New York City, NY

NYC's 'Epidemic of Loneliness' Strikes at an Old Philosophy Problem

Genius Turner

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Feelings of isolation have reportedly skyrocketed in the wake of COVID quarantine.(Nenad Stojkovic/Flickr)

NYC health commissioner Dr. Chokshi recently declared "an epidemic of loneliness"

New York City — "All of humanity's problems," warned Pascal, "stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone." If such be the case, no wonder many in the City of Dreams have awakened to the coronavirus quarantine nightmare — "loneliness."

According to a recent survey, 1 out of every 2 New Yorkers reportedly feels "lonely." And the NYC health commissioner suspects he knows why.

“The full toll of the pandemic on our emotional health is becoming clearer,” Dr. Chokshi wrote. Indeed, quarantine slowed and stretched the New York Minute. Perhaps many a New Yorker, long accustomed to hustle and bustle, now understands why being alone is the mother of loneliness.

The reason humans dislike being alone is no secret. We dread being locked in a battle with our own minds. Quarantine, then, merely served as a reminder.

As Dr. Chokshi noted:

But the truth is, loneliness has been hiding in plain sight for years in America. Rigorous scientific studies on the negative health effects of loneliness and social isolation exist — yet public health action has remained uneven.

Alone time leading to loneliness is as old as time itself. In fact, from the West to the Far East, philosophy has long said its basis consists of grappling with suffering and loneliness.

In short, because each cloud comes with a silver lining, perhaps Einstein's approach will serve New Yorkers well: "I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity."

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