The 19th Surgeon General of the United States makes a case for loneliness as a public health concern: a root cause and contributor to many of the epidemics sweeping the world today, from alcohol and drug addiction to violence to depression and anxiety.
... surprising ... Together resists the temptation to romanticize the past, recognizing that many close-knit communities can be suffocating to people who don’t conform to a narrow, limiting set of ideals. Drawing from real-life initiatives across the world, Murthy offers a road map to a future that is less stifling than a purely collectivist culture and less isolating than an individualistic one, in which kindness and care for others become the reigning principles of American society. This book is a welcome tonic for an increasingly divided country.
Murthy writes with compassion, but his everything-can-be-reduced-to-loneliness argument is hard to swallow, not least because much of what he has to say about loneliness was said about homelessness in the nineteen-eighties ... Curiously, Murthy often conflates the two, explaining loneliness as feeling homeless ... Maybe what people experiencing loneliness and people experiencing homelessness both need are homes with other humans who love them and need them, and to know they are needed by them in societies that care about them. That’s not a policy agenda. That’s an indictment of modern life.