Feeling Isolated?

Authored by Adam Taggart via PeakProsperity.com,

  • Does anyone else in your life share your concerns for the future?

  • Is there someone you talk with regularly about the unsustainability of our current economic and ecological trajectories?

  • Do you have friends and/or family members who support your efforts to develop a more resilient lifestyle?

If you answered "no" to these questions, you're not an outlier. In fact, the #1 most commonly-reported complaint we hear from Peak Prosperity readers is that they feel alone and isolated when it comes to the warnings delivered in The Crash Course.

The end of economic growth. Declining net energy. Accelerating resource depletion. These are MASSIVE existential threats to our way of life -- to our species' survival, even. Most PPers can't comprehend why *everyone* isn't obessively talking about these dangers.

But very few people are. Truthfully, most don't want to; for a wide variety of reasons.

So that leaves us, the conscientious critical thinkers, alone by ourselves to worry and plan.

Does this sound like you? If so, read on...

Wired For Connection

Humans are biologically wired for social connection.

Until just recently, historically-speaking, humans typically existed in small tribal groups of 30-60 people, where the degree of unity and cohesiveness of the group directly determined its odds of survival. Facing constant adversity from the weather, predators, other tribes, etc -- every member of the group had a role and a duty to perform. 

We've delved into this topic deeply in the past, particularly in our podcast with Peabody Award-winning author Sebastian Junger.

In his book Tribe, Junger observes how far modern life is from the conditions our distant ancestors evolved from. We are so dis-connected from each other now that the lack of community is manifesting in alarming ways in today's society.

Junger focuses on the challenges that soldiers, Peace Corps volunteers, war refugees, and others who have similarly banded together under adverse conditions -- as our distant ancestors did -- face when re-integrating into peaceful, civilian life. Depression, addiction and suicide are all-too common responses as they struggle to find meaning in their daily lives, which now feel unfulfillingly superficial and lonesome compared to the "real-ness" and "alive-ness" they'd experienced before.

Despite the often-horrible conditions they were subject to, many guiltily admit to Junger that they preferred life under duress -- facing threats like bullets, disease, or cancer. What does that reflect about quality of life in our current society?

In the case of US veterans, they're committing suicide at the rate of over 20 deaths per day -- nearly one every hour. And they're dying of opioid drug overdoses at twice the rate of the civilian population. While there are many reasons behind this, Junger is convinced from his research that "leaving the tribal closeness of the military and returning to an alienating and bitterly divided modern society" is a root cause.

An Epidemic Of Loneliness

This alienation and division isn't only being felt by veterans.

In a world of digital devices and social media, our interaction with other humans is becoming increasingly virtual. In the sprawl of suburbia, we live in densly-packed cul-de-sacs yet hardly know our next-door neighbors' names. The fast-growing wealth gap is forcing the 99% to work harder just to make ends meet, leaving little time left in the week for socializing or family interaction.

The US is now experiencing an "epidemic" of loneliness, according to a study released by Cigna last month. Perhaps not surprising given that their cohort is the first to grow up with smartphones in hand, those in Generation Z are the worst off:

Gen Z is the loneliest generation, survey reveals (CNBC)

Loneliness among Americans has reached "epidemic levels," according to health service company Cigna's U.S. Loneliness Index, released Tuesday.

The index, which surveyed over 20,000 U.S. adults, found that nearly half of survey respondents reported sometimes or always feeling alone (46 percent) or left out (47 percent) and younger generations feel much lonelier than older ones.

For Cigna's report, survey respondents were evaluated on their loneliness using the UCLA Loneliness Scale, a 20-item questionnaire that was developed to assess subjective feelings of loneliness and social isolation.

Gen Z adults surveyed (ages 18 to 22), are the loneliest, according to the report. More than half of Gen Zers identified with 10 of the 11 feelings associated with loneliness, according to the survey, including feeling like people around them are not really with them (69 percent), feeling shy (69 percent) and feeling like no one really knows them well (68 percent).

"While we know that this is a group that is making life changes, these findings give us a surprising understanding of how this generation perceives themselves," Douglas Nemecek, M.D., chief medical officer for Behavioral Health at Cigna, tells CNBC Make It in an email. "It's something that we need to explore to understand how we can address it. And that's what we're planning to do."

