I published a book review for Dr. Ben Mijuskovic’s new book Feeling Lonesome: The Philosophy and Psychology of Loneliness in Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review. It is a terrific work that handles the history, philosophy, and psychology of loneliness as only Dr. Mijuskovic can.
Loneliness is much more than just feeling sad or isolated. It is the ultimate ground source of unhappiness-the underlying reality of all negative human behavior that manifests as anxiety, depression, envy, guilt, hostility, or shame. It underlies aggression, domestic violence, murder, PTSD, suicide, and other serious issues. This book explains why the drive to avoid loneliness and secure intimacy is the most powerful psychological need in all human beings; documents how human beings gravitate between two motivational poles: loneliness and intimacy; and advocates for an understanding of loneliness through the principles of idealism, rationalism, and insight. Readers will understand the underlying theory of consciousness that explains why people are lonely, thereby becoming better equipped to recognize sources of loneliness in themselves as well as others. Written by a licensed social worker and former mental health therapist, the book documents why whenever individuals or groups feel lonely, alienated, estranged, disenfranchised, or rejected, they will either withdraw within and shut down, or they will attack others with little thought of consequence to either themselves or others. Perhaps most importantly, the work identifies the antidotes to loneliness as achieving a sense of belonging, togetherness, and intimacy through empathic emotional attachments, which come from a mutual sharing of “lived experiences” such as feelings, meanings, and values; constant positive communication; and equal decision making.
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We are appreciative for Kerrin A. Jacobs’s complementary review of Loneliness for Metapsychology Online Reviews:
In summary, Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature is a memorable book which certainly appeals a philosophically inclined audience. Ben Lazare Mijuskovic thoughtfully and stringently develops his hypotheses, which are very often remarkably clear, presented against a delicately rich and complex theoretical background. Mijuskovic rewards the reader with thought-provoking moments and invites one to further reflect the critical potential and actuality of his theory in the light of the most recent theories of an embodied, embedded, enacted and extended mind.
Click here to read the full review.
Parker E. Lichtenstein provides a helpful synopsis in The Psychological Record:
“The author has employed an interdisciplinary approach to the problem of loneliness. While psychologists have touched upon the problem, they have not done justice to it. Mijuskovic sees loneliness not simply as a frequent human condition but rather an aspect of man’s ontological being. In his words, man is ‘intrinsically alone and irredeemably lost’ and is ‘continually struggling to escape the solipsistic prison of his frightening solitude.’ This basic thesis is supported through philosophical analysis and wide-ranging examination of relevant literature…. [T]he author has presented a challenging picture of much human behavior as a flight from loneliness. On the whole this is an intriguing book which should be of particular interest to psychologists of a humanistic persuasion.”
Over twenty years later Mijuskovic picks up where he left off with the last chapter of Contingent Immaterialism, in an article for the International Journal of Philosophical Practice – a journal of the American Society for Philosophy, Counseling and Psychotherapy – entitled “Theories of Consciousness, Therapy, and Loneliness,” he discusses the clinical or therapeutic ramifications of the therapist’s philosophy of mind. A materialist philosophy typically leads the therapist to use chemical or medicinal solutions; whereas, an immaterialist philosophy focuses upon counseling and treating the patient’s mental state before resulting to medicinal treatment. This article is a beautiful look at the interplay between the philosophical and practical sides of the simplicity argument. Individual lives have been drastically affected by the materialistic philosophy of mind held by the majority of psychiatrists and psychologists. Mijuskovic advocates more holistic approaches in addition to medicine to provide a more well-rounded practice in our clinics.
The entire work is available for download here.