The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Lines 232-5

Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony.

Our world has never been more connected and more isolated. A phone call from my iPhone in the United States to a coworker in India is a marvel of technical accomplishment.  I might be sitting by the lake in a remote part of rural Texas, but the signal zips through digital and analog circuitry across high speed lines, through perhaps hundreds of routers, into space and back – all in a few seconds.  When she answers the call in Hindi however, though we have certainly accomplished connectivity, no communication has occurred.

Communication is of essence, spiritual.

As Malcolm Guite writes:

The poem was written at the end of the eighteenth century, but in some respects the loneliness evoked in this verse may strike us even more deeply in the twenty-first century than it did its first readers. Loneliness of this profound kind, utter isolation, a sense of being cut off not only from other people but from the cosmos itself, has come to be one of the most common experiences, even perhaps the defining experience, of our own age. And this is not simply the loneliness of the increasing numbers in our society who are living alone, from the bereaved or abandoned elderly, to the middle-aged divorced, to singles in their minimalist studio flats, but a deeper more endemic kind of loneliness: a sense of disconnection, anomie, alienation; that even when we are with people we are somehow all the more isolated in our own tiny, absurd, islanded consciousness, separated and marooned in the concavity of our own little skulls with a wide, wide sea of nothingness between us and any other. Ironically, this feeling of isolation is actually deepened rather than relieved by the plethora of online social networks and the almost manic fury with which we acquire virtual friends only to find that no one actually knows us, not even we ourselves.

The root cause of this loneliness is philosophical. It reflects the shift at the birth of modernism, from the living, sacral view of the cosmos as an inter-connected web of human and angelic consciousnesses all participating, to a greater or lesser degree, in an all-pervasive divine presence, expressed in and through the physical, to the modern mechanistic, instrumental view of nature in which matter is dead, inert, and essentially meaningless, its motion caused by blind mechanism and its apparent flashes of beauty and meaning no more than a mirage.

What is the cure to LONELINESS?






Rick Wilcox is Editor in Chief


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Rick Wilcox

Rick is voraciously interested in the holistic transformation of people individually and in an organizational context - enabled by technology, educated continuously through multi-channel systems and informed by the wisdom of history's greatest thinkers. He is a Ph.D. student at Faulkner University, focusing on the appearance of the Logos in English Literature. He earned a Master of Arts in Christian Education at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Master of Science in Management from Sam Houston State University. His undergraduate studies earned a BA with double majors in Sociology and Theology from Houston Baptist University. Rick is an ordained minister who leads the Parenting Teens Adult Community at Faith Bible Church in The Woodlands Texas.