A collection of articles to help us consider how to strengthen the ideas, institutions, and social practices that sustain a flourishing society.
1. The Legion of Lonely
By Stephen Thomas
Thomas discusses loneliness as a cultural and societal phenomenon, and hones in on the disproportionate impact of loneliness on men. While citing research that points to the psychological and physiological impacts of loneliness, he also considers social costs such as deviant behavior and crime. He concludes that healthy, intimate friendships can serve as an antidote to loneliness ; however, the cultural norms around male friendship make forming deep relationships difficult.
2. Former Surgeon General: America is in the Midst of a Loneliness Epidemic
By Jessica Stillman
According to former Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, one of the drivers behind the loneliness epidemic is the modern work culture. The lack of relational interaction in the work place alongside the trend toward a gig economy and remote work not only impacts our health, but our productivity and relationships as well.
3. Loneliness Reshaping Development Plans
From Property 360 Online
By Livian Lin
Lin spotlights a movement of housing developments that have emerged to curb social isolation. Taking a play from the hippie culture of the 60s and 70s, today’s co-living arrangements and intentional communities offer a communal lifestyle, yet without the ideological obligations. A co-living space may consist of multi-bedroom developments along with communal kitchens, lounges and other amenities.
4. Education for Charity: A Spiritual Visitation
By Richard Gunderman
In this essay, Gunderman studies Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation from curmudgeon to generous soul. Through three spiritual interventions, Scrooge emerged from a life of stingy loneliness into a magnanimous one filled with relationship and vitality. Gunderman writes, Scrooge "is redeemed when the ghosts give him the opportunity to see what he has been missing, the possibility for compassion, forgiveness, and love. Since such excellences are immaterial, insights into them are best delivered through spiritual media. The ghosts show Scrooge that the goods of the heart are every bit as real as the goods of the strongbox. They show him that, by recognizing a part of himself that he had forgotten, and by realizing that he shares it in common with every other human being, his humanity can still be restored. Redemption is still possible. He can still learn charity. And so, by viewing our lives through the lens of Scrooge’s story, can each of us.”
Serendipity is a newsletter from The Philanthropic Enterprise that features a collection of articles that help us consider how to strengthen the ideas, institutions, and social practices that sustain a free and flourishing society.