If you're a parent to any Gen Zers, this photo really hits home:

The ramifications of living life through the filter of social media are beginning to become clear.

recent study by Harvard Business Review confirms what most parents have long suspected: the more we use Facebook, the worse our reported physical health, mental health and life satisfaction. Even top former executives from Facebook have gone public with their fears that it's "ripping apart society" by "exploiting a vulnernability in human psychology".

It's little wonder why Gen Z feels so crummy.

But it's not just the youth suffering. According to former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, at least 40% of all American adults report feeling lonely, with reported loneliness rates doubling since the 1980s:

There is good reason to be concerned about social connection in our current world. Loneliness is a growing health epidemic. We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s. Today, over 40% of adults in America report feeling lonely, and research suggests that the real number may well be higher. Additionally, the number of people who report having a close confidante in their lives has been declining over the past few decades. 

During my tenure as U.S. surgeon general, I saw firsthand how loneliness affected people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds across the country. I met middle and high school students in urban and rural areas who turned to violence, drugs, and gangs to ease the pain of their loneliness. I sat with mothers and fathers who had lost sons and daughters to drug overdoses and were struggling to cope alone because of the unfortunate stigma surrounding addiction. And I met factory workers, doctors, small business owners, and teachers who described feeling alone in their work and on the verge of burnout.

During my years caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.

(Source)

How concerned should we be about this loneliness epidemic?

Very.

Medical research shows a direct and pronounced link between social isolation and early mortality. Here's a scary set of statistics:

Living with air pollution increases your odds of dying early by 5%. Living with obesity, 20%. Excessive drinking, 30%. And living with loneliness? It increases our odds of dying early by 45%

(Source)

Understanding Loneliness

In order to improve the situation, it's important that we understand what our loneliness is trying to tell us.

Sadly, in our current society, loneliness comes with a lot of shame. That if we're not popular, if we're feeling apart from others, then something is wrong with "us" (vs our culture).

That leaves many of those feeling lonely to suffer in silence and to withdraw further, worsening the situation.

As popular author and social scientist Brené Brown cautions:

We feel shame around being lonely (as if feeling lonely means there’s something wrong with us), even when it’s caused by grief, loss, or heartbreak. This isn’t just sad – it’s actually dangerous. We’ve evolved to react to the feeling of being pushed to the social perimeter by going into self-preservation mode: when we feel isolated, disconnected, and lonely, we try to protect ourselves. That means less empathy, more defensiveness, more numbing, and less sleeping. In this state, the brain ramps up the stories we tell ourselves about what’s happening – narratives that often aren’t true and exaggerate our worst fears and insecurities.

(Source)

This withdrawal away from the world is exactly what we DON'T need when we experience loneliness, warns University of Chicago neuroscientist John Cacioppo.

His research supports Junger's claim that humans are hard-wired for community; that "our neural, hormonal, and genetic makeup support interdependence over independence".

To Cacioppo, the feeling of loneliness is simply another way our body tells us we're becoming deficient in a critical nutrient -- just as thirst and hunger do. In his mind, "Denying you feel lonely makes no more sense that denying you feel hunger."

So when we feel lonely, we need to recognize that signal for what it is. And just as feeling hungry sends us shuffling off to the pantry, feeling lonely should motivate us to make an effort to engage directly with others. We need to fight past the things that tempt us to retreat inwards --  such as our current culture's norms of shame and the false sense of connection/relief that digital media offers.

Creating Connection

So how can the lonely find connection?

Well, first, it's important to understand that when it comes to social connection, quality of relationships matters more than quantity.

As Susan Pinker details in her book The Village Effect, you don't have to be a social butterfly to experience the benefits of connection; you just need a few relationships that actually matter. But they have to be face-to-face, in-the-flesh interactions.

OK, so how does one go about creating these kind of face-to-face interactions?

Glad you asked. Here are several resources that offer specific guidance for doing just that:

In addition to the above, Chris and I are continuing to do our best to create opportunities for the like-minded PP crowd to convene in person. Consider coming to our annual Seminar in California next year, or attending one of our 1-day city Summits  -- our next one will be in New York City in September (details to be announced on this website soon). Over the years, these gatherings have spawned many great friendships.

