The illustration was created by Andrés Rábago and was posted in the Facebook group for Cultura Inquieta.

Click here to see the other posts on the topic of loneliness.

Note: I have decided not to unpack what, I believe, are the multiple layers of meaning in this illustration. I don’t want to influence your interpretation of the illustration though, by simply stating that there are layers of meaning, I’ve already influenced you. Nonetheless, let’s use the comments to flesh it all out.


Print Friendly

Tags: , , ,

  • Kava

    Oh no, this is heartbreaking.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      I don’t see it as heartbreaking. It is the human condition. We are all alone within our minds.

  • Anonymous

    This makes me uncomfortable. 

    For some being alone is a form of protection. Even in a room full of people. Others feel  alone being the center of attention in a room full of people. 

    I don’t like being alone but maybe it’s better than with being some people. 

    Maybe that’s why I listen to talk radio. Maybe because I don’t like my internal voices. I can shut them up when I’m listening to other voices. Music works sometimes but it needs to be loud. My wife does not like loud music, she hates talk radio as well so I wear headphones all the time.  

    I see people who have to be on the phone. Are they lonely? As soon as they pull out of their driveway they get on the phone. Who are these housewives talking to at 7:am? 

    Not that that I’m saying there is something bad about it. It is what it is. Just makes me wonder. 

    Why does this make me uncomfortable, besides being gloomy? 
    Because it reminds me of my own loneliness even with other people.

    Should I be comfortable in my own skin? Is this depression? Am I hungry? Do I need to poop? 

    Thanks for brightening my day. LOL

    Time for my meds.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      Every time I look at this illustration I see a new level of meaning. I also listen to talk radio and to loud music (though not at the same time) and yet there are long stretches of time when I crave silence, when I want to be alone in my head.

      “Do I need to poop? ” – No one likes to say it but we all know how much better we feel after a good one. (Hehehe)

  • Juan

    Very interesting picture. My first thought about it is: “Every person is an Island”. Also, It’s up to you to decide or change your own situation…

    • Juan

       I keep thinking (that’s because I’m working and bored): We very similar in our own uniqueness, our human nature…”we are in the same boat”….I’m also thinking about the vulnerability of the person in the rock (or little island) in the sea vs. the vulnerability of the person in the rock in the boat, which doesn’t seem at the moment as stable as being already in a rock in the sea. But the future of the person in the island without food or water is not so promising either. His destiny is uncertain as no one really knows if the boat which looks like a safe place at the moment could sink a minute later. That would never happen and the boat could take them hopefully to a more “stable” ground, we never know…. No matter how isolated we are or we feel we are still affected by everything or everyone around us. Life is full of risks, so we’ll have to use our own judgement and decide ourselves what’s best for us. Should we keep our arms crossed, do nothing and let others decide for us?…

      • Jeffs ADD Mind

        And if you come back to this illustration a year from now, you’ll see another level of meaning buried in there. Looking at the very last panel when they are sitting in the room, they are not looking at each other yet they are physically not alone. But mentally, they are alone. How many times have you been to a gathering of people where you had the very same feeling, where you are physically not alone but mentally, it’s as if you are sitting alone on a little rock staring at nothingness. I know I had experienced that in my life.

        • Juan

           Yes..and if you put another different topic, you’ll find another meaning and another. It also works with what you are dealing at the moment.
          “How many times have you been to a gathering of people where you had the very same feeling” – Many times!. I don’t consider  very social myself. I was in a friend’s gathering last year and I really tried very hard to be as social as possible. I tend to get bored of conversations easily, specially if I don’t like the conversation. At a moment  I isolated myself from the group without noticing and started to get sleepy, a couple minutes later I saw everyone looking at me and calling me back to the group. Embarrassing!.
          That could even happen in a conversation!, Sometimes I could be apparently hearing and talking with a person, but just I switched “on” my automatic pilot to move my head and say yes, but I’m elsewhere.

  • Anonymous

    I like this illustration because it does have a message in it. I’m not assuming  Andrés Rábago intended the illustration to be the message I see in it. That being said, I will say what I see as if I were there person sitting alone on that rock. I’m out here alone on this rock and have no reason to believe that I will not spend the rest of my life here. Oh, I see in the distance that I am not completely alone out here. Well…whoever that is, see’s me and I see that person has a boat and is coming my way. I’m not sure yet if I should look at him or not. But I will hold this offering in my hand to show that I am aware that he is coming to me and that I have something to give as payment if he is willing to let me travel with him.  I hear him greet me and offer me a ride to a place where he has taken others that he finds out here who are just like me. As we travel to this “place” he sits quietly and I wonder why he seams to know me, even though we have never met. But I trust him and can only hope that this “place” is better than where he found me. Then we arrive and he helps me aboard a large vessel he opens a door, point’s to the room on the other side of that door and says: “This is where the lonely can be lonely together.” I walk in and sit down alone with the lonely.

