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Analyzing Loneliness

Yovan P. Putra

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Loneliness is a unique phenomenon for humans. We can analyze this phenomenon from many points of view. In this article we will analyze this phenomenon from two perspectives, the study of subjective experience and bio-psychology.

If we analyze from the study of subjective experience, soon we will find out that loneliness, in fact every experience, is very much related to the mental representation created by the person. In order to understand certain experience, human cannot only rely to his/her senses. In fact senses actually only channels by which stimulus transferred from the world outside into his/her head. Every body makes mental representation about everything. Mental representation is the model of external experience (experience that is going on outside his/her head) that is created inside his/her head. This mental experience is the internal experience (experience that is going on inside his/her head) for human. Hence mental representation is the natural way for human to perceive his experience.

Every body has the capability to create unlimited alternatives of mental representations related to certain external experience. Nothing stands in his/her way limiting the creation of mental representations related to any external experiences. The mental representation that is being created will determine the emotional state the person will undergo. In turn this emotional state will determine also the person physiological states and health condition.

Every body can make various kinds of mental representation. A person can make mental representation of loneliness as the state that is drowning or even eating him/her alive bit by bit. He/she can also make mental representation of loneliness as a potential condition that can generate abundance of ideas/inspirations that can boost his/her creativity. The first mental representation will ruin him/her while the next will build him/her up. This mental representation soon will create certain pattern. Hence we will have the pattern of excellence and the pattern of self-destruction in a person's live.

Loneliness can also be perceived from the bio-psychological point of view, which is related to human gene. In a survey of 8,387 siblings, 48 percent of identical twins and 28 percent of fraternal twins reported similar levels of moderate to extreme loneliness, with much higher agreement than siblings who were not twins. The results come from a 12-year study done in the Netherlands by psychologist at Free University, the University of Amsterdam and the University of Chicago. This finding, suggest that some individuals have a genetic vulnerability to feelings of loneliness.

Such a propensity should not, however, be thought of as an immutable trait, such as eye color, says psychology professor John T. Cacioppo of the University of Chicago. Rather the genetic bent should be viewed as a risk factor that makes certain individuals more sensitive to environmental factors that can cause loneliness. Because loneliness is associated with medical conditions such as elevated blood pressure, knowing your inherited predisposition to it could allow you to make better to health decisions. “You might not take that requires you to move across the country and leave friends and family behind, " Cacioppo notes.

But most of all, this finding conveys us a message that the body has connection with the mind.


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