Loneliness and presentness

Yesterday, in the middle of a philosophical conversation about a conversation partner’s sense of loneliness, it occurred to me that loneliness just is the experience of not being present. Loneliness is the word we typically use to designate this nebulous feeling of lack: the other is not there, the past in which love was is now gone, and there is some other place I would rather be.

Contrariwise, to be there is to be genuinely attentive to what is around one. Attention requires focusing one’s concentration on the specific, significant features of some object. I pay attention to the particular way in which the white dove preens itself with a view to honoring its way of existing. In a second breath, reverence expands my vision from this white dove before me to the beautiful world in which this white dove fittingly exists.

Attention reveals itself within the rhythms of eternity, in the view from here, and loneliness has no time in eternity, no view but otherwise.