In a previous post, "Perceived Isolation," I mentioned a lucky find while trawling the web (actually, trawling usually uses a web or net!). It was a webcast of a fascinating lecture by social neuropsychologist John Cacioppo.
In the December 1 edition of the Globe and Mail, this article appeared on the very same work, with focus on one eye-catching aspect: the way people can "catch" loneliness from each other. I cannot do it justice here, so please give it a read. Suffice to say, it rang true to me as someone who has been on both ends of such psycho-social infection over the years. Not pleasant in either case!
Evolution finely honed our facial muscles, the facial recognition parts of our brain, our intuition, and our ability to learn very complex language (e.g., poetry) that variously befriends, delights, enlightens, and consoles. But the amount of time that loneliness has plagued our species has been insufficient for evolution to help us adjust. No wonder it causes so much psychic pain (and its physical manifestations).
If biology is too slow, culture will have to compensate!!