Loneliness worse than obesity?

Serious discussion of science, skepticism, and evolution
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lpetrich
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Loneliness worse than obesity?

Post by lpetrich » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:27 am

Loneliness: More Premature Deaths & Greater Health Risk Than Obesity, Study Shows : Health & Medicine : Nature World News
solation of individuals suggests that loneliness can be deadly in comparison to obesity. People exposed to isolation show more health problem occurrences than that to fat people. More lonely people die of stroke, and the social isolation shows increasing rates to early deaths. Infants lacking social contacts are extreme examples as they fail to thrive and eventually meet their demise.

Countries see increasing population of people exposed to loneliness

With 218 subjects in a study in the United states regarding exposure to isolation and its effects on human health, researchers link the early demise of lonely people in a lot of four million patients suffering the health hazard. The investigation indicates that 50 percent of the patients in the circle of loneliness die earlier than a socialized individual that has the connection to people, in comparison to obesity whose rate of dying is at the age of around 70 which is about 30 percent of the subjects in the research.
So being online has been very good for me. :(

Loren Pechtel
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Post by Loren Pechtel » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:10 am

It doesn't surprise me.

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Aupmanyav
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Post by Aupmanyav » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:45 am

Neither does it surprise me. Though I do not mind being alone.

Loren, Ben Netanyahu is in India for another hugging session with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They have signed nine agreements. He will be here for six days!

Moshe Holtzberg, the 12 year old, who lost his parents in the Mumbai terrorist attack will visit the restored Nariman House Chabad.
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Restored Nariman House. Only the top floor is kept unrestored as a reminder of the attack.
Image
After the attack and anti-terrorist operation
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'Sarve khalu idam Brahma'
All things here are Brahman (physical energy).

Loren Pechtel
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Post by Loren Pechtel » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:11 am

[quote=""Aupmanyav""]Neither does it surprise me. Though I do not mind being alone.

Loren, Ben Netanyahu is in India for another hugging session with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They have signed nine agreements. He will be here for six days!

Moshe Holtzberg, the 12 year old, who lost his parents in the Mumbai terrorist attack will visit the restored Nariman House Chabad.
Image
Restored Nariman House. Only the top floor is kept unrestored as a reminder of the attack.
Image
After the attack and anti-terrorist operation
Image[/quote]

Are you responding to the right thread???

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Jobar
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Post by Jobar » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:55 am

I do think some people are natural hermits, and suffer more from too much company instead of too much time alone. But those are rather rare. I'd be curious to know what percentage of the population they would constitute, and I expect that there are more males than females who prefer solitude.

Still, even natural eremites need occasional companionship, I'd say. We're a social species, and the great majority of us need to interact with our fellow men and women.

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Post by Hermit » Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:38 am

[quote=""Jobar""]some people are natural hermits, and suffer more from too much company instead of too much time alone.[/quote]
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sohy
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Post by sohy » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:27 pm

Being alone or preferring a lot of time alone isn't the same thing as being lonely. Some introverts might prefer to be alone most of the time, but even a strong introvert can experience loneliness.

I've read many medical articles that associated the lack of social engagement as a strong risk factor for dementia. Older adults who live alone are especially vulnerable to suffering from loneliness. It would be interesting to know if having a pet helps prevent loneliness. I've known people who claim that their dog or cat keeps them from feeling lonely, but I'm not sure if this has been studied much. I have read a few articles that claim that older adults who have pets do have some health benefits from such relationships. As a dog lover, I think our pets do prevent loneliness to some extent.

It would also be interesting to know if engaging with people on the Internet can prevent loneliness. :d unno:

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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:16 pm

I believe the connection between increased longevity and pet ownership is well established and I’d be willing to bet the primary reason would be surcease of loneliness, but more importantly I would guess that it is the physical interaction that is the primary cause of the surcease. Iow, non-verbal communication is more important than verbal in regard to overcoming loneliness.

This is already evident in many long term marriages/coupling, where partners have been together for decades and although no longer have too much to verbally communicate with each other, can’t stand to be apart and/or claim to want to be apart only to immediately regret their actions if they split. Not always, of course, but certainly in enough instances to make it significant.

