Loneliness and Revelation: A Study of the Sacred
Brendan Myers, O Books, 2010
Loneliness and Revelation is comprised of forty-five thought-provoking meditations on loneliness; Myers takes a close look at what it is and what it means for the individual as an existential condition.
More intense than just solitude or isolation, loneliness gives rise to the thought that one’s life may be “utterly insignificant and meaningless.” Myers believes that we combat this anomie through what he calls Revelation: ways of being in the world that assert our presence. He explores this theme through descriptions of conversations with friends, the writings of philosophers, and teachings of world religions both major and minor, referencing a broad swath of myth and literature.
Myers views art as “a greeting, an announcement, a calling out to the world” and believes that it plays a central role in combating loneliness. Art is necessarily “expressive or representative of one’s self” and “activity which takes place in the world.” Art serves as a form of asserting one’s identity and cementing one’s place and creates an extended dialogue between artist, the art itself, and those who encounter it.
Ultimately, Myers concludes, loneliness is a permanent part of the human condition, but Revelation also happens all around us, as everything has “a presence to reveal, and a story to tell,” and by encountering these stories we become participants in something grander than ourselves. Loneliness and Revelation is an erudite examination of a difficult subject, written with an easy grace that renders it both easily accessible and deeply present. Recommended.