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Lonely, I am so lonely…

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By: Clay Routledge – nationalreview.com – January 16, 2018

In these politically polarized times, we are repeatedly reminded that humans are a tribal species. But our sociality goes much deeper than that. Whether our idea of a good time is a quiet evening at home or a night on the town, all of us must form and maintain rich interpersonal connections to survive and thrive. From the basic attachment of an infant to his mother to the complex global economy, social relationships are key to human success. Not surprisingly then, a significant amount of human activity is driven by the need to belong. Consider the personal risks we will take and ambitions we will deny to preserve meaningful social bonds. Or the extent to which we will throw caution to the wind for love. Or the bond of brotherhood that inspires great courage under fire in the chaos of war. There is, naturally, a kicker: Since social connections and love are so central to the human experience, we are vulnerable to great social suffering. Anyone who has ever grieved the death of a loved one understands all too well just how much our connections to others mean to us. In fact, it is not uncommon for people to continue talking to family members after they are gone and to even experience hallucinations of them. A study of widows found that the longer they were married, the more likely they were to have visions of their deceased spouse or feel his continued presence. We may not be the only species that mourns our dead, but with the blessing of our greater consciousness comes the burden of greater social pain. Humans have a unique awareness of past and potential future social loss and harm. Even the fear of our own mortality has a distinctly social flavor: Research reveals that one major facet of death anxiety is the fear of being separated from loved ones.

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Source: Digital Age Loneliness: Public-Health & Political Problem | National Review