Why shouldn’t a human being live perfectly happily alone? Millions do. Me included.
If our fear of loneliness stems from the danger of a pack animal being separated from its community and dying, then in the 21st century that fear is obsolete. We have houses with doors that lock. We have cars and trains and planes that can get us to friends or to safety. We have telephones and the internet to connect us to other voices, other presences, in seconds. We have hospitals and doctors’ surgeries. We have supermarkets to deliver our food. We have water on tap. We face far more risks in overpopulated cities than in remote rural areas. So why is being alone still so scary? Because we imagine ourselves dying alone, being discovered after five days, half-eaten by the cat. We read stories about people dying alone, or killing themselves, even though they have families and friends and neighbours and social services and the health service. They could have called for help; they could have walked to a shop or a church or a pub for company. But they felt disconnected, cut off, unloved – to the point of choosing to die rather than contact someone. That’s not rational. That is a mixture of emotions so strong that they overwhelm the reasoning mind and take the individual to his or her death. That’s a 21st century tragedy, but it can be averted.
Do you relate to this, or do you know anyone who would?