If you click that video link, above, you will hear the incomparable Roy Orbison sing "Only The Lonely." Click that link to the title if you'd like to read the lyrics.
Marta Zaraska, a Polish-Canadian science journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Scientific American, Spectrum, The Atlantic, Discover, and other publications, has written an article in the online magazine Quanta, in which she claims that "feelings of loneliness prompt changes in the brain that further isolate people from social contact."
I am absolutely prepared to believe it, and I am not at all surprised to learn that there are genuine physical manifestations, deep inside our brains, associated with the sense of isolation and loneliness that can sometimes overwhelm us.
Speaking individually, we need to be aware when such feelings of loneliness start to creep up on us, or even when they presume to attack us "full frontal." If and when that happens, we can (and need to) take steps to confront and deal with these feelings, because loneliness is dangerous, both to ourselves and to others.
Speaking from a social, or collective, perspective, let's all remember that we are not, actually, just a bunch of isolated individuals. We are, as I repeatedly claim, "together in this." This is more than a pious wish. I am convinced that it is, in fact, a profound truth about our human condition.
May I suggest that both "talking to strangers" and our active engagement in politics are helpful and effective ways to combat loneliness and all of its deleterious individual and social impacts?
That's true - and I am convinced of it. I am speaking from personal experience, too. My engagement with "strangers," with people whom I didn't know, in the fight to "Save Lighthouse Field," transformed my life. It certainly changed the future of the City of Santa Cruz, and Santa Cruz County. Click here for a reference to a publication of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History that includes my personal account of what we did!
Political engagement? Yes! If you want to fight loneliness, my advice is to get personally and politically involved!
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