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All life’s passions, lofty, lowly, beatific and bodily arise from one source: Loneliness. Think sex, art, sex, charity, shopping… The desire, need, sometimes compulsion to do these things, if taken to their source seems to derive from the desire to connect with someone, to be a part of something. A sense that your self alone is insufficient in its most benign state and perhaps starved in a more extreme case when loneliness feels toxic.

This is not a bad thing. We are social creatures and often do not recognize how needy we are for companionship. A good conversation—with provocative give and take, shared speaking and listening—can make you feel as fulfilled as if you’d seen a terrific play. It holds the drama, sequence of action, insights and fresh understanding that comes with good theatre but even more unique in the originality of its source.

Loneliness is assuaged by seeing something profound  in a work of art. You feel some bonding with the maker of the image even if you never see the name of the artist. Something similar happens when you are enraptured by music. No wonder you want to grasp the hand of the person next to you at such a moment. It is a passionate feeling to lose the sense of loneliness and feel connection. A connection to nature can provide such a feeling too.

In sexual contact, you strive for a sense of true bonding, one human to another, body and soul. It happens sometimes. Sorrowfully, we are continually disappointed when such heralded expectations go unfulfilled, as usually happens.

As humans, we substitute culture in many forms to fill the gaps, surrounding ourselves with pets or possessions or conquests in its many diverse forms, and that’s to the good. Think what a desert we would inhabit if these quests were not there. But recognizing that we are lonely creatures when we are solitary and that this is normal can help, not only in making us feel better about that painful feeling “I don’t belong,” but push us toward all those other wonderful things out there that simulate belonging so effectively. Seeing in the Dark, Arielle’s Story