The pain of being alone

That is what we are left with.  

But there is a caveat. At its core, how lonely this aspiration must be.

No wonder then that in the company of cheerful dancing, merry drinking, endless traveling, and fearless sexual encounters, one can still feel so alone. 

In this period, the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman claims that "there are no permanent bonds, and any that we take up for a time must be tied loosely so that they can be untied again, as quickly and as effortlessly as possible."

Alas, loneliness is at the very heart of the modern condition.

The way out

Humanity yearns for certainty. That is what underpins much of people's belief in God, the aspiration to be financially stable, and above all, the desire to be loved. 

But the modern condition as we know it today simply renders it more visible and desirable.  The only problem is that certainty in itself has become elusive.  And so we can only daydream about "forever".

But to daydream is not enough. 

In writing this piece, I can only hope that we start talking about the pain of being alone. With each other. 

Far too often we leave it in the soul's interstices of deniability. But talking about it is the first step towards not being afraid of it.  

And then maybe, just maybe, the pain of being alone won't be so deep anymore. –


Jayeel Serrano Cornelio, PhD,  is the a sociologist at the Ateneo de Manila University. He was once a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Germany.  Please share with him your thoughts on Twitter @jayeel_cornelio.

Jayeel Cornelio

Jayeel Cornelio, PhD is Associate Professor and the Director of the Development Studies Program at the Ateneo de Manila University. A sociologist of religion, he is a recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the National Academy of Science and Technology. He i...