The Loneliness Epidemic
Loneliness is a normal part of life, up to a point.
Most of us have experienced loneliness, having no partner, leaving home, being away from friends. Some have a much harder life were they find it hard to make friends or connect with other people. Mental illness or personality disorders can of course contribute to this as can shyness or gruffness to give just two examples. But for the vast majority of people loneliness occurs at two times in their life.
It occurs when they are young, when they develop an interest in the opposite sex and when they have not learnt the social skills and lack the confidence to deal with the opposite sex. At the same time they are trying to work out their own place in the world, a place where they fit in. It is not an easy time and it leads to much angst and worry. But for most people this ends and life gets better as they learn that the things they worried about either weren’t important or for the most part worked themselves out.
The other time is in old age, as people get older they are not as interested in making new connections with others as they once were. For some that starts in middle age and for others at a very advanced age. The result is that the circle of friends that one once had diminishes as old friends die and non replace them. The close connection people have with their family is also stretched as children and grandchildren have their own lifes and interests. Ill health, lack of energy and the mind tricks that are a part of growing old all contribute to this sad state. And it is a sad state, for both young and old, but the saddest part is for the vast majority of us it is normal.
But loneliness in young adulthood and in middle age is less so. Putting aside the issues that I talked about above that can stop people connecting with others. This is the time in which most people are in good health with an eagerness to connect to a partner. But we see all around us a world in which people who are in the prime of life are lonely. Not for a short time or because of some unfortunate circumstance, but in what seems a permanent state of affairs. The most worrying aspect is that it seems to affect every social class and both sexes. You yourself may be lonely, I bet that you know someone who is. Someone who in theory is in the prime of life, with quirks but nothing seriously wrong with them, in other words a perfectly normal person.
Why is loneliness such a large factor in modern life?
There are four main areas concerning why loneliness is such a big issue when it wasn’t in the past. 1) Economic 2) Societal 3) Perspective and 4) Personal
The economic reasons are many, the lack of jobs and stable employment, the two wage household, the price of housing as well as the cost of living which ties up so much of a person’s income. Long working hours sure don’t help as those with jobs find they must put in long hours while others remain unemployed. Here we can see the long term effects of inflation, most of which took place decades ago but we still pay the price even though inflation is quite low. (How long it remains low we will have to see)
The societal reasons are also many, the push for female employment at the expense of male employment, the push to promote women instead of men, the belief that marriage isn’t important, that children do not need mothers and fathers (single parenthood), that sex is about fun…why aren’t you having fun. Divorce is seen by many as a solution to their problems instead of as the start of a whole new series of problems. When a woman earns more than a man most women aren’t interested in that man. Here we see women cheating themselves by seeking greater wages. Of course I must point out in their defence, who is telling them today that it will have such a high price, practically no one.
Perspective reasons, we are given a constant and false idea about what is normal and achievable. For example our media(TV, movies) portrays single people as being able to get dates if they so choose, so if you are single you must be choosing not to date. We are encouraged to view men and women as interchangeable even though neither men or women find the result very attractive. We are also presented with the idea that we can date anyone we like as we have infinite possibilities and the only reason we don’t date who ever we like is because we lack a certain quality, money or attractiveness for example. Something entirely personal that only some type of self- improvement can solve. We are not presented with reality but with a distortion, one that has us seeing ourselves and others in a warped way. We find it hard to accurately view society as it is constantly distorted and we begin to distrust our own eyes and experience.
Personal reasons, we change as we get older and what we found easy when young is much harder when you get older. For those who earn good money it is a case of believing that only the best will do and that you can be as picky as you like because the options are unlimited. For men it can be hard to settle down as it seems that the good times will never end. For women the criteria for a partner is longer not shorter because of her earning ability, he must at least match her wage or have the potential to, he must also be tall, a little older and a few random qualities thrown in. Near enough is rarely good enough.
For those who work but find it harder to make ends meet, it can be hard to justify to yourself that the future exists when your circumstance forces you to take each day at a time. How do you pay to go out, date or have a serious relationship when paying the bills is so hard. In todays social environment when it can often seem as if being a brain surgeon is the only acceptable occupation to some people. It can be hard to tell people you work in a normal everyday job that doesn’t have any glamour or prestige attached to it. For those in very low paying jobs, casual jobs or who are unemployed or a combination of each during the course of a year, as well as students. All of the financial problems exist as well as a loss of confidence, how do you tell people your life circumstance when you yourself are so unhappy with it. You can lie but the reality is that unless your very good at lying it is not a long term strategy. The lack of success becomes it’s own problem as it can reinforce the negative attitudes and opinions that start to form.
As the traditional family is eroded so we have the results and one of those of loneliness. It should come as no real surprise that at every level social stability and cohesion is being discouraged and therefore is being lost. The traditional family is still strong, it is still the base on which the entire structure sits and that is why Right and Left Liberalism continues to attack it. They want us all to be autonomous individuals and those who are lonely, they like to believe, are making a conscious choice to be that way. Liberals see it as validation of their belief.
While we see a large hole, a hole that just keeps getting bigger, that is not what Liberals see. Their lack of ability to see the future effects of their policies mean that things will only continue to get worse as they have no desire or interest in fixing a problem they cannot even see. In a world of autonomous individuals each failure is not a failure of the system but a failure of the individual. What can Liberals do as individuals or as a movement do to help people who are so foolish. If they were smart they would be successful, their lack of success just proves that they deserve their fate.
Liberals believe themselves to be the enlightened chosen people and those who aren't "smart" enough to survive in their world can go to hell.....and they don't even have to die to get there now.
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