In Defense of LonelinessHarriet Fitch Little shines a light on one of life’s most concealed emotions.

In Defense of LonelinessHarriet Fitch Little shines a light on one of life’s most concealed emotions.

Issue 27

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Arts & Culture

Living is hugely lonely. We are born alone and we will die alone, and the gap between us and those around us is insurmountable—however hard we try to bridge it with love and proximity.

This may seem a crushingly bleak statement with which to begin a conversation about loneliness. Please, don’t abandon hope or interest. Because if understood correctly, this idea can be tremendously liberating: Rather than approaching loneliness as something that is either absent or present, we can approach it as a taxonomy of types. There are multiple ways to be lonely, and while some are deadly, others are empowering. As the poet Carl Sandburg once put it, when expounding nostalgically on the greatness of Shakespeare and Leonardo da Vinci, “They had loneliness and knew what to do with it.”

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