Unseen, unheard, unloved…unthinkable

The body of Yvette Vickers lay unnoticed and unmissed in her California home for what some have speculated to be several months beyond the moment of her passing.  The B-movie actress and former Playboy Playmate, perhaps best known for her role in the cult classic film “Attack of the 50-Foot Woman,” not only died alone, but her physical presence was not missed by even one of the over 7 billion people that currently occupy our planet for an unimaginable amount of time.  In spite of the fact that people at one point actually paid money to view her naked body in Playboy magazine and people paid money to be entertained by her roles in a few low-budget films, not one single person checked on her, asked about her, looked for her; and most disappointing of all, not one person expressed love to her.

How can something like this happen?  How is it even possible for someone’s life to end virtually unseen, unheard, and unloved?   And perhaps the bigger question is:  What can we do to change that?

As disturbing as this particular story may be, the fact that millions of human beings on our planet today live in isolation and loneliness is perhaps even more disturbing.  The statistics surrounding an ever-increasing population contrasted against the staggering numbers of people moving through their days alone seems absurd and completely implausible.  A logical mind would struggle to understand such a contradiction in facts, let alone understand how an entire population of people could continue to do very little, if anything, about it.

What piece of the puzzle are we missing?

At what turn did  Humanity get so horribly off course?

While a percentage of our population is benefiting from living in a world pulsing with the frenetic energy of fast-paced technology and more advanced ways of communication, we may want to pause and take notice of the large percentage of our population that is being, quite frankly, forgotten and left behind.  And even among those who have immersed themselves in the fast lane of the “information super highway,” it is becoming more and more evident that we, as a society, seem to be aloofly drifting away from the true intention of our relationships: to touch, to gaze, to smell, to hear, and to BE with each other in such a way that we may know experientially Who We Really Are.

But the fact that so many people live day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year clouded in loneliness and feelings of insignificance cannot be entirely and solely attributed to modern-day advances in communication.  Somewhere along the line, we have simply forgotten what matters.  We have forgotten that our neighbors matter.  We have forgotten that the elderly lady pushing her shopping cart in the grocery store matters.  We have forgotten that the children who are ignored on the playground matter.  We have forgotten that the man sleeping on the park bench, without a home to go to, matters.  We have forgotten that every single solitary expression of life which lives and breathes on this planet matters.

Of course, on a spiritual metaphysical level, no one is ever truly alone.  But there is certainly a huge disconnect somewhere between the knowing of that and the experiencing of that as millions of people are struggling right now, in this very moment, to feel some semblance of meaning and purpose in their lives.

But how does somebody make a difference in the life of another if they don’t feel their own worthiness or experience their own significance?  How can anyone possibly give something they simply don’t have in the first place?

Conversations with God offered to us the powerful message of:  “Whatever it is that you wish to experience more of in your life, be the source of it in a life of another. There is a universal law that plays its effect here. When you give what you want to another, you cause yourself to notice that you have it.  And since reality is a matter of perception, it is your perception that has caused you to imagine that you do not have it. When you give it to another and cause them to have it, you suddenly come to the realization that I could not give it to them if I did not have it to give. Suddenly you become aware that you had it all along.”

And when we live our lives within this framework of understanding, what then have we allowed ourselves to discover about ourselves?  About life?  About God?  About Who We Are and Why We Are Here?

Could we all commit to stepping outside of our comfort zone to present someone who feels unseen the opportunity to be seen?  Or to hear someone who feels unheard?  Or to love someone who feels unloved?  Even if the person who feels unseen, unheard, or unloved happens to be you?

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation.  She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team atwww.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)

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  • Angie Mascharka

    Very powerful and thoughtful writing! I love the paragraph about “Whatever it is that you wish to experience more of in your life, be the source of it in a life of another.” Makes total sense…I’m going to spend more time thinking about that today and trying to find ways to apply it in the near future. You ask a lot of great questions in this article and I couldn’t agree more about the need for each and every one of us to be a change agent in this problem. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sylvia

    All the gadgets invented by MEN have had the effect of making it easier to disconnect, avoid, stay in our own little world, not put up with people who might annoy us, etc. So of course people are lonely and isolated. But everybody thinks these the gadgets are wonderful. Why?????

  • mewabe

    Most indigenous cultures and old traditional cultures were tribal in essence. The consciousness of such population was a “tribal consciousness”.

