The Art of Being Completely Alone
Emily J. Smith

This piece gives me a certain level of ambivalence. Over in Japan (and now more recently South Korea) there’s an ever growing trend toward solitude and individual self discovery, but this is coming at a massive demographic cost. Whilst there’s not any imperative (nor should there be) to influence or force people to form family units or maintain a birth rate that creates a sustainable populace, there are signs that what is happening in Japan and ROK is beginning, very slowly to happen over in the States and Western Europe.

Combine this with an age demographic average that is relentlessly marching upwards (and the associated increased pressures on various health systems as said ageing populace develop complex and chronic conditions) and you have a recipe where a shrinking working populace will be required to service the needs of an ever increasing economically inactive group.

That smaller populace through stress, through the personalisation of media creating “bubbles” which destroy the concept of competing ideas, through ever increasing debt burdens, through asset concentration stripping equality from the system, are no longer willing to reach out and connect. They end up in this position. One I am intimately familiar with (I started at loneliness and reached a point where I am quite comfortable with myself), but it does pose the question to those that follow — if they do as we do, and the youth dwindles as the elderly grows, what do we do from a practical standpoint?