A few days ago I was driving down the main street that crosses my town. I stopped in a traffic light waiting to turn left, when all of a sudden I heard loud sounds of weeping. The sounds stood out above the noise of cars, buses and roadwork. Animal-like sounds of crying blended with mumbled, unintelligible words. I looked around, but could not identify where they were coming from. When the light finally changed, as I started to turn, in the corner of my eye I saw an old man in the car next to me. His hands gripped the wheel firmly and his face was distorted with agony, crying and screaming. Seconds later I saw his car in my rearview mirror driving away, and he disappeared.
In a busy street, surrounded by thousands of people, connected to millions of people through a touch of his smartphone’s screen, this man was alone. His cries could only be heard by few, and seen by even fewer. He was trapped in his car, in motion, while experiencing a crisis that made him weep and scream out loud.
Loneliness may very well be the black plague of the 21st Century. Young adults leave home for college, and then move to a big city to find a job. Their old friends from their hometown and college move to other jobs in other places, and relationships turn from real-life to Facebook. The lonelier they feel, and the shyer and less emotionally-stable they are, these young individuals go on Facebook more often , which in turn causes a decline in their positive emotions and their satisfaction with life . They then settle and establish families in their new place, far from their parents, siblings, and friends, and when left in an empty nest they often age alone and isolated. The Campaign to End Loneliness  in the UK found 800,000 people to be “chronically lonely,” most of which are among the elderly. Five million people identified TV as their primary source of company. The more crowded our habitats are, and the more digitally interconnected the world turns, the lonelier we become.