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  • Long distance sailors, who brave months alone at sea,

  • tend to report that their greatest challenge

  • is the soul-destroying loneliness.

  • We're prone to feeling lonely when we're socially isolated,

  • but we can also feel lonely when we're not isolated,

  • when we're in relationships with people who care about us.

  • So, what is that "terrible loneliness,"

  • as philosopher Bertrand Russell puts it,

  • where "one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world

  • into the cold, unfathomable, lifeless abyss."

  • Loneliness is the unwelcome feeling that we lack companions,

  • that we have fewer or poorer relationships than we want.

  • Feeling lonely is like feeling pain, thirst and fear.

  • It triggers our "fight or flight" response.

  • In small doses, loneliness can help us.

  • It can prod us to reach out to other people,

  • but when loneliness becomes chronic and acute, it's corrosive.

  • Some of us turn to drugs to deal with loneliness.

  • Some of us join abusive relationships or gangs.

  • It's correlated with health risks

  • such as depression, reduced immunity, and even suicidal behaviour.

  • Studies indicate that young people feel lonely

  • as often as older people do.

  • Even young children can feel deep loneliness.

  • If loneliness is a serious social problem,

  • what do we do about it?

  • Can we have a right not to be lonely?

  • We cannot have a right against feeling lonely,

  • but we could have rights against

  • some of the underlying conditions that tend to cause loneliness.

  • Such as a right not to be persistently socially isolated,

  • including a right not to be left to fend for ourselves

  • }when we need help to stay social,

  • like the physically impaired person

  • }who needs some help to get out of the house.

  • Although this isn't currently an explicit right

  • in international agreements,

  • arguably it should be,

  • because human rights are about the brute moral minimum

  • that we owe each other as human beings.

  • In addition to talking about rights,

  • we can work individually to alleviate our own and each other's loneliness.

  • There is value in small social connections,

  • like the visit to the doctor, the ride on the bus,

  • and the trip to the grocery shop.

  • We can make it a habit, as writer George Monbiot suggests,

  • to start conversations with people we don't know.

  • These micro-moments of connection aren't just nice,

  • according to social psychologist Barbara Fredrickson,

  • they change us for the better, emotionally and physically.

  • It's like getting exercise.

  • And it goes both ways,

  • our heart's capacity for love obeys the biological law: Use it or lose it.

  • As children's singer Charlotte Diamond puts it:

  • Give four hugs a day - that's the minimum, not the maximum.

  • Thanks for watching! :)

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Long distance sailors, who brave months alone at sea,


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我們有權利不孤獨嗎?| 英國廣播公司理念 (Do we have a right not to be lonely? | BBC Ideas)

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    Summer 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日