Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature

Non-Fiction - General
306 Pages
Reviewed on 02/15/2013
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite

Ben Lazare Mijuskovic has done serious research on loneliness and the role it has played in literature and in psychology and philosophy throughout the ages. In the introduction to "Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature" he concludes that "man is a social, a "political", that is to say, a communal animal," and on page 1 of his first chapter, he also writes that "I believe that man has always and everywhere suffered from feelings of acute loneliness and that his entire existence is consumed by the struggle to escape his fate." Mijuskovic acknowledges further on in this opening chapter that "the drive to avoid a sense of isolation, actually constitutes the dominant psychic force underlying all human consciousness and conduct." The author quotes from Rollo May, Hegel, Plato, Sartre, and Malrau and discusses Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe" and Marcel Proust's "Swann's Way". The author feels that Arthur Machen's "The Hill of Dreams" is the most frightening portrayal of loneliness and that Thomas Wolfe is the foremost novelist using the theme of loneliness. But the author states clearly that this is not the loneliness of the dreamer, the poet or the prophet, but that of every man.

"Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology and Literature" is a deep and extremely thoughtful work with excellent footnotes, references and appendices. This is not a work for the casual reader and is recommended for college and university library collections. Ben Lazare Mijuskovic is a scholar and a serious writer, and "Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology and Literature" shows his seriousness and depth of knowledge. It is a brilliant work of research and its learned presence will be welcome wherever scholars are present.

Anne Boling

B.L. Mijuskovic offers readers a fascinating, in-depth study of loneliness based on his theories and research. Mijuskovic has attempted to keep the text simple and easy to understand, for the most part he has accomplished his goal. The readers that will benefit most from this book are in the fields of psychology and philosophy. The author draws on mythology, Biblical scripture and many other sources to support his theory. Genesis 2:18, “It is not good that man should be alone.” Mijuskovic asks readers to consider the “Time Out” method used to discipline children; they are isolated from others. The author breaks down loneliness into four categories: physical loneliness, mental loneliness, emotional loneliness, and the desire to be alone (without others present).

B.L. Mijuskovic’s “Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature” is a very interesting and thought-provoking read. I consider this to be an excellent study on loneliness and man’s need for others. I found the author’s theory that the desire to be with others or part of a group comes from our basic nature rather than our environment. Well done B.L. Mijuskovic.

Bernadette Acocella

“Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature” by author, B.L. Mijuskovic addresses our need for companionship. We are social creatures needing others around for protection and interaction. There are some people that would deem themselves loners and while that may be their personality, even they have the occasional desire for companionship. Author Ben Mijuskovic has created a pseudo-academic analysis of loneliness which covers philosophy, psychology and literature, that is both educational and intriguing.

“Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature” is not a book for the layman. While the author has done an excellent job simplifying his research it is still a lot to absorb. The author has obviously spent much time in researching his theories. In addition to the educated reader, I would recommend this book for experts in the three mentioned fields, college students and academic libraries.

Dr. Oliva Dsouza

Loneliness is a much talked about subject. Does research prove what we have always imagined it to be? Ben Lazare Mijuskovic takes us through an enchanting, exploratory journey through our mind and consciousness to reveal some important facts about loneliness. The various references from historical to present day literature provide insight into the evolving definition of loneliness over the ages. The human mind and its acts are governed by a desire to escape loneliness which is next to impossible. All of us have to deal with it and have to accept that one can never truly and fully share one's consciousness with others.

"Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature" by Ben Lazare Mijuskovic is a well-researched book with excellent references from a variety of literature and works from experts like Kant, Freud, Hegel, Aristotle, Descartes and Tolstoy. The author has compiled his research and findings from philosophy, psychology, and literature to give us a comprehensive perspective on loneliness and its effect on the human mind. We are all afraid of being lonely and this fear drives us to feel, think, and do as we do. This premise has been explored from different angles and it gives us an insight into the way our mind perceives and deals with loneliness. The interdisciplinary approach used to support the findings and the author's take on loneliness held my attention and actually made me reflect on my own behavior and actions at times. For those wanting to delve into the depths of the topic "Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature" is definitely the book to add to their collection. Great work Mr. Lzare, your effort and hard work shine through.

Maria Beltran

"Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology and Literature" is a book that explores the meaning of loneliness and puts forth the theory that it is a feeling that humans can never avoid. This is in contrast to the idea that loneliness is caused by external conditions. It consists of 307 pages and uses an interdisciplinary approach on philosophy, psychology and literature. The first chapter expounds on the fact that our society already uses this concept of loneliness, like when prison wardens send a misbehaving inmate to solitary confinement or punishing someone with exile. The second chapter refers to Kant’s 'Critique of Pure Reason' where the philosopher wants to know what reason alone can determine without the use of other human senses and other faculties. The next chapters discuss 'Loneliness and Narcissism', 'Loneliness and Phenomenology' and 'Loneliness and the Possibility of a Private Language'. Appendix A, 'Loneliness an Interdisciplinary Approach' is a discussion of the psychology and sociology of loneliness. Here, it is put forth that even in childhood, our fear of darkness and solitude, which is tantamount to loneliness, is already evident.

For those who are not well-versed in philosophy and psychology, this book can be a difficult read. Ben Lazare Mijuskovic's insights come from his theoretical studies as well as experiences. His book is perhaps intended for students and practitioners of philosophy, psychology and literature but his contention that loneliness has been a universal theme of western thought since the Hellenic age until the present time surely caught my interest. In a nutshell, the author is saying that man has always felt alone so that man means loneliness. His book is a discussion of the nature of loneliness with examples from the works of over a hundred writers in psychology, literature and philosophy. He examines the minds of philosophers like Nietzsche, Sartre, Kant, Descartes and Kierkegaard; psychologists such as Clark Moustakas, Erich Fromm, Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, Rollo May, and James Howard; and writers like James Joyce, Thomas Wolfe and William Golding; and other great thinkers. Apart from this, the author also cites a number of observations in society to support his argument. In this way, he argues that loneliness is second nature to man. It is a frightening concept but Ben Lazare Mijuskovic has presented it in a very convincing manner indeed.