Hi Mark,

Isn't this the universal question we are all asking always? I wonder if it's accurate to think of it as new, or as a consequence of recent disconnectedness. Though I agree with most of what you're saying. In my graduate program in Jungian psychology, I remember my professor addressing existential loneliness as when individual consciousness forms, so does separateness, and with it a loss of the oneness we had before consciousness (with our mother, the universe, God, matter, whatever you believe.) The idea was that there is inherent loneliness in being, and we spend our lives trying to put meaning on it, trying to assuage it by merging with others or looking for a relief to that feeling of individual-ness/separateness that is so painful. Nothing new-- as old as what it is to be human.

Lately I'm thinking a lot about this because my dad has moved into assisted care. The 100 ways he is disregarded in everyday interactions sometimes makes me full of rage for him (interestingly he is not at all full of rage.) Today, for example, his doctor kept talking to me instead of to him, explaining things to me as if my dad wasn't there. I in turn kept looping my dad back into the conversation to demonstrate for the doctor that he was a person, he can participate in the conversation and deserves to be included. Anyway, I think about this missing village all the time. I think that if I wasn't single, if instead I lived in a multi-generational home with some family members who were say, working on a farm maybe, or jarring jam perhaps, then my dad could be home and the conversations and the care that he needs wouldn't need to be outsourced. I can't pull that out of thin air though, I don't know how to make it, and I have to work to live, and I can't even afford the care he receives right now. But I'm longing for that village and it's not out of my own loneliness--it's bigger than even my own loneliness. Funnily enough, a thought I never expected to have, is that my dad in his assisted care home is IN the village. He's not lonely, he's surrounded by people and gossip and singing and human energy. I, living alone, am not. How strange is that? Anyway, the village you create. Thank you for your post-- your writing very often resonates with me.

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Feb 18·edited Feb 18

One interesting thing about the quote on blame, is that blaming our parents is not only misplaced, it also distracts us from “blaming” the system we live in, and disempowers us to then diagnose and repair it. It shifts the responsibility to the individual instead of looking to collective action. I think it’s a lovely question to ask ourselves “how might we create a village?”

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Thank you for this post! It resonated so much it was spooky. I had literally had this exact conversation with a girlfriend the day before; you just articulated it better than I did! <3

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