“It is not good for the man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)
I am increasingly convinced that the ubiquity of the Internet is driving a large portion of the increase in depression. We used to have face to face conversations and gauge people’s emotions from the tone and tenor in their voices, observe their facial expressions and in general – communicate. Now were simply type, tap and twitter ourselves into deeper valleys of loneliness. Never have so many said so much to so few and experience smaller emotional returns for their expenditure.
Recently Bill Shuler offered ten thoughts on loneliness affecting our society:
- 70% of Americans describe their lives as having many acquaintances but few close friends.
- Mother Teresa: “The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved and uncared for…”
- E-mail is substituting the sound of the human voice and face to face contact.
- Life is like an elevator: we’re surrounded by people but no connection.
- According to one survey, 90% of the male population lacks a true friend.
- The benefit of touch can be the difference between sickness and health; life and death.
- Basic felt needs include: love, shared experience, trust and disclosure.
- The average American watches 4 hours of TV a day, far beyond the time invested in family communication or outside community activity.
- Prioritizing career advancement, we have opted to be mobile — leaving behind the family and friends who nurtured us.
- Researchers found that from 1985-2004 the number of people with whom Americans feel they can discuss important matters dropped by nearly a third.
— Bill Shuler, Ten Thoughts on Loneliness
We were not designed for the isolation of the internet. We have surrounded ourselves with hours and hours of endless entertainment and impersonal interaction. Even if we cavort on endless forums with thousands – we have no eye contact and no soul contact.
Do yourself a favor, power off the computer and go talk face to face with someone.