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Diane Vallere

Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature

Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature: Third Edition - Ben Mijuskovic This book is definitely going to have its niche. There are going to be people who love it and other people who find it depressing and complicated. I happen to be one of the former. I absolutely loved reading this book, I've actually read it twice, and I have cited Mijuskovic's theories and speculation in at least two research papers regarding the human psyche and social interactions. It's a curious topic and the text is incredibly fascinating. Freud built his theories around the idea that humans are sexually motivated, Mijuskovic has built his theory around the idea that humans are motivated by loneliness and the desire to avoid it by seeking human interaction.

Consider the following examples: When a toddler has misbehaved, how is he/she frequently punished? Perhaps by sending them to their room or to time-out; a situation in which they will be isolated away from the rest of the family. What about a criminal inmate who requires additional punishment? They are sent to solitary confinement. Do you remember the Tom Hanks movie, Castaway? While isolated from the rest of society on an island he went nearly insane.

I loved how Mijuskovic integrated Greek and Roman mythology, Biblical stories, and other writings into his book to continually support the theme of loneliness. I am an avid lover of mythology and religious stories so I enjoyed having these themes incorporated into this book. When he discussed the punishment of Prometheus or the story of Job I found myself really connecting with the material and considering his theories. He does make some very valid points and he has a great perspective on human behavior.

As I said, this isn't a book for everyone but it was a fantastic book for me. I enjoyed it immensely! I will admit that the vocabulary is quite elevated in some places and I did have to refer to my dictionary more than a few times to make sure that I was comprehending the material correctly but I don't mind doing that. I enjoy expanding my vocabulary. There is no doubt that you will read this book and come away with a new perspective on human behavior, even to the point where you question your own motives. I found myself doing that this evening when making plans for the weekend. My husband and I both were discussing whether we wanted to go out to this big festival because we wanted to experience the festival or if we simply didn't want to be alone. What was our motivation? Were we seeking an experience or additional human companionship? You will consider what loneliness is, how it is defined, and how it impacts your life and society as a whole.

If you are interested in human behavior, philosophy, psychology or simply curious about identifying your own motivations behind your decisions this is well worth picking up and reading. I finished it in two days easily simply because I couldn't put it down.