An Epidemic of Loneliness



Living, dating, and dying in a time of isolation with Kerry Cronin, Associate Director of the Lonergan Institute at Boston College, and Emily Esfahani Smith, Author, moderated by Marcie Stokman, Founder of the Well-Read Mom reading group

Speakers will address the topic of loneliness in our society and its root causes. Dr. Kerry Cronin will share her findings on the alienation that underlies the “lost art of dating,” while Emily Esfahani Smith will speak about the close relationship between solitude, belonging, and the lack of meaning in life.

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A terrible sense of solitude overcomes the human being in the face of a destiny devoid of all meaning. Solitude, in fact, does not signify to be alone, but the absence of a meaning. You could stand in the middle of a million people and still be as alone as you can possibly be, if those million people present have no meaning for you. That solitude which we often lament in our life with others, betrays our misunderstanding of its meaning. We live together failing to recognize what unites us. Thus even the smallest offense becomes a pretense for breaking down the bonds of trust. In this way, solitude becomes an exasperating social climate, sadly the characteristic face of today’s society. … The celebrated name of Teilhard de Chardin comes to mind with the tremendous statement that the greatest danger which today’s humanity needs to fear is not a catastrophe which comes from out there somewhere, a stellar catastrophe, neither is it famine, nor even disease; rather it is spiritual malady, which is the most terrible malady: it is to remain “without the taste for life.”

~Luigi Giussani, The Religious Sense, McGill, 1997, pages 85-86

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Featured image: Edward Hopper, Automat, oil on canvas, 1927 | Des Moines Art Center, Iowa | via