And in the meantime, if you're feeling weighed down by loneliness, or the angst of being the only one you know who "gets it" when it comes to the material we discuss on this website, we recommend considering seeking the guidance of a professional therapist who understands the Peak Prosperity mindset. We've seen it work wonders. If you're having trouble finding one, here's a therapist we refer people to (full disclosure: she's my wife!).

Lastly, while not "in-the-flesh", we've built a very special online community here at PeakProsperity.com, where truth-seekers and action-oriented people from all over the world gather to exchange ideas and engage constructively with one another. If you're feeling isolated in your life, lean into this community. Share your thoughts. Reach out.

We'll reach back.

Comments

LetThemEatRand Fri, 06/08/2018 - 23:09 Permalink

All of us were programmed by evolution to survive.  We gain the greatest satisfaction by surviving.  That's probably why most of us like camping in the woods, or hunting or fishing.  We don't need to do it, but somehow it gives us satisfaction.  Probably the same reason many of us enjoy shows like Walking Dead where the most pressing thing people face is survival.  The human condition (for those of us lucky enough to live in advanced cultures) is that our most pressing need is already met for the most part, leaving us feeling like we're missing something.

Chris2 LetThemEatRand Fri, 06/08/2018 - 23:23 Permalink

I never have been lonely, I choose to be the lone wolf that I truly am.

I have hobbies, work, I think alot, read alot.

I feel like I am running out of time, so much to read so little time left.

My views are shared by almost nobody, my views are very unique and very deep.

I see things others don't see. I feel like I am always wearing those sunglasses in "They Live" lol

In reply to by LetThemEatRand

Oh regional Indian Leakanthrophy Fri, 06/08/2018 - 23:58 Permalink

Alone and lonely are two totally different things.

Anyone who has looked for and found their center is never lonely. We are enough for ourselves...

Lonliness springs from concave personalities, that need the other to full and fill them.

A convex persona needs no external fullfillment.

This lonliness is a curse of a mix of modernity, technology and the general ungroundness of present day societies.

The suicide article earlier, the overhelm article following and this, all related....

https://aadivaahan.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/on-your-own-but-not-alone/

In reply to by Leakanthrophy

Oh regional Indian Ajax-1 Sat, 06/09/2018 - 00:12 Permalink

Thanks Ajax. Even the post I linked was written in 2011, my second year into a 7 year period of being alone but never lonely.

I came out the other side a better musician, an artist, two books written and stronger and clearer than ever. 

This urge to be better than yesterday, more refined than before, higher up your own jacobian ladder....... that urge seems to be getting lost in generations x/y/z plus the lost boomers. 

Skill in key pounding and screen swiping... sad....

In reply to by Ajax-1

J S Bach Oh regional Indian Sat, 06/09/2018 - 01:59 Permalink

From the very get-go back in 2008 or 2009, I instinctively KNEW that FaceBook was antisocial.  A female friend of casual acquaintance sent me an invitation to be her "friend" via this new medium.  I thought, "okay, sure."  So, I began the process of clicking on the various buttons until, at last, there popped up the prompt, "you must first sign in to your own FaceBook account to enable this link".  I immediately thought, "F*** this, I'm not signing up for this BS".  But, I then I had the naturally ensuing thought, "If I don't accept her invitation, she'll think I'm NOT her friend!"  Do you get it?  Do you understand the underlying sinister element to all of this.  Human beings, especially females, are frail in nature and are easily persuaded to do things that they think will make them more accepted in the "herd".  All of this clicking, typing and staring at handheld devices actually makes us more isolated... more insecure.  It is unnatural and therefore, the perfect vehicle for driving our kind closer to the abyss of extinction.  Young people must forego these mediums when it comes to meeting with and pursuing a potential mate.  Live your life ACTUALLY, not VICARIOUSLY.

In reply to by Oh regional Indian

Escrava Isaura Adolfsteinbergovitch Sat, 06/09/2018 - 07:38 Permalink

I have this feeling that Melania trump is the LONELIEST person in the world right now even more so than Anthony Bourdain.