As for the internet’s effect, although I haven’t researched it, I’d guess in this regard that it actually causes more loneliness than it cures in a general sense; for the chronically lonely, likely helps, but for how long? If one is shipwrecked on a deserted island or isolated in say the Arctic, having an internet connection would likely be a life-saver for most for that very reason (human interaction), but I would guess it wouldn’t last very long. Maybe a few years? Eventually the lack of substantial contact—of physical interractioin engaging different senses—would be maddening, particularly for someone trapped in a hopeless situation such as on a deserted island or in any number of space-related scenarios.

It seems the hope of physical interaction is the most driving element (and I don’t just mean sexual desires). Which is why I would guess that just online discussion forums would help initially, but eventually the hopelessness of never seeing/touching/interacting physically with the person typing would drive an isolated person mad and force them to eventually reject the technology.

It will be interesting to see long term studies on sex dolls/robots that will eventually be conducted about twenty to thirty years from now.

As for hermitage, that seems more a rejection of others likely driven by traumatic experiences in one’s youth than anything intrinsic, though I’ve thought it may have something to do with the phenomenon of programmed cell death. Evidently our cells are “programmed” to commit suicide (literally) when no longer useful. Hermits seem to be individuals that feel like they are either not part of the fold (outsiders) and so they just naturally move away from the fold, or that they are so far beyond the fold (elites) that they just don’t feel anyone “gets” them (or they others).

Iow, for whatever reason, they feel they are not “useful” to the body politic, if you will (and/or that it is not useful to them). Instead of killing themselves, however, they simply remove themselves, which is effectively the same thing.
Last edited by Koyaanisqatsi on Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Politesse
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Post by Politesse » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:40 pm

Even if someone truly doesn't care for company, many of the risk factors they examined are alleviated simply by having someone around. There's value in a friend who knows you well enough to notice if something is wrong; you've fallen or had a stroke, you're experiencing tics, your gait or odor has suddenly changed, etc.
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Post by Ozymandias » Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:29 am

[quote=""Jobar""]I do think some people are natural hermits, and suffer more from too much company instead of too much time alone. But those are rather rare. I'd be curious to know what percentage of the population they would constitute, and I expect that there are more males than females who prefer solitude.
[/quote]

I'm a bit like that. I spend most of my day wishing people would just leave me alone. Ocassionally when family are away, or if I go travelling on my own, I get to spend two weeks or so with no meaningful interaction and it is bliss. I'm not sure if I would get loney over a longer time period but I have never reached my "aloneness" limit.

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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:53 am

But if you found those people to be likeable/stimulating/engaging/etc., Ozy, do you think you’d still feel the same way?
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Post by Ozymandias » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:47 am

Maybe. But I am getting old now and have never met anyone likeable/stimulating/engaging enough to make me not want to be alone. I doubt I will in the future.

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Post by Hermit » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:33 am

Prompted by Sohy's comment I think it's a good idea to add to my previous post that I hardly ever feel lonely, especially not when I am alone. Almost six years ago I went through the most desperately miserable time of my life so far, but even then loneliness played no part at all.

Further, it is not the case that I resent interacting with others. I actually do value and enjoy that. I am not shy or withdrawn in company either. I just prefer being alone most of the time.

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Post by Aupmanyav » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:39 pm

[quote=""Loren Pechtel""]Are you responding to the right thread???[/quote]Yeah, see the first sentence of my post. :) [quote=""sohy""]It would also be interesting to know if engaging with people on the Internet can prevent loneliness. :d unno:[/quote]I think it can.
'Sarve khalu idam Brahma'
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Post by sohy » Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:47 pm

[quote=""Hermit""]Prompted by Sohy's comment I think it's a good idea to add to my previous post that I hardly ever feel lonely, especially not when I am alone. Almost six years ago I went through the most desperately miserable time of my life so far, but even then loneliness played no part at all.

Further, it is not the case that I resent interacting with others. I actually do value and enjoy that. I am not shy or withdrawn in company either. I just prefer being alone most of the time.[/quote]

I don't deny that some people need very little time interacting with other people. You have pets. Do your pets keep you company? Would you feel lonely if you had no pets? Just wondering because my life wouldn't seem complete if I didn't have my fur children, both of which are currently cuddled up next to me.

I disagree with Koy about internet activity. I do think that interacting with people online does help prevent loneliness. And, I don't think we all need face to face social engagement to feel like we are interacting with other people.


For example, my son is an extreme introvert, although he is married and has two children. ( His wife complains that he's too quiet. ) He and I rarely talk on the phone and I only visit him once a year, but we text each other several times a week, and that makes me feel socially connected with him. It keeps each of us informed about how things are going for the other one. I also have at least one friend that I primarily interact with through texting. The times have changed and there are many ways for people to connect to each other. I think this is true for baby boomers and those who came after that generation.

