As humans, we all need other humans’ attention to survive. As a child, this need is physical, with adults helping children by feeding and clothing them. As we grow older and learn to do things ourselves, the need for human attention still remains, this time in a more emotional rather than physical capacity. All people need some way to feel comfortable and happy in order to thrive, and from these three sources are how people cope with loneliness. Loneliness will affect everybody at some point in their lives, and it is up to that person to decide how to cope with it.

In the film Scavengers, there are two people stuck on an alien planet, and go around their surroundings everyday to obtain a blue orb which allows them to travel back into their memories of their past life on earth. The driving force that makes them do this is their craving for interactions with other humans, and reminiscing on their social lives. This is symbolic of a more real-life scenario that people use to cope with loneliness, which is turning to substances or thrilling/dangerous experiences in order to feel content with themselves. The two characters in the film spend all their time trying to get to this little blue orb, just to restart and do it all again the next day. It may seem fulfilling in the short-term, but just like any other drug, in the end it may leave you feeling worse than before.

In the poem “Greater Love” by Fred L. Joiner,  we see another example of loneliness. The author writes;

“His wife left him the night before; 

his kingdom had come & gone.

Later that morning

I wanted to ask him if there is a Wolof word

for the blues

or if there is any music

with notes large enough.”

In the poem, the author describes a man who has experienced the loss of a person, which really is one of the most lonely experiences that a person can go through. “His kingdom had come and gone” summarizes this pretty well. However, at the end of the poem, we see that the author talks about music, and whether there are “notes large enough”. Music is a great coping mechanism for dealing with loss, as hearing something similar to what you are going through gives you some comfort and strength to keep going. Knowing that someone else has experienced what you have, or knows how you are feeling, makes you feel less alone and just a little bit more comfortable in your surroundings. 

In this last example, we see a solution to the loneliness that some may experience. In the Mojave Desert Phone Booth,  we see that a man, Godfrey Daniels, finds out about this phone booth which intrigues him due to its peculiarity and mystery surrounding it. Godfrey calls the booth everyday, and even though nobody picks up, he feels less alone knowing that somewhere in the Mojave Desert, a phone is ringing. For Godfrey, it’s not about people- it’s about finding the things you like to do and turning that into something that gives you satisfaction and happiness. Godfrey shows something that we can all learn from, which is the ability to take things that you alone like to do and turn those into outlets to release stress and anxiety.

All of these examples show how different people may cope with loneliness, and what they do to console themselves when they feel down or uncontent with themselves. In the Scavengers, they go through a lot of hard work every day to achieve the temporary solace the blue orb brings them. The poem talks about how music can play a part in bringing a person out of depression and loneliness, and the Mojave Phone Booth example shows how it doesn’t take a lot to stop feeling lonely, just find the things that give you comfort.

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