Clark Moustakas in Loneliness and Love: “Increasingly, I have become painfully aware of the terribleness of most communication: of people talking but not saying what they mean; of the contradiction between the outward words and expressions and the inner meanings and messages; of people looking as if thy were listening without any connection or contact with one another. When I am with such persons I experience deep feelings of loneliness, and I want to break through the empty words and come into touch with the feelings; I want to go beyond the icebergs on top, and into what is actually happening deep down. I have become keenly aware that individuals rarely express what really matters: the tender, shy, reluctant feelings, the sensitive, fragile, intense feelings. Too often we receive the words but not the concrete, actual messages and meanings. What has happened to us as human beings that we can be so near and yet so far, that we can be so distant from each other and not even know? Where are we anyway in those hours when the human spirit cries out in despair, when the hunger for sharing and for loving comes through in disguised and devious forms? What has happened when we have become so radically cut off from our own humanity that we kill the human need for compassion and understanding, when the longing for response is not even recognized or noticed?
“Somehow I wish that in first meetings people would communicate only in gestures and in other nonverbal ways. If we would just stop in the midst of our verbal exchanges; if by some force we were required to remain silent, then perhaps we would find our way back to real persons, to actual, concrete experiences, to direct communication, to the deep regions of the self. To know the potential of human compassion and love and to see the fragmentary communications between man and man–that for me is utterly lonely. If we could all just stop and really listen to one another, really hear–not what’s on the surface but in the depth of being.”