The debate in Canada today is over a proposed increase in immigration to 100 million, and one journalist is quoted as claiming :”… it would end the “greatest price of under-population, (which) is loneliness: We are often unable to talk intelligently to each other, not to mention the world, because we just don’t have enough people to support the institutions of dialogue and culture…”
Population numbers have little to do with the degree of loneliness in that population. In cities, the more people squished into a small area, the greater the degree of social isolation, disaffection and disconnection, and the greater the risk of loneliness.
Loneliness is an emotion felt by individuals due primarily to their psychological and spiritual state, which depends largely on their personal history; there is a difference between chronic loneliness, which could have begun as a small child, and post-traumatic loneliness, which happens as a result of bereavement, separation, migration, unemployment, disability due to sudden illness or accident, and so on. But the answer to both is not found in the outside world, let alone in a high density of humanity. The only long term, profound answer is to be found inside oneself. Unless you are at peace with yourself, you understand that we are never truly alone if we learn to see the world and our place in it without blinkers (I’m not referring to any kind of religion) and you are in touch with your own source of life and energy, you will always be at risk of feeling lonely when your support group (family, partner, friends) are not around.
Canada has a difficult debate ahead, but it should take loneliness out of the equation. Even 100,000,000 people won’t solve the emotional misery of one lonely individual.
Have you ever been lonely in a crowd?