Loneliness is a major contemporary phenomenon, gaining more and more impact on people’s lives. The exacting urban environment, in the face of social and technological changes, never leaves the individual in peace – it forever urges him, stimulates his nerves and attacks his senses in an endless sequence of fleeting perceptions and random impressions.
Many amongst us seek simulations of life that seem more exciting than life itself. We fear a reality which is not mediated by computers. Thousands of text messages sent daily by people all over the world, who spend endless hours in social networks, have created a new reality of social alienation, unparalleled in its dimensions compared to past generations. Thus we become victims of the illusion of virtual friendships on the web, where we collect thousands of friends whom we imagine to be human relationships that only lead us to further loneliness. The more technology advances, the more our mental lives retreat.
Loneliness and solitude are seemingly similar but are in fact very different scenarios, in which the individual is alone. Loneliness is a state of segregation of the individual, while solitude is a voluntary state in which the individual is independent and can appreciate the space surrounding him, and where perhaps, he might find the best possible company.
In his book "Between Man and Man" Martin Buber writes: “We have seen how in the history of the human spirit man again and again becomes solitary… that is, he seeks a divine form of being with which, solitary as he is, he can communicate ;he stretches his hands out beyond the world to meet this form. But we have also seen that there is a way leading from one edge of solitude to the next, that is, that each solitude is colder and stricter than the preceding, and salvation from it more difficult. But finally man reached a condition where he can no longer stretch his hands out from his solitude to meet a divine form. That is at the basis of Nietzsche’s saying, ‘God is dead’. Apparently, nothing more remains now to the solitary man but to seek an intimate communication with himself.”
Raphie Etgar, Curator