of one's life. (Aside, this doesn't mean that everyone must have a formal career or that something like a stay-at-home parent is an inappropriate lifestyle choice. Things like that are productive in their own way). If your goal in life is to attain true, lasting happiness and fulfillment (which it should be), I think you'll find after a lifetime of partying and shallow sex that you've failed.

In short, there's a big difference between going to parties on the weekends after a week of hard work and partying 24/7.

For instance yesterday I decided to learn to surf. I live In a coastal city and it would be fun to surf. Then I asked myself: why do you want to surf? And I didn`t know a reason, besides: I just want it, it must be fun! According to Roark, he would say: since there is no reason for me wanting to learn how to surf, besides my wish to do it, I wont do it.

I don't think that's what Roark would tell you, and that's certainly not what Objectivism would tell you. We all need hobbies, and what those hobbies should be for each person is very individualized and based on personal preferences. Hobbies (broadly construed) are an important part of a full life. If you want to learn to surf, the best of luck to you.

I remember a time in the book when Keating called Roark to go out and have a beer. Roark said: what for? For gods sake, what was the problem of going out for a beer????? He would stay home doing nothing anyway!!!!!

Personally, if someone like Peter Keating called me up for a beer, I probably wouldn't go either. However, if someone more interesting and less... vacuous made me that offer, that'd be a different story. I think Roark's problem was probably not in the getting of a beer with a friend but the fact that Keating actually wasn't a friend, or even an interesting guy to be around. Imagine instead Mike the electrician calling up Roark for a beer. Their only connection that is portrayed in the novel (if memory serves) is one of mutual respect for each others' competence in their jobs, but it's still not hard to imagine Roark enjoying just hanging out with Mike.

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Their only connection that is portrayed in the novel (if memory serves) is one of mutual respect for each others' competence in their jobs, but it's still not hard to imagine Roark enjoying just hanging out with Mike.
It has been many years since I read FH, but I could swear they are shown together in a bar at some point.

I think Rand often erases various aspects of a character, so that one can focus on only certain aspects she wishes to highlight. An equivalent would be if a painter used only black and white, or just a few colors in a paining, to stress some aspect of a subject.

Edited by softwareNerd
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The thing about having sex with "girls" is that sex is not supposed to be meaningless. It is supposed to represent your values and your recognition of those values in another person (cf. love). The feelings of physical pleasure that are gained from the mere act of sex can be recreated without another human being, given the right tools. The experience of sex involves more than just nice feelings.

Sorry dude, but i`m a man and I like women. I don’t know about Roark or Galt or Rearden but I feel attracted by the opposite sex. I understand that sex is much better with feelings and with someone who has a very deep connection with you, but if I would wait to have sex only with these girls, i`ll have a hard time finding them. I think there is not a true man in this world (I mean a heterosexual male), that will not have sex with a hot girl only because she believes in God, or sacrificed her life for ill people (I MEAN HAVE SEX, not a relationship)

There is certainly nothing wrong with having friends, acquaintances, drinking buddies or whatever who don't share your worldview. I watch Wake Forest basketball with other Wake Forest fans or other college ball fans in general, not other Objectivists (for example). However, I do think that in order to be close friends with someone, there need to be some deeper shared values, and certainly in a serious romantic relationship there should be a deep compatibility of values

I totally agree with you. ;)

There's nothing wrong with partying, but there is something wrong with living the 'playboy' lifestyle that Francisco was portraying (of course, he wasn't actually living it). In order to retain a sense of purpose in one's life, it's important to make productive work a central feature of one's life. (Aside, this doesn't mean that everyone must have a formal career or that something like a stay-at-home parent is an inappropriate lifestyle choice. Things like that are productive in their own way). If your goal in life is to attain true, lasting happiness and fulfillment (which it should be), I think you'll find after a lifetime of partying and shallow sex that you've failed.

In short, there's a big difference between going to parties on the weekends after a week of hard work and partying 24/7.

You`re right. But if, differently from Roark (and other AR heroes) you are not passionate about any profession?

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Ferris, I would not have sex with anyone unless I was in a relationship. And I would not be in a relationship with a devoutly religious (a Christmas and Easter Christian is as far as I could ever imagine going in that direction, though really I'm not particularly interested in anyone who is any more religious than a diest). So I would not have sex with a devoutly religious person, no matter how attractive I might find their body. The "sacrifice for ill people" is a little ill-defined, so I can't really say about that, depends on context.

Oh, and I am a heterosexual male, btw.

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You`re right. But if, differently from Roark (and other AR heroes) you are not passionate about any profession?

Have you actually met anyone who is not passionate about anything? Personally, I have only come across people who hold a career that is not their true passion, never someone who has no desire to do any type of work.

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Ferris, I would not have sex with anyone unless I was in a relationship. And I would not be in a relationship with a devoutly religious (a Christmas and Easter Christian is as far as I could ever imagine going in that direction, though really I'm not particularly interested in anyone who is any more religious than a diest). So I would not have sex with a devoutly religious person, no matter how attractive I might find their body. The "sacrifice for ill people" is a little ill-defined, so I can't really say about that, depends on context.

Oh, and I am a heterosexual male, btw.

Friend, you might not have sex with her, but - if you`re really a heterosexual male - you would feel atracted to her. Atraction is a biological response.

Edited by Ferris
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When i was in my early 20's I was a male slut. I'd sleep with just about any woman who'd let me between her legs. There were a surprising number of them, and while some were definitely not that attractive, quite a few were very pretty. The common factor among all of them - and myself - was a lack of self-respect.

I thought I was really scoring - and yet on many levels I also hated myself. Sex with these women who had no meaning to me became about as meaningful as masturbation - and sometimes less satisfying.

So from experience, let me caution you against engaging in casual sex for fun alone. Please, do yourself a favor - make sure you at least respect your partner(s) as a human being.

One last point.

You said

if I would wait to have sex only with these girls, i`ll have a hard time finding them

You'll have a harder time finding them if you do like I did and degrade yourself to the point where no woman who actually has some self respect would want you. Women with self-respect don't care for men who have none.

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Friend, you might not have sex with her, but - if you`re really a heterosexual male - you would feel atracted to her. Atraction is a biological response.

Not every male thinks with, or is controlled by, their "second brain". It appears you are looking for a rationalization of just such behavior. <_<

Edited by utabintarbo
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