Olivia Laing On Loneliness

Olivia Laing (April 14, 1977 -)

Loneliness isn’t the same thing as solitude, nor is it solitude’s inevitable consequence. As Hopper’s painting (Nighthawks) demonstrates, it can arise just as easily in situations of proximity. You can be lonely in a crowd, lonely in a marriage — or, on the other hand, content and at ease in a mountain cabin. We all vary in our need for intimacy, closeness, connection. Loneliness only occurs when that specific, individual requirement goes unmet.