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What If There Is No Loneliness Epidemic?

An epidemic suggests that something is spreading over a short period of time and is worse right now than it was in the past. By this definition, should loneliness qualify? The common wisdom today is that our devices are simultaneously making us more anxious and lonelier. This article suggests that perhaps the rise of loneliness isn’t the one-dimensional wisdom we often take it to be.

Yes, people are more disconnected now and are craving human connection perhaps more than in the past. Still, as the article suggests, maybe the real problem is that the English language only has a single word for “lonely.” If we had words to describe a physical loneliness, versus a delightful alone-time sort of loneliness versus an isolated type of loneliness. The real danger to watch for in this model would be the chronic loneliness.

Ultimately, “many experts argue that loneliness and social disconnection are symptoms of deep societal problems, including poverty and inadequate healthcare.” Which really means if we’re going to help solve the sort of loneliness that really destroys the human spirit, we might need to fix a lot of other things first. 

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