I enjoy face to face contact, and hugging and all that in small doses, but I also enjoy interaction like phone calls, texting and Internet interaction. All of it is part of what I consider my social engagement with others. When my husband was working full time, I really enjoyed my alone time, but now I think we've both adjusted to being together most of the time. He's good company but I still need to interact a little bit with other people too.

I think extroverts probably need a lot more face to face interaction, but most introverts need a lot of alone time, so their need for face to face interaction is probably much more limited.

There's probably a reason that most posters on discussion boards are introverts. :) At least that's how most of us score when we discuss the most recent results from goofy personality tests that we take.

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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:01 pm

I disagree with Koy about internet activity. I do think that interacting with people online does help prevent loneliness. And, I don't think we all need face to face social engagement to feel like we are interacting with other people.
To clarify, I think it helps as well, just not long term and as one’s only means of interaction, unless one is in dire circumstances (i.e., stationed at the Antarctic or some non-choice-based circumstances). The medium—the technology itself—however, serves only to further isolate. It’s a lot like anti-depression medications that cause depression as a side effect the more you use them.

As to the “need” for face-to-face, that’s missing my point (and my fault as well for not better clarifying). What Homo sapiens sapiens “needs” is physical interaction (most likely the side effect of evolution and a need for tribe-based survival against animal attacks, including other Homo sapiens sapiens).*

The “technological” age, however has seen the invention of escalatorily (to coin an adverb) isolating mediums. We used to sit around a fire and tell stories of the day’s hunt or whatever. Reflective group interraction. This daily ritual served many purposes without anyone really knowing it and for the longest time it got augmented/extended by the invention of “theatre” (i.e., stage acting/performing) as well as “art” (i.e., painting), but that’s a tertiary branch.

The medium of theatre, in particular, shifted things, such that the stories we told were no longer about the immediate tribe, but the extended tribe (i.e., people from other tribes). For centuries this was a unifying medium in that it allowed tribes from all over the world to share various commonalities (as well as explore differences). As humanity/civilization grew, theatre was the medium that arguably spread that foundation the best (along with various other art forms) and it did so effectively precisely because everyone was present in the room. Body language and human interraction was inherent to the circumstances before, during and after every performance.

With the industrial/technological age, however, theatre—as a dominant medium for human interraction/reflection—slowly got replaced first with radio, which is a medium that is, I would say, one full step removed from the nightly fire ritual in the sense that the narrator of the night’s stories and the “characters”—like in theatre—are no longer the people around the fire and your fellow tribe’s men and women, but still one’s imagination was engaged to picture the events being described and project one’s own mental world.

Unlike theatre, the individual audience member was free to fill in the blanks, as it were and so the medium captured a whole generation quickly. It also, of course, allowed for more timely “news” to be delivered and a prioritizing of what was deemed important by the tribal “elders” so to speak. But arguably the most important feature to the medium was that you didn’t have to leave your home to engage with it. Isolation from the larger tribe in turn solidifies the immediate family as one’s primary tribe, so we were one step removed from fully engaged social interraction with the larger tribe, but still engaged interactively with one’s own family members (for the most part) in sitting around the fire listening to stories (only the fire was now a radio).

Then of course came movies, famously derided as a “fad,” (just like TV) which are several more steps removed and no longer engage one’s own private mental world like radio (or theatre), but in a whole new way that actually required a physical evolution of sorts to adjust to the medium itself. You research any early days of film showings and you get numerous anecdotes about people thinking a train was actually about to hit them and the like.

It’s the first instance of what McLuhan would later crystallize with his “the medium is the message” assessment of TV, where the delivery mechanism—the technology—takes over and the content it is delivering is secondary. People are still interacting with other humans in the room, but in a much more isolated way. You watch a movie and you’re fixated on the screen and get irritated when anyone speaks or even coughs (breaking your engagement).

Which of course brings us to TV, which is exponential steps away from the fire ritual even though in appearances it seems like merely a small extension. The technological age, however, is now taking a giant step in pysically restructuring our brains to mold us to “it” in the technological sense, rather than earlier mediums engaging or “capturing” our attention. TV just takes it. It is the first medium of its kind that induces passivity on its audience, which in turn isolates the audience member like no other medium before it.

