aloneness, dark, death, fear, gods, herding, human beings, human civilization, journey, Loneliness, mental, oneness, physical, Religion, safety, Separateness, sharing, spiritual, superior being, togetherness
This definitely does not necessarily mean loneliness; no this is a far more basic, elemental feeling, universal to humankind since time began. It is as basic as the fear of darkness, and is probably the reason for that, as in darkness our senses are drastically reduced which again underline that feeling of being cut off and on our own. The fear of aloneness has probably been at the root of the whole of what we call human civilization. Since time began there has been that instinctive feeling of herding and gathering of the same species in large enough numbers to give a false feeling of security and safety. Homo sapiens were no different. But being thinking, imaginative creatures we took this feeling to much higher levels than just the physical proximity that most other species seem to find sufficient.
Human beings intellectualized this feeling and tried to come up with an antidote. Other than the false feeling of safety in large numbers, there was always this feeling, since childhood, that a bigger, or older person is the all protector and savior. This came about naturally when parents looked after and protected their young, an instinct in all living creatures. This has left a residue in each person that the older, and ‘bigger’ people are stronger, wiser, all-loving protectors of humanity. With the ancients this developed to a kind of worship of that being or entity that was all protecting, all knowing and therefore must be blindly obeyed. This was fertile ground for the seeds of what was thought of as ‘religion’ at the time. So basically this human need for reassurance of the existence of a superior, caring being was the basis for the creation of the practice of worship. This feeling of worship which is a combination of trust, security and love of a superior entity extended in ancient times to include aspects of nature that had force beyond the control or comprehension of human beings. So gods were created for such forces, and were worshipped, gods for the sun, the wind, the sea, and for fire, to name only a few. Some of these gods took the shape of animals or birds as in ancient Egyptian mythology, or of larger than life humans as in Greek mythology. But the idea had always been the worship of a superior being that through our supplication was kind to grant our wishes, or being all knowing did not grant our wishes because of good reasons beyond our understanding. We are always looking up towards a superior being that takes care of us, on whom we totally depend and therefore we feel that we have this security blanket that gives us absolution from taking responsibility or blame.
This is a very simplistic way of stating the mental, emotional and spiritual needs of man and how they were originally fulfilled. This evolved into a very complicated state of affairs. The advent of ‘prophets’ and ‘saviors’ was inevitable and man tried to unify the ‘good’ advocated by them. This evolved in main religions, though it did not eradicate many others still being practiced in all corners of the world. The need of man for reassurance and protection, for trust in a higher, stronger power, is still there. Aloneness is still there.
Other attempts at alleviating this feeling of aloneness are in human contact, be it physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Any ‘group’ activity, be it a game, a project, a business or just a gathering of friends, is a manifestation of this united effort to be together as a means of fighting aloneness. The emotional need for love, approval, liking, and sometimes even hatred, are all there as ‘connectors’, feelings that link each individual human to another individual human on the emotional level. Then there are the mental connectors, words, music, art of all kinds, these are the channels developed and used by humans to connect on a mental level. Of course there is another advanced channel, which is mental telepathy, but this has not yet been developed or practiced properly to become a widely used medium for mental connectedness. Then finally, the spiritual connection which takes us back to the need for religion and the need to worship a superior, all knowing, all responsible being who takes care of all our needs.
The main fear of death that humans have is that of going through this final experience alone. This, I think, is one of the reasons why many have the near death experience in which they die and then come back after going through a very beautiful experience, or after seeing and being comforted by those who preceded them down that road. This is another attempt at comforting ourselves out of the terror of aloneness.
The very nature of each one of us being confined in an individual physical entity, the body, makes for the natural separateness of each person. Add to that the ineffectual means of communication through speech or words, which adds to that another layer of mental separateness. The differences in education, customs, beliefs and even tastes all add to that feeling of aloneness.
We can only touch one another very rarely and only briefly through a shared joke, a shared thought, a shared love or a shared pain. Even then it is only a very brief union that ends with the end of that which is shared. Our thirst for oneness has made it a need to think of all aspects of existence as parts of a whole, we philosophize our being as a particle of a whole, this alleviates the sharpness of our aloneness and lessens the pain of that fear. With some religions we become one with God after death, with some philosophies we dissolve and become one with the Universe after we die, therefore in both we still exist in some shape or form.
We cannot accept that life is finite, that we are separate and that each has his/her own unique journey, internal and external, where we are only very briefly touched by others. After thousands of years we are still living in the dark caves of our ancestors, for we still have this fear of being alone in the dark.
8 Sept. 2014