Friday, 13 June 2008

Three quotes on loneliness

It is not good for man to be alone. Hitherto all things [in Genesis] that have been named, were approved of God to be very good: loneliness is the first thing which God’s eye named not good.”
        —John Milton, Tetrachordon (1645).

“Loneliness has little to do with what we do or where we do it, whether we’re married or unmarried, optimists or pessimists, heterosexual or homosexual. Loneliness has to do with the sudden clefts we experience in every human relation, the gaps that open up with such stomach-turning unexpectedness. In a brief moment, I and my brother or sister have moved away into different worlds, and there is no language we can share…. It is in the middle of intimacy that the reality of loneliness most dramatically appears.”
        —Rowan Williams, A Ray of Darkness (1994), pp. 121-26.

“I’m a stranger here and no one sees me –
Except you.”
        —Bob Dylan “Nobody ’Cept You” (1973)

11 Comments:

Lilith said...

Many people are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges

Tor Hershman said...

A wee bit of moi's parody of Dylan's
"The Times They Are A Changing"

"The Times They Ain't A Changin'"

"Pretend you're a sweet Christian,
pretend you're a hurt Jew/
Pertend you're a Buddhist or
Satanist, too/
At end you ain't nothing but DNA goo..."

Stay on groovin' safari,
Tor

John Hartley said...

It was not good for man to be alone,
so when God breathed the spark of life divine
and placed him in the garden he had sown,
companionship was part of his design.

It was not good for man to have no friend,
so God formed birds and beasts for him to name:
created wild, yet there for us to tend,
responding to our care, becoming tame.

It was not good for man to have no ties,
so God made one to be his equal mate.
In cleaving, caring, sharing, loving eyes,
we find companionship, we celebrate.

It was not good that man should sin and fall,
hurt self and others, hide and be condemned.
So God came down: in Christ he died for all,
that we might live in him, become his friend.

We thank you, God, for all these gifts you give:
our gardens, pets, our spouses and our friends.
Help us to learn to trust you as we live,
and find companionship which never ends.

Words copyright © John Hartley 2007. All rights reserved.
Verses 1-3 based on Genesis 2.

Tim Chesterton said...

That's a powerful quote from Rowan Williams. I'll be mulling that one for a while.

Erin said...

Milton, Dylan, Williams: the perfect place to add Oingo Boingo :P

When I step out the door
the jungle is alive
I do not trust my ears
I dont believe my eyes
I will not fall in love
I cannot risk the bet
Cause hearts are fragile toys
so easy to forget

Geoff Smith said...

I do find it interesting how in the middle of a party I find myself more intensely alone than I do when I'm literally in the middle of the desert, in a hospital by myself, or sleeping in my truck.

Anonymous said...

Surely Dylan's line from Joanna 'we sit here stranded 'though we're all doing our best to deny it' is Williams point put more succinctly. Hart's contention in his little essay Christ and nothing probably is the best explanation of why.

Shane said...

Having perused these quotes on the meaning of loneliness I will turn for spiritual counsel to my dear friend the Rev. Jack Daniels.

Geoff Smith said...

I do find it interesting how in the middle of a party I find myself more intensely alone than I do when I'm literally in the middle of the desert, in a hospital by myself, or sleeping in my truck.

Tim Chesterton said...

That's a powerful quote from Rowan Williams. I'll be mulling that one for a while.

Lilith said...

Many people are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges

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