When you “watch” TV (a misnomer) the technology essentially places you into an alpha/hypnotic state and simply beams content more or less directly into your brain, causing you to shut down most if not all critical cognitive functions. Your imagination is not engaged at all; quite the contrary. While you are “watching” you are really more like ingesting something that is being force-fed into you. I mentioned this book many times, but I strongly encourage anyone interested to read The Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television for further discussion on this point (hint: three of the arguments have nothing to do with content).

Point being, that TV isolates such that, even in a crowded room, each individual thinks he or she is the only one being “spoken” to. The only thing that makes it a group activity is if someone is offering a running commentary on what’s being watched (such as during a sports broadcast).

This is NOT the same condition as in a movie theater, btw, again due entirely to the mechanics of the medium itself. A film is (used to be) projected onto a screen and thus the audience is watching reflected light as opposed to TV, which is basically if you stood up in a movie theater, turned around and the projectionist focused the projector to beam the movie directly into your eyes.

Now, of course we leap another exponential level to computers and then another to laptops and then another to portable TV screens (iPhones) and we are so far removed from sitting around the fire and we get this now:

Image

Fully engaged individuals that are engaged only in individual activity, ignoring and largely oblivious to the people that are literally right next to them. The tribe is almost completely gone and every individual is isolated, but thinks they are fully socially engaged because of artificial “communities.” We even still call them “communities” (like here and Facebook and the like). They are “social” only in name.

Now, does this have any bearing on the statistical fact that within any group there will be a certain small percentage who just feel like they don’t belong (e.g., “introverts&#8221 ;) ? Probably not, but then I was attempting, anyway, to separate the more dire or extreme from the general or majority.

*ETA: I also think we are evolving beyond that, but I’m not sure technology actually helps us evolve or merely takes the place of evolution, arresting us physically at our current state and then simply supplanting that function for us, eventually resulting in our seemingly inevitable uploading into mechanical forms, whatever they may be. Personally, I think we will all upload into little black boxes and “live” eternally in purely artificial realities, which is both the logical endgame of these exponentially isolating mediums and the logical endgame to our metaphysical/ epistemological “solipsistic” condition (i.e., our “user illusion&#8221 ;) .
Last edited by Koyaanisqatsi on Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:14 pm, edited 10 times in total.
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Jobar
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Post by Jobar » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:57 pm


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Post by Hermit » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:24 am

[quote=""sohy""]
Hermit;682843 wrote:Prompted by Sohy's comment I think it's a good idea to add to my previous post that I hardly ever feel lonely, especially not when I am alone. Almost six years ago I went through the most desperately miserable time of my life so far, but even then loneliness played no part at all.

Further, it is not the case that I resent interacting with others. I actually do value and enjoy that. I am not shy or withdrawn in company either. I just prefer being alone most of the time.
I don't deny that some people need very little time interacting with other people.[/QUOTE]
You misunderstood my post, primarily because it is sorely lacking in clarity. It was prompted by your pointing out the distinction between being alone and feeling lonely, which is, I think, an important one to keep in mind in any discussion about loneliness.

I also agree with all of the points you have made in this thread so far. The only objection I have, and it is a minor one because I am only speaking from personal experience, is that I am an extrovert who prefers being alone to spending time in the company of others. Introverts are supposedly shy and reticent. I am neither.

Additionally, and this is not really connected with the above, I generally like people.

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Post by sohy » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:47 pm

While I realize that social science isn't always correct in its interpretations of human behavior, my understanding of intro and extroverts is a bit different from your's. From what I've read, an introvert isn't necessarily shy or reticent at all. An introvert is just someone that is energized by his/her alone time, while an extrovert is someone that is energized by being around people. I usually come out as a mild introvert. I am friendly, sometimes even outgoing, but being around people, especially crowds, wears me out and being alone helps me rebound. Maybe these labels are simply bullshit.

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Post by Hermit » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:43 pm

[quote=""sohy""]While I realize that social science isn't always correct in its interpretations of human behavior, my understanding of intro and extroverts is a bit different from your's. From what I've read, an introvert isn't necessarily shy or reticent at all. An introvert is just someone that is energized by his/her alone time, while an extrovert is someone that is energized by being around people. I usually come out as a mild introvert. I am friendly, sometimes even outgoing, but being around people, especially crowds, wears me out and being alone helps me rebound. Maybe these labels are simply bullshit.[/quote]
Social science can redefine labels to its heart's content. I went by the dictionary definition. It may be wrong, but that is what most people think an introvert is.

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