  • Anonymous

    But where is the message that I see? I am reading my comment and I’m sure If I see it there. I’m not the guy sitting alone on a rock,.. anymore. But I did feel alone when I put myself on that rock to describe what I think I would see. I saw a glimmer of hope that I may be rescued and taken away from my loneliness. I depended on someone else to do that. But I found that someone else could only take me somewhere that was not much different than where I was. And I was not that much different than others that were depending on someone else to rescue them. Yep, there are “multiple layers of meaning in this illustration”

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      Reading a book, much like “reading” this illustration, is dependent on the mindset of the reader. Come back to it in a year. You’ll find another set of layers of meaning.

  • Anonymous

    One of the things I find interesting about this illustration is how the last two frames are connected (the door and the arm). Not sure if that is important or really that interesting to anyone besides me. I’ve been doing some Internet search and things linked to Andrés Rábago. A very interesting person that appears to have been greatly concerned with the culture of his surrounding society. But I guess we all are nowadays to some degree.

  • Loknar28


    I just created a petition: Director NIMH: Meaningful NIMH recognition of
    ADHD as a lifelong disorder, because I care deeply about this very
    important issue.

    I’m trying to collect 100 signatures, and I could really use your help.

    To read more about what I’m trying to do and to sign my petition, click here:

    It’ll just take a minute!

    Once you’re done, please ask your friends to sign the petition as well.
    Grassroots movements succeed because people like you are willing to
    spread the word!


  • sneakerbabe

    I see something very familiar.
    The man on the island is different from the man in the boat, yet strangely looks identical to the other men in the last panel. Maybe “boatman” was looking for “islandmen” to collect. Maybe he thought he was being kind in bringing other islandmen together. Or maybe (IMHO) the islandmen are really prisoners, and are not able to free themselves. We cannot be free of loneliness without another’s help, but who wants to spend time with the lonely?

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      There are so many levels of meaning here and possible interpretations. “We cannot be free of loneliness without another’s help, but who wants to spend time with the lonely?” – But isn’t this, to some degree, the human condition? In our heads, it is just us, just our voice. Sure, we can overcome that feeling of loneliness and perhaps go through much of life without feeling it again until…the end.

  • Gin Bean

    It seems like a cycle of dashed hopes, surroundings change but nothing changes.

  • ScottHutson

    Hey Jeff, I don’t why but this illustration by Andrés Rábago just jumped into my mind. Been a few years ago when I first saw it here on Jeff’s ADD Mind, but I remember thinking about it many times. I glanced briefly at what I said in comments below, but I have either changed my mind or my mind has changed.

    That is me sitting on that rock alone and the man in the boat is just like me and he was there alone on that rock not that long ago and was helped by another person who had also been on that rock alone before him. He was doing this to show me that we are not alone by taking to me a place where others just like us are still on their own rocks alone but together. He is getting better and able to help others this way now. He wants no payment and only does this because this was how he was helped and this is where he started getting better. As he opens the door his only words are, “No guarantee that it work as good for you my friend, but this where it starts, and the voyage may seam to be a very long voyage and it is. I am still on the voyage myself.”

ADHD: Awesome and Deadly

An email from an ADHDer. Subject: Open this email I have ADD and I want to share! Message: Hi Jeff, [...]

What It Feels Like To Have ADHD

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 6)

The Trap is Set

The Wanderer

The Child Within The Man

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 5)

The System Is Blinking Red

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 4)

A Quick Bite

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 3)

Thick As A Brick

How Do You Know If You Have ADHD?

The Warning Signs of ADHD

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 2)

Warning Signs

ADHD – A Love Story (Part 1)

The Ground Shakes

A Cure for ADHD

Satisfaction Guaranteed Or Your Money Back!

The Perfect Month

What A Great Time Of Year

That’s What I Call ADHD-Friendly Software

A recent ADHD newsletter noted that The Brain — a mind mapping software — might be a useful tool for [...]

Life in the Modern Age

Sixteen months ago I moved from the world of entrepreneurship — a portmanteau comprised of the French word entrepreneur, which [...]

E-Card Fun

Some more e-card humor: Expressing Your ADHD Self…Digitally A Few Laughs, Giggles & Groans

While Rome Burns

I’ve started collecting screenshots of online advertising. I’m trying to understand the message. The ad below says that if I’m [...]

Kiss Your Distractions Goodbye

Do one thing at a time

ADHD Does Not Exist

I can’t tell what is more disturbing. A book titled “ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and [...]