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Loneliness

“Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.” – CG Jung

When a boy in Indianapolis was very young, his mother wondered why the boy stared at the dictionary. Why did he turn its pages for hours?

He hadn’t taken many steps yet, but his mouth made many sounds. Most began with a pattern that looks like these letters:

“Actually…”

But whenever he said this, the sounds that followed were unexpected and strange to people around him.

The boy’s father was frightened by these sounds even though he was a man who ran into burning buildings when he heard howling sirens.

So the mother drove the boy to the nearest university to find out what might be wrong.

“What’s wrong with my son’s brain?” she asked, hoping for an important explanation.

“Or what’s right with it?” she asked with even more hope.

The men at the University had capitalized letters after their names and everyone could see they understood anything important.

They lifted their clipboards and told her:

“We will find out!”

They asked the little boy questions.

The boy’s mouth moved in answers. “This is to this as that is to that” was the pattern the men seemed to enjoy hearing most, and the boy enjoyed making these sounds. Eventually the clipboards were filled up by letters. The men added the letters and made up a number they said was important.

“We have measured and tested the boy’s brain, and now we will explain him to you,” the men told the mother. She listened carefully.

She asked for a copy of the papers on their clipboards, because some of the patterns were ones she had very much hoped to hear and see.

Staring at the papers many years later, the boy thought of how much his mother had seemed to enjoy the letters, and especially the made up numbers.

But when his brain made them all into a larger pattern it looked like this:

“You’ll look around at a beautiful and terrible world and usually feel unable to communicate the patterns that seem most important.”

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