    The fierce, self-centered individualism that we see today originated, historically, in western cultures…in Europe. It has rapidly lead to alienation and to the exploitation of the individual by forces beyond his or her control.

    The ensuing cultural confusion is so widespread that toady many think that the “nuclear family” is the traditional family model, when in fact the extended family is the real traditional model, and the nuclear family came in existence as the outcome of the industrial revolution, of villagers being uprooted from their traditional way of life to go live in city factories, without the extended family support.

    Such exploitation of the alienated individual has itself lead to the implementation of a survival mode, of great insecurity and of the feeling that people are only worth what they produce and consume, which is why elders, who no longer produce, are perceived to be “irrelevant”, and are cast away, stripped of their dignity, in authoritarian institutions that are meant to be little more than waiting rooms in which they vegetate until death.

    This is why anyone who neither produces nor has the means to consume at the rate society dictates is perceived to be unworthy of living.

    Contribution, in today’s world, is not about being human, or having a heart, a soul, but about what one earns and what one spends. The elder, the homeless, all who cannot “function” like productive robots are thought to essentially be undesirable, to be the new lepers, by our fake, plastic world.

    They consequently die like lepers, discarded and alone.

    If you want to know why, look at the system with open eyes…and don’t be afraid to question it all. We need a revolution of the SOUL.

    To say that this social system is inhuman would be an understatement, in my opinion.

    Although it is important to point out how the individual can make an immediate change and some improvements in his or her own life, as this article does, it is equally important, and perhaps EVEN MORE, in my opinion, to define what is wrong with a system that should not be considered the best that humanity can come up with, and that should perhaps be seen as the very worst.

  • mewabe

    I meant to write:
    “…to go work in cities factories…”

    “Although it is important to point out how the individual can make an immediate change and some improvements in his or her own life and that of others, as this article does…”

  • Therese

    Test back!

    My feeling is that, in Western Culture in particular, we have been told two things:

    1. We are individuals, and the individuality and community are mutually exclusive.
    (This results in people believing they are acting in their own good, by isolating themselves and not being subject to the greater will.)

    2. That suffering is good, is to be offered up to God, and that we are not to burden others with our problems.
    ( This results in not reaching out because God will not be pleased they didn’t bear their pain courageously.)

    We have been guided into this world as it exists now, step by step, and it is now time to, as you suggest, start thinking for ourselves, start looking each other in the eye, reach out to our neighbor to give and receive help, and to remember what Love really is.

    We need to remember that giving is nothing with no one to receive, and that each plays their part in this little dance we call life.

    • Great points, Therese! Thank you for your perspective.

      • Therese

        I looked up Ms. Vickers, and it would, at least on the surface, seem to be attached to a few other cultural issues. She was born in 1928 and was the daughter of Jazz musician Charley Vedder. She became a model, an actress and posed for Playboy. She had multiple marriages and never had children. It seems to me to be a perfect formula for being ostracized by her generation. Her contemporaries would be limited, or “reformed”.

        Add to this, the possibility, as you suggest, that she ended up her life believing that she had been a “bad” person for the way she had lived her life, and was not “worthy” of anything but the circumstance in which she found herself, and the fate of her death.

        Just my story around all of this, of course, but we all know pieces of this to be true in other lives. The stories of disconnect from ourselves, our contemporaries and our God. There is obviously some kind of disconnect in Yvette Vickers’ story. If not, she may have died alone, but she would not have died abandoned and forgotten.

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  • Nicky

    I recently watched Dreams of a Life, a documentary very similar to this, but the woman wasn’t found for 3 YEARS and the TV was on the whole time. This is the description: Filmmaker Carol Morley tells the strange story of Joyce Vincent, whose body was found in her tiny studio flat three years after she died. How did an outgoing 38-year-old with no shortage of friends and family just disappear from the world?

  • Laura

    Wow, what a great article! Thanks so much, Lisa! It seems pretty pathetic that it took so long for her body to be found. I think the same thing when I see homeless people. (NOT ONE person they know can help them out, at the moment?) You have to wonder…

    Devil’s advocate thought: It IS possible that she found a feeling of complete unity with God- so fulfilled that she no longer sought the company of other humans. I mean, if someone REALLY needed another person, they wouldn’t be alone, ya know? Just a thought…