Postmodern Loneliness and Myths about Love

Last update: 01 April, 2020

chica en un muelle experimentando las soledades postmodernas

Postmodern loneliness is the result of the concept of individualism being seen as very important for a long time now. Society has imposed two very contradictory ideas upon us. One is that everyone must create their own path. The other is that being alone is a terrible thing.

Also, postmodern loneliness is strengthened by the fact that it is becoming more common to fear each other. The concept of the neighbor has almost completely disappeared. In our world, the people in your environment are strangers. You do not want to know anything about them. There is something threatening about strangers.

The result is a society where people are increasingly alone but struggle against loneliness. We have created a world in which we are not able to live in a community but we are also not alone. Both loneliness and company are a problem. 

Loneliness, a concept that became problematic

Until Romanticism, the theme of loneliness was not significant. Before then, loneliness was not something to think deeply about or a source of existential problems. You accepted the fact that you were born alone and will die alone.

man on the beach symbolizing postmodern loneliness

Individualism didn’t occupy much thought either. People basically lived in a community. It was common for the entire family to live in one house. Grandparents, children, grandchildren and close relatives occupied the same space. Neighborhood relations were also very strong. People knew each other and they lived close together.

At the same time, there were collective rituals which involved practically everyone. Mass or Sunday service, local parties, etc. There was a clear concept that everyone was part of a community.

This changed with Romanticism. The couple became the answer to everything. The ideal was an isolated, private couple in their own world. Society gradually began to organize itself around the couple and the small family nucleus it generated. At the same time, loneliness began to take on more importance and became undesirable.

Postmodern loneliness

After the move from the large family and community to a society of couples, a new reality began to emerge with the introduction of new technologies. So, postmodern loneliness was officially ushered in. There now exists a fundamental contradiction: we are connected with the whole world and feel more alone than ever.  

Mujer triste con el móvil simbolizando las soledades postmodernas

Some people feel so lonely that they feel bad if they do not get a like on their social media post. In fact, there is so much loneliness that people become addicted to social networks. They are hooked by the fact that they are receiving and sending messages, even if they don’t say anything.

In turn, within the framework of postmodern loneliness, the couple gained disproportionate meaning. People assume that not having a partner is being alone, as if the world was only made up of couples. And a breakup throws us into an abyss of total misery as if the couple was the only source of happiness.

Question the myths of love and loneliness.

Perhaps the time has come to question the myths around loneliness and love. Postmodern loneliness prove that something is wrong. The culture, as it is, is not leading us towards feeling peace, fulfillment or happiness.  The opposite is happening. Emotional difficulties and psychological problems are becoming more frequent.

Let’s start by remembering something that most of us know. We all need love. However romantic love is just one the multiple manifestations of love. There is also love of family, friends, ideas, causes, humanity and of course, ourselves. Reducing our scope to only the love of a partner emotionally impoverishes us and makes us more vulnerable.

Árbol cerca del mar

Likewise, it is worth it to question the content of postmodern loneliness. When did we begin to reject loneliness? It is a reality from which we cannot escape. We were born alone and will die alone. Others are always in our lives in the form of a loan. The better we understand ourselves and our loneliness, we are better prepared to live and also to die.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.