Wondering why?

Because she doesn’t like being there and she can’t change it. Under this circumstance loneliest makes one tired and depressed.

Alone is easy and convenient, especially in an industrialized capitalist system. Alone is also easy to change but less likely as one ages. However, alone won’t work post collapse, because you wouldn’t survive a day. To make post collapse a nation needs lots of young people, community, and religion.

Post collapse you want to be on the place that there’re the most young people as well as underground water and subtropical weather.

 

Civilized.

 

 

 

In reply to by Adolfsteinbergovitch

nmewn Escrava Isaura Sat, 06/09/2018 - 08:18 Permalink

"Alone is easy and convenient, especially in an industrialized capitalist system."

But enough on Hillary groveling for attention by cutting her rates for appearance by 90%, how about Sweden mobilizing the national guard, Trudeau groping women reporters and the Real crashing due to Brazil's doubling the fuel tax which triggered a nationwide truckers strike!

I mean, that all takes some concentrated, industrial strength, inane "social engineering" to get kick started ;-)

In reply to by Escrava Isaura

ravolla wadalt Sat, 06/09/2018 - 13:17 Permalink

HEY Spam-Lovers!  It's time for the Biblicism Thread-Jack!!!

Let's see, where do I start?  Oh yea, now I remember!!!

It's the Jooz!  The Jooz and IsraHELL made us do it!  It's the JOOOZ!!!!

Now, ALL of you need to click on the "hidden link" just below.  It will take you to my Trojan- and Virus-laden WHACK JOB of a website where you can INFECT YOUR DEVIL COMPUTER with a Decent White Christian VIRUS and several Decent White Crusader Trojans!!!

Here's my "super hidden / top-secret" LINK ::

Warning:  GRAPHIC STUPIDITY

In reply to by wadalt

Escrava Isaura BandGap Sat, 06/09/2018 - 10:13 Permalink

Forget Anthony Bourdain and let’s focus on the article which is about feeling isolated.

What’s felling isolated? When one doesn’t connect. It can happen in sports, friendship, and so on.

Example: Say you’re married but you no longer love your spouse but you have kids. You’re alone as a wife but not lone as a mother.

 

Now lets’ magnify the example:

Melania Trump vs. Meghan Markle

 

You tell who you think is happier. I think the answer will be obvious.

 

In reply to by BandGap

Escrava Isaura Tarzan Sat, 06/09/2018 - 09:16 Permalink

Tarzan: …… day by day, we've become less civil……….

Reality contradicts your statement. Our morals and understands have changed and evolved.

Just ask the blacks, women, minorities, and gay men and women.

 

Give you an example of our morality gradually improving:

Alan Turing, the British codebreaker who saved millions of British lives during WW2 was killed the British government in 1949 trying to cure Turing ‘gay’ disease. Back then they though being gay was a disease. Now we know that every human is half male and half female, and what happens, in the gay case, is that their chromosome goes haywire for reasons that we cannot yet, maybe never understand.    

 

 

In reply to by Tarzan

Infnordz Escrava Isaura Sat, 06/09/2018 - 11:36 Permalink

Communist rat idiot.

Power is amoral, morals require an intact religious ideology or race/national culture, and as they crumble, can be increasingly regarded as optional, by sociopaths with power e.g. the discovery of elite pedophile networks.

'Positive' (disloyal anti - White, Man, merit, hetrosexual) discrimination for Black, women, minorities, and sexually defective 'victims' is grossly disloyal Cultural Marxist BS sabotage. Our own must always matter first, and help for others must never ever compromise this or doom our own to a worse way of life, ironically it hurts females too e.g. many women are too blind/ignorant to see their wage/stranger/tax/covert-impoverishment/cat-lady slavery-trap from elite sponsored Suffrage and feminism!

Women have an amoral Hypergamy instinct at the core of Gynocentrism's historic subversion, including Feminism (misandry); Hypergamy should have been kept in balanced opposition by men, because its over-influence is already progressively destroying many countries, and disenfranchising their long-term-resident race people via immigration of merit-less, alien culture people.

Alan Turing was a criminal; he was not just gay, he became a Blackmailer and a pedophile (for the then more sensible age of consent); I hadn't been aware of this until recently, so had naively supported his official role, but Alt-Right and Red Pill educated me why he deserved his punishment and should never have been pardoned!

WW1 and WW2 were Oligarchical and Zionist economic wars which wasted huge amounts of resources and more-Alpha men, because some Oligarchs were too lazy to work to make England trade competitive with Germany, and failed to see the far more significant danger of Soviet Russia, so Alan Turing shouldn't ever have been needed!

In reply to by Escrava Isaura

tion Tarzan Sat, 06/09/2018 - 08:47 Permalink

I love Jesus, but I’d like to give a shoutout to the one with the well deserved nickname the Comforter, the best giver of hugs, the Holy Spirit, for just generally being awesome ^^

Also, IMO it is easy for lone wolves to get caught up in focusing on developing as an individual. But if developing as an individual is like journeying up a mountain, could it be that to journey back down is to unbecome an individual?

In reply to by Tarzan

Tarzan tion Sat, 06/09/2018 - 09:16 Permalink

To be without the Comforter, is to be without Jesus. 

He is the Holy Spirit, the same who spoke from the burning bush, who stood in the tent with Moses, the same who carried Enoch over the Earth, the same who came to the Disciples on the day of Pentecost, the one who since then, enters, when the door is opened.

In reply to by tion

Escrava Isaura 1 Alabama Sat, 06/09/2018 - 07:48 Permalink

Mysticism is part of being human. We will never understand fully well why our brain acts that way.

There are several factors that contribute to one believing in whatever one wants to believe.

One factor is that people like to give intelligent answers to life's problems and religion has these answers.

Well, erroneous and delusional answers, but still answers.

 

In reply to by 1 Alabama

Tarzan Escrava Isaura Sat, 06/09/2018 - 08:30 Permalink

One "factor" might be that scientists have run up against a wall, that big bangs can't create complex systems, that there isn't any where near enough matter in the universe, to keep it all from spinning out of control. 

When you remove the hand that controls, non of it makes sense, non of their formula work.  So they stubbornly call it "dark matter", the unseen hand.

The foolish games we play, to control each other, to deter from independent individuals, in an independent relationship with our creator, a living God...

In reply to by Escrava Isaura

Infnordz Tarzan Sat, 06/09/2018 - 10:20 Permalink

BS, what about Chaotic Attractors and Fractals in living things.

Science is a process which has no a wall, some stuff is simply harder because it needs smarter-enough researchers, and hard to build/refine technology, some requiring substantial time to move to measurement locations e.g. for space science.

Logic as far back as the Greek demolished all the arguments for Gods, with all arguments requiring disproof regarded as sophistry rhetoric or delusional solipsism.

Atheism does not reject gods by disproof, but rather from lack of objective, rational proof of their existence, including quite obvious cross-contradictions of God attribute assertions. Mysticism is all delusional BS, some via dogmatic lies.

Frankly Gods are obsolete, fear-backed, groping for meaning of the past, now best regarded as fantasy fiction, some quite abominable e.g. the Iudaic Volcano god. Probably all assembled religious texts for organised religions are edited tools for political power e.g. Roman Emperor Constantine's Christian Bible!

In reply to by Tarzan

FreedomWriter Infnordz Sat, 06/09/2018 - 19:31 Permalink

Or do some simply have more faith in science than religion? Who preaches the best Word now? Zuckerberg, Nobel, Einstein, Tesla, Marx, Adam Smith, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius?. If you obsess only about what you believe is wrong, you may never discover what is right. In any case, faith and free will exist because they are human TRAITS needed for human survival. They cannot be completely rationalized away by other dogma. 

Anyway, good luck with that. 

 

In reply to by Infnordz

RagnarRedux Tarzan Sat, 06/09/2018 - 15:33 Permalink

"...That there isn't any where near enough matter in the universe, to keep it all from spinning out of control.

When you remove the hand that controls, non of it makes sense, non of their formula work.  So they stubbornly call it "dark matter", the unseen hand."

 

It turns out "Dark Matter" is probably normal matter that was unaccounted for. Some 90% of Galaxies were being missed in surveys, it is now known there are large numbers of isolated Free-Floating Planets, there are many more Red Dwarfs than previously thought(a recent discovery of them just TRIPLED (3X) the number of known stars in the Universe), as well as massive interstellar gas clouds that are being discovered. 

NASA: Hubble Finds 10X More Galaxies Than Previously Thought, 2 Trillion Now

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/hubble-reveals-observable-uni…

https://phys.org/news/2017-01-universe-trillion-galaxies.html

ESO: Why Surveys Of Distant Galaxies Miss 90% Of Their Targets

https://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1013/

New Cache Of Red Dwarfs Triples The Number Of Known Stars In The Universe

Quote:

"Within these galaxies, a good chunk of the mass that had been ascribed to dark matter is probably stars," said Pieter van Dokkum, the lead researcher on the project."

Scientists Allege Dark Matter Doesn't Exist

https://www.space.com/4554-scientists-dark-matter-exist.html

Dark Matter Theories Challenged By Satellite Galaxy Discovery

https://www.space.com/15499-dark-matter-theory-galaxy-structures.html

Dark Matter Missing In Sun's Neighborhood

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/04/120419-dark-matter-sun-missing-stars-milky-way-space-science/

https://arxiv.org/abs/1204.3924

Planets That Have No Stars: New Class Of Planets Discovered

Quote:

"This discovery not only confirms that free-floating planets exist in space, but also indicates that they are quite common. Free-floating planets are very hard to detect, so the fact that the survey found up to 10 implies that there are many more that are not detected. The team of scientists that made the discovery estimates that there are about twice as many free-floating Jupiter-mass planets as stars. This implies that free-floating planets are likely to be least as common as planets, like ours, that orbit stars."

https://phys.org/news/2011-05-class-planets.html

https://phys.org/news/2013-10-strange-lonely-planet-star.html

Interstellar Gas Cloud Between Galaxies Found

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/09/interstellar-gas-cloud-andromeda-galaxy_n_3244446.html

Harvard: Is Dark Matter In Spiral Galaxies Interstellar Gas?
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1997ASPC..117..258F

In reply to by Tarzan

Edmund Dantes Tarzan Sat, 06/09/2018 - 10:23 Permalink

he was talking about the jews , who have ruined the world , their god is money and NOTHING else, now they have highjacked the culture and turned it into a culture that worships ONLY material  stuff , the stupid goy has signed off on this new "jewish Culture" , and don't worry, we don't have long on this earth as the jew is ready to nuke everyone on the planet if he doesn't get what he wants, which is 100% control over all non-jews. 

In reply to by Tarzan

Escrava Isaura Tarzan Sat, 06/09/2018 - 10:27 Permalink

Synagogue of Satan is a Christian fundamentalist’s b’shit. Both fundamentalist Christians and Jews under stress are Satans. Just look at their track records. Horrifying.  

Second, what Christians should really get curious about is what they say about others reveals clues about their own personality.

Ended negative perceptions of others are linked to narcissism, antisocial behavior, and even neuroticism.

 

In reply to by Tarzan

brushhog NidStyles Sat, 06/09/2018 - 08:31 Permalink

The first thing you have to realize is that nobody really gives a shit about anything but themselves. If somebody cares for you its because of the role you play in THEIR lives. Separate your relevance to another's life and they stop caring. Another thing that fools people is, as the article suggests, we are programmed to be social and tribal for our own safety and benefit. So, people will pretend to be connected to you, it's just a survival mechanism or a way for them to 'fit in' with the group in order to appear more relatable. They may even have connected feelings but it all relates back to them. When a person you havent seen in years and dont care about dies, hardly anybody says 'I dont give a shit'...you pretend to be sad or we make a small show of sympathy and emotion and then put it out of our minds and carry on. The show is for others [ and our own self image ] to project the facade of caring.

Once you realize this you understand that you are, in fact, utterly alone even in a room of your best friends and closest family members. This is very difficult, [especially for women] to come to grips with. It feels so much better to believe in the fantasy, you're programmed to believe it. However, once you grasp this fully, and fully process this, you can become completely self sufficient with some work. You begin to confide in yourself, without the need to reflect yourself against others to have an identity.

In reply to by NidStyles