Fear of loneliness

Fear of loneliness, fear of abandonment, fear of being alone… To me, there is nothing “bad” about these. For millions of years we have evolved from ancestral animals to be hardwired as herd animals, as a matter of *survival*.

I’d like to relate that inescapable biological reality to the concept of “soul.” Many of us often think that we could, or should, “rise above” our neurochemistry and hardwired biology. That is a very grave misunderstanding of Christian theology, yet often perpetrated by “Christian” religions (there are other movements which would have us believe this, too).

You are not, as a human being with consciousness, limited strictly to/by your biology. But, you CANNOT escape it, either. So don’t hold yourself to some fantasy ideal or belief that you CAN escape it. To “transcend” your mortal biology is NOT to escape (or replace) it. Nor even to rise above it, without carrying it with you.

To me, the best Christian theology about the body and soul was inherited from Greek philosophers 4 centuries before Christianity, and articulated 1600 years later as the Medieval period gave way to the Renaissance (in European history terms). More than 300 years BC, Greeks (and some others) were already thinking deeply about the soul (psyche, and consciousness). They thought of it as neither separate nor separable from the mortal body. There were philosophies which competed with this, and in the Christian era, there have been theologies that contradict this framework, and they were rejected as heresies which fall woefully short of the pre-Christian and Christian mystery of body and soul.

My point here is that your mortal body and mortal nature are not something to be escaped; in fact, very much the contrary — according to the dogma of “resurrection of the body.” Your fear of being alone is not a signal to be overcome. Your instinct “to belong” is inseparable from your perfect nature.

Let’s be careful about the word “transcend”; it comes from the Latin, meaning “to climb ACROSS.” As we use it today, be careful not to think of it as “rising above” something so much that we conquer it or leave it behind.

A careful understanding of the Christian theology (and even pre-Christian, Aristotelian metaphysics) about the soul in no way includes the notion of leaving behind [our evolutionarily hardwired] body and its nature. Your soul is co-created to be fully attached to your body and to give that body life (see Thomas Aquinas and/or Christian theology about resurrection of the body).

I think of a complete human being as a mysterious blend of ego and soul which cannot be detangled. The ego is the faculty by which we sense that we are a separate, individual, autonomous agent in existence. The soul is a faculty by which we sense our common connectedness. Your fear of loneliness is nothing more than a very perfect and natural signal from your soul. We can “hear the voice of our soul” when we do many things, but, surely, we hear it most clearly in solitude.

Neil D. 2021-08-19

Published by Neil Durso

Just another mid-lifer sharing the journey...

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