The Loneliness Epidemic: How Society’s Dependence on Money is Leaving Us Alone and Disconnected

Why are so many people in the modern world so lonely?

Because humans are storytelling creatures, finding meaning is a critical part of finding happiness. While there are many ways that human beings find meaning, it can be increasingly difficult in a world that is singularly focused on growth of the monetized world.

Loneliness is almost baked into the cake as far as a modern society with the kind of social setup and infrastructure and economic system that we have today.

The people you look at everyday, the people in the house across the street even may not be people that you know, or maybe at most you know their name but you don’t know their story, you don’t know where they came from, the hardships and triumphs of their life. We are not involved in each other’s stories anymore. And we also don’t depend on each other in the way that most people did for most of human history when your well being depended on the health and gifts of the people around you.

Gifts create relationships whereas a money transaction does not create relationship. We’re done. I paid ya, man. You don’t have anything on me. I don’t have anything on you. We’re done. When all of our relationships become mediated by money, we have again the feeling of being alone, the feeling of not being connected. We live in an economy that is moving more and more towards the totalization of money transactions.

On a deeper level, I think every human being has a need to be useful, a need to do more with your life than just being secure, having enough money, feeding your family. We need more than that. We need to contribute to something that is beautiful to us, that we care about for real.

Certainly on one level, if you are just a cog in the machine, replaceable by someone else, you are going to feel not needed, but I think even more than that, you might be doing something irreplaceable to your company, but still if your company isn’t doing something that fills your life with meaning, that makes you say, “yeah, I am doing what I was put on this earth to do,” then you are still not going to feel fulfilled. On the other hand, if what you are doing is something that is very humble, if it is part of a cause that you believe in, and if you can see that what you are doing is actually necessary for that cause to be manifested on earth, then you’ll still feel good about what you are doing probably.

The key isn’t necessarily in finding work that is challenging where no one else could replace you. It’s really more about where do I put my life energy? My lifetime is a gift. My life is a gift. What am I going to do with this? When I have that sneaking suspicion that I am not doing what this gift is for, then underneath it all I am going to have unease, disquiet, and a yearning that pushes me all the time with restlessness to find what is it that I am here to do.

There is this fear if I give generously, what about me, what is going to be left for me, who is going to take care of me because we do not see a world where the giver is taken care of too. So therefore we want to be financially independent, we want to not need anyone’s gifts. We want to be able to pay for everything and that leaves us alone. This paradise of financial independence means that you don’t need anybody and they don’t really need you either. Now actually that is an illusion. Actually you are still dependent on people, on the sun, on the water, on the soil. You are still actually in total dependency. It’s just dependency on strangers, dependency on distant beings that you are not in any other kind of relationship with. That is where our civilization has taken us and we are pretty lonely here.

For the lonely person in this culture who is not lonely because they don’t have friends,begin to orient towards the perception of gift meaning to see your life as a gift, to see your purpose as being to give, to understand that you have to receive in order to continue giving, and to evaluate situations like what am I meant to give in this situation and what am I meant to receive?

If you can get in touch, and this is not a to-do, it is an invitation, a suggestion, maybe even listening to this you’ll receive that gift, which is that I am a beautiful being that has been generously been gifted life and breath and sun and love and a body. I didn’t earn this but here I am. And I know why I am here. I know that I yearn to contribute to a beautiful world. When you are in the gift, you will no longer feel lonely and deep connections will grow with other people as a result of this orientation toward gift.


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