The news alerts flashed across the screens. Another school shooting by a sulking, isolated young man.
Every time this happens, we look for a common thread. Video games. Political affiliation. Guns. Anti-depressant drugs. Some factors fit the pattern. Others don’t.
People have had easy access to guns since the early days of this nation, so you can’t blame that. Video games numb young men to the “killing sprees,” and yet millions play and never would think about pulling a gun. The killers come from the far-left, the far-right and all points in between. Atheists, Christians, and Muslims are all equal opportunity killers.
And so we are still left wondering.
Have we considered the impact of Loneliness, especially when evil enters into the picture.
These lone wolves, inspired by little else than movies, or news stories or video games, never tell a soul of their murderous intents. There is no one to confide in, no one to trust, no one who can separate out the crazy from the normal.
“Is there nothing else out there?”
Amazingly, in this world of endless entertainment, active lives and bustling streets, men and women are still empty and alone. I put the cause directly in lap of modernism, the god of this age. Modernism teaches us that the material world is the end of all things. This ideal maintains that the scientific method, the world that is measured and observed and touched, is all that ever was and that there will ever be.
Is this all? Is there really nothing else out there?
From this seed has sprouted the weed of thought that technology can solve all our ills. If technology is indeed our king, then humankind is its servant. As on que, secular society does all it can to silence the supernatural. You don’t have to answer to a higher authority.
This boy felt that there was nothing else in life.
Loneliness robs our passion
Just look down your street. If it’s like mine, we have built fences around our castles, avoiding any neighborly contact with the push of a garage door opener. We enter these castles eating quick heat dinners and hovering over computer screens with no true connection to our fellow man.
The only substitute is an eerie quiet as we are alone with our empty heartbeats. Left with nothing but machines and computers and inventions, we are isolated and empty creatures. While evenings were once filled with visiting family and friends, they are now filled with parents and their children tapping out directions in front of computer screens, exchanging emails and chatting with strangers.
Thomas Wolfe said that “loneliness is and always has been the central and inevitable experience of every man.” It surrounds our thoughts. Loneliness robs our passion. It strangles our hearts.
Photo by Rhendi Rukmana on Unsplash
It’s not about poverty
Most of these killers from middle- to upper-middle income homes. They aren’t killing because they are poor.
While money buys automobiles, homes, and clothes, it ultimately buys isolation. If we were without this wealth, we would once again learn interdependence on each other. We would learn the meaning of borrowing a cup of sugar, of helping a neighbor out of a predicament, of community.
Materialism is such a false lover. It leaves us empty and cold. Still, we charge and we consume. And in the end, we swallow the bitter pill of rejection. Our toys stand lifeless, unable to meet our deepest needs.
Loneliness transcends all classes of people. I’ve lived in one of the most affluent communities in the nation. Parties. Purchases. Plans. These people substituted busyness for importance. And at night, like the rest of us, they still look in the mirror and the hollowness mocks them.
Reaching out to fill the holes in our souls, we find nothing. So we doubt our self worth, pushing ourselves away from others and burrowing in a world that no one can understand.
Where do they all belong?
Combating loneliness cannot be overcome with companionship; otherwise a dog would fit the bill. Walking down a busy city street can be among the loneliest activities if you don’t know anyone.
We fill the void with casual relationships. We run from pleasure to pleasure, looking for ‘soul mates’ and acquaintances. Rarely do we find a true friend that we can cry with or share our deep needs. Those that do allow a sliver of light quickly shut the door when we ‘get personal.’
Our lack of intimacy causes us to try to fill the void with work and pursuits. We work long hours for recognition that never comes. We drop in our beds exhausted — and lonely.
The Beatles sang the song “Eleanor Rigby” a generation ago. She was a simple woman who walked the streets in complete isolation, a mere extra in the movie of life. 52 years later “Eleanor” is more than a simple analogy, she has morphed into a picture of modern society. The song was insightful into human nature, yet provided no solutions.
“Where do they all belong?”