A great opportunity to republish one of MorrisseysWorld's most cherished articles:
An Essay on Loneliness in the 20th Century, 8th August, 2012
Before television, before radio, before photography, the kiss was a beautiful accident, a mysterious
rumour, an uncertain recoiling. The senses were clean and vigorous - deprived, yearning and
unfettered by the morass of over-stimulation, artless communication and deadened intellect, which
characterise 21st century living. When television year by year becomes something closer to parent,
teacher, judgemental peer; the source of knowledge, the cause of laughter, the purpose of living; the
homogenisation of humankind is almost complete. Now that television is what we do, our actual
lives are relegated to a sideshow, a meaningless burden which we undertake with extreme
reluctance, like sleep to a child. The mindless carnival of mediocrity that is media-brand Britain is
nothing less than a cultural cancer.
In the 21st century loneliness has taken on an entirely different meaning. Loneliness is no longer
silent, grey and voiceless; it is loud, high definition colour - voices, voices, always voices. They cry,
shriek, lavishly swoon; they fawn over and under; they ignore, deny, speak over; while we
matriculate into media-brand existence; we copy and we adjust. Loneliness in the 20th century was
not displaceable. Even when technologies arose to submerge the quietly hollow screaming - of
boredom, of emptiness, of loneliness - under an ocean of sounds, pictures and feelings, we were not
entirely of the media. Loneliness is no longer satisfying. Loneliness is virtual reality where once it
was nothing at all. The space has gone. The imaginary life of media is now so deeply embedded, we
are all television. Television is us.
Technology is the plughole through which our humanity pours like used bathwater. No heart yearns
like the lonely heart. The mad cravings of the lonely are the very soul of romance. Facebook iPod
Internet Flat-Screen Television; dry rot in the fabric of the heart. When I walked home in the rain, I
tasted those Pinot Noir lips of rich cherry, I saw those eyes of black. Now there is no need. Every
thing is at your fingertips, flat and grimly satisfying.
Today's youth will fall in love on Facebook.
The quiet dignity of life smeared with Nutella, images of the royals projected in all their
ostentatious stupidity, the vile patriotic bluster of a war-mongering elite, keen to keep the working
class and middle class in line with their austerity scheme. The budget for unnecessary war is, as
ever, limitless. The outcry is... nowhere.
The drip, drip, drip of the media cycle. The same stories on half-hourly repeat. Man in suit. Younger
woman with expensive perm. Smiling through empty eyes. Celebrity watching.
Loneliness was a threat, a promise, a dream, a nightmare.
Today loneliness is nothing but boredom.
Pragmatists fall in love using their senses. Idealists fall in love while they're alone. But when, oh
when are you alone?
The nineteen seventies were a time of tremendous excitement. Fighting bravely against religious
morality seemed to be the vocation of any intelligent person. Feminism liberated the feminine spirit.
Gay rights achieved lasting safety for the persecuted. Animal rights and vegetarianism spread like
wild fire and still do so today, though they have not yet created a secure environment for animals.
Yet we have replaced one form of mindless moral oppression with another.
Where once religion drove censorship and oppression, it is now the government.
Can human beings not simply be free?
'Hell is other people' wrote Sartre.
Cast aside technology and embrace solitude; embrace yourself.