Episode 62 - Separate Ways

A global epidemic of loneliness is spreading rapidly. 20% of the UK population claims to be always or often lonely, 3 out of 4 people fin the US are affected by loneliness, a quarter of Japanese men over 60 don't have a single friend or family member they can talk to, