Loneliness as a political versus hermetic process or a psychological state? ( an inquiry)

StateSurgeon general lays out framework to tackle loneliness and ‘mend the social fabric of our nation’

Updated 9:01 AM EDT May 2, 2023
US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released an advisory Tuesday addressing the “epidemic of loneliness and isolation” affecting the country and laying out a framework for a “National Strategy to Advance Social Connection.”
The advisory is part of the Biden administration’s broader efforts to address mental health, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday.
“In recent years, about one-in-two adults in America reported experiencing loneliness,” Murthy says in the advisory. “And that was before the COVID-19 pandemic cut off so many of us from friends, loved ones, and support systems.”
Research has showed that loneliness and isolation are linked to sleep problems, inflammation and immune changes in younger adults. In older people, they’re tied to symptoms such as pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety and shorter life span. In people of all ages, they may be associated with higher risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, addiction, suicidality and self-harm, and dementia.
But social connection can help, Murthy’s office said in a statement, serving as a buffer to health problems while making communities more resilient.
“Loneliness I think of as a great masquerader. It can look like different things,” Murthy told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Monday. “Some people, they become withdrawn. Others become irritable and angry. … I think the time you get concerned is when you start experiencing a feeling of loneliness for prolonged periods of time. If you feel lonely, you pick up the phone and call a friend, and then it goes away, or you get in the car and go see a family member, that’s OK. That’s loneliness acting like hunger or thirst, a signal our body sends us when we need something for survival. It’s when it persists that it becomes harmful.”
Social connection is as essential to humanity as food, water or shelter, the advisory says. Humans have historically needed to rely on each other for survival, and modern people remain wired for that connection and for proximity to others.
“Given the profound consequences of loneliness and isolation, we have an opportunity, and an obligation, to make the same investments in addressing social connection that we have made in addressing tobacco use, obesity, and the addiction crisis,” Murthy says in his advisory. “We are called to build a movement to mend the social fabric of our nation. It will take all of us – individuals and families, schools and workplaces, health care and public health systems, technology companies, governments, faith organizations, and communities – working together to destigmatize loneliness and change our cultural and policy response to it.”
The framework is rooted in six pillars.
The first, strengthening social infrastructure in communities, involves boosting programs like volunteer organizations or religious groups, policies like public transit or education, and physical elements like libraries and green spaces.
“Investing in local communities and in social infrastructure will fall short if access to benefits is limited only to some groups,” the advisory notes. “Equitable access to social infrastructure for all groups, including those most at-risk for social disconnection, is foundational to building a connected national and global community.”
The second pillar calls for more “pro-connection public policies.” Governments and institutions are urged to adopt an approach that recognizes that policies can benefit or hinder connection and that “every sector of society is relevant to social connection.” Policymakers should focus on reducing disparities in connection.
The third pillar relies on the crucial role of public health and health care delivery systems to address social connection. Murthy calls for increased investment in educating health care providers about the physical and mental benefits of social connection and the risks of disconnection. Patients’ needs should be assessed and supported, and organizations should track prevalence of disconnection in communities and advance local solutions, he says.
For the fourth pillar, reforming digital environments, Murthy singles out the “tangible impact” of technology on Americans’ daily lives and connections. “Technology can also distract us and occupy our mental bandwidth, make us feel worse about ourselves and our relationships, and diminish our ability to connect with others. Some technology fans the flames of marginalization and discrimination, bullying, and other forms of severe social negativity.”
The framework calls for more data transparency from tech firms, as well as the establishment and implementation of safety standards such as age-related protections. It also encourages development of “pro-connection technology to promote healthy social connection, create safe environments for discourse, and safeguard the well-being of users.”
The fifth pillar, deepening knowledge, urges stakeholders such as officials, policymakers, health care providers and researchers to collaborate on a research agenda to address gaps in the data. “Consistent measurement will be critical to better understanding the driving forces of connection and disconnection, and how we can be more effective and efficient in addressing these states.”
The final pillar urges a culture of connection in which Americans “cultivate values of kindness, respect, service, and commitment to one another.” Everyone can use their voice to emphasize these values and model healthy connections, Murthy says, and the nation’s institutions should invest in demonstrating them.
The advisory concludes with suggestions about how specific groups – including governments, health organizations, schools, workplaces and individuals – can help advance social connection.
Parents and caregivers have an especially powerful role, the advisory says. They can model healthy connection by spending time together, setting aside time for screen-free socializing, and engaging in constructive conflict resolution. They’re also urged to encourage individual friendships and group activities, to be aware of how young people spend their time online and to watch for potential warning signs of loneliness or isolation.
Individual Americans might take time out of each day to connect with a friend or family member and minimize distractions during conversations. Regularly practicing service and gratitude can encourage others to do the same. Cut back on things that lead to disconnection, such as harmful social media use or time spent in unhealthy relationships. Be open with health care providers about significant social changes that may affect levels of connection, and reach out to a loved one, counselor, provider or crisis hotline in times of struggle.

any comments, political, socio-economic, h intrinsic-religious views? Or other related topics could be useful

Haven’t experienced loneliness in my life…other than when I ama round dull minds and forced to dum down my exchanges.

Loneliness is a product of discomfort with yourself - requiring constant distractions, contant external validations, input.
Extroverts are prone to it, because they need feedback.

For a social species isolation is a disciplinary threat - loneliness the unbearable price for not fitting-in by going-along.
Pretences all the way down, down into psychological emptiness.

Sure what else is new new, that can offer some confolescrnce?

Loneliness proclaims the isolated self as insufficient for mental stability.

One can be alone and not be lonely as in a state of meditation; however, eventually. one must return to give and take communication between self and other. I’ve often wondered how monks who have taken a vow of silence avoid loneliness.

What is evil about treating the less informed other as self (or why is this a grievous good?)? What is good about isolating oneself from treating the less informed other as self (or why is this evil less grievous than a grievous good?)?

Lilly experimented with an isolation tank to find out what happens to a brain isolated from external stimulation. Of course he experimented while on LSD. Aldous Huxley on his experiment with peyote wrote in “The Doors of Perception” that the mind could go to its own “hinterlands”. Neither experiment isolated mind from body. Both show the brain’s surreal attempts to describe the experience. Thus the conscious mind on hallucinogens invents a story to explain what is happening. It is not separated from the body.
OOps. This post should be in the mind<—>body thread.

And here on ILP one can feel as alone as Tarzan felt when among the apes.

To be utterly alone among multitudes…to be in a void within an echoing chatter box - white noise.

Why could Tarzan not find contentment within the social loving ape troop he dominated?
Can a man find contentment with only a dog as his companion?
What is missing?

Even in sexual relationship the attraction must be coupled with a certain degree of repulsion - females, in particular, need to feel a bit intimidated by the male, ergo they adore horses: strong, powerful, beasts they can ride and learn to control - power through association.
Why do women like but feel no attraction to effete, or submissive males that become carpets for them to walk on, who worship them as if they were marble idols on a pedestal?
Why are they bored by such men?

Loneliness indicates that there are missing parts of an otherwise Whole-- real or imagined.

Indeed…the absent absolute.
An echo of that near-absolute singularity that could never have finalized: order/chaos, Yin/Yang.
One is the imperfection of the other.
It is from where all binaries are derived.
Only in the mind can such absolutes exist - represented by words.
Logos becomes the absolute abstraction externalized as a symbol representing a ideal that must remain obscure, indefinite, mystical. Death-wish masked as a hopeful objective.

In procreation the binary becomes male/female - creator of order, the masculine - and the means, nature, chaos/order personified by the feminine.

Masculine wants to create an idealized copy of itself; the feminine wants to be completed, included, in such a creation.
Masculine self-seteeem - reaching the levels of narcissism - wants to impose its own order upon existence; feminine self-esteeem believes it is the perfect medium to create the ideal.
I refer to this as ‘positive nihilism’ because its theoretical realization would nullify existence.
Pure nihilism differs as it accepts the absence and worships it - essentially it worships chaos, i.e., from where order emerges and to where it returns.
Abrahamism’s duality of good/evil refers to this chaos/order duality.
Satan, the trickster is a Promethean figure.

Sex is akin to feeding - seeking satiation, completeness, finality via imperfections - ouroboros.
We see this in the act of copulation: sucking, licking, biting, penetrating and being penetrated, merger of two incomplete beings, hoping to achieve completeness in and through the other.
Masculine wants to absorb, assimilate otherness into a perfect being; female wants to absorb, integrate perfection to give birth to a perfect being…both fail because perfection does not exist - absent absolute.
Finality, completeness, wholeness, the ideal is never attained, the process continues. The absolute is never found…the immutable, indivisible, singularity remaining an ideal that can never be attained, because if it could - in theory - it would mean the end of existence.
What is attained - if man does not intervene with his ideologies - is the superior within a fluctuating environment.

The platonic ideal is projected in some netherworld. Kant and Schopenhauer also position their thing-in-itself, and will, respectively, in some non-existent 'outside space/time, causality, realm.

the silence of female crickets echoed like a thousand broken Bach records

Lorikeet wrote,

Yes, he can as long as he has a strong sense of self - knows himself, likes himself and his own company and has a strong sense of belonging…whether it is to God, nature, community. No man is an island but if a man or woman is comfortable in his/her solitude, enjoys that, thrives on that, he or she can always be or find contentment - because it is within.

What do you think would be missing from that equation, Lorikeet?

If you would remain content surrounded by apes…then let’s not put it to the test.
Among the ILPers you are amongst your own.

Other than the obvious?
A challenge.

In between stress and ennui we exist, as organisms with needs/desires…and when both are easily met, then the mind craves to expunge its accumulating energies, and if it cannot it feels bored…seeking diversions.

Or, do you think these kardashienesque shows like the ones perpetuated as the Markle- Harry show, not supply just the right remedie to this boredom(not unlike the phony peace before WW2) to allay such boredom by elements needing substance to their periodic get to gathers at the Club of Rome get together!

I am afraid they may not stoop to micro biological rationals of narratives

Living vicariously through adolescent dramatics requires an identification with a common trait.
The superior cannot relate to what is inferior to a degree that can satisfy this form of projection.

The inferior cannot relate with the superior, at all, reducing it to a level it can make sense of - a ape perceives humans as being like itself, as do dogs.
Subjective first-person sympathizing/antipathizing is a cognitive leap where the inferior projects itself in another’s circumstances.
We do it when we watch movies or television shows or theater plays.

An additional advancement from subjective projection to objective empathy makes such simplistic methods unsatisfactory.
A man can know an ape better than it can ever know itself and will be bored by it a soon as empathic understating has made it entirely predictable.
For apes a human is unpredictable and mystifying - incomprehensible - an endless source of interest.

This is why I separate sympathy/antipathy from empathy, as a movement from subjective projections to objective understanding where sympathy & antipathy would corrupt the outcome.

I remember learning the difference between sympathy and empathy. I like the way you explained it. That’s why they’re called Nazi sympathizers and not Nazi empathizers. You could empathize with someone without agreeing with them, but once you sympathize with them all objectivity is out the window — unless you back up and empathize with every party, which means you understand on the level of basic human needs/valuation, but not necessarily agree on the level of how you each are ordering/regulating them according to self=other. The rules of engagement (if self=other and us=them is the regulating/revaluating/ordering principle) suggest that each stakeholder explain the reasons for why they order/regulate the needs/values in play the way they do. If they cannot, perhaps there is a lack of insight, or a hidden motive.

The difference is appreciated, Lorekeet, Ishthus, and communication between archaic magic , a mystically participative dynamic of primary socialization, looking like an absolutely necessary part of existence, truly the survival of the fittest , connecting that to a shrinking duration , a modern invention suddenly glued to a pre modem colonial inferiority if that is really what it is;

Takes aesthetic jumps foreward from Jesus back to Shakyamuni, and that was many thousands ago, an unimaginable time in human history; where the Lotus mantra is found to project LOVE of the other as the primal protectively identified voice in an otherwise beastly introjective terrain,

That Jesus can echo these very same sentiments of compassion by a parabolic course of introjection , is really miraculous, and the two forge a unity of practical wisdom out of parallel albeit temporally universes apart.

That is to say, the the exclusive pleasure between them is never sacrificed, they are merely instruments of each others method, casting shadows on each other to avoid the fate of Icarus.

The same for sympathy and the emphasis placed on the growing indifference, the growing marginality, that enthropically puts bad karma on UN inherited genetic components, that has mystified researchers, whereas enlightenment, a fearfully described absolute liberation is rejected by most as it Carrie’s with it the price of never coming back.

Empathy then must correlate with sympathy, not merely in parallel circuitry, but must again descend to an analogy, the boomerang of return so that the others be able to liberate others through themselves as well. This is almost impossible to see, less understand, for even now who would understand less see a miracle, when it did happen?