More people are living alone than ever. In America, forty percent or more of all households contain a single occupant. Many people happily live alone—but others are tormented by the wail of the Lonesome Blues. That oldie can echo in our ears even when we’re surrounded by friends and family.
Loneliness is a common brand of human suffering. Many believe that loneliness is an inescapable fact of human existence, a curse we’re fated to endure from birth to death. The novelist Thomas Wolfe spoke to this idea: “The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.”
Wolfe was famous and admired during his lifetime, which apparently offered little solace or good company for his loneliness. Even “super-famous” Albert Einstein succumbed to the misery. “It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely,” he candidly commented. Being a rich celebrity doesn’t appear to help: “Hollywood is loneliness beside the swimming pool,” observed the actress Liv Ullmann.
Loneliness appears to have infiltrated if not occupied human nature. Impervious to the exhilarations of fame, wealth, and power, it produces assorted misery, ill health, and increased risk of heart disease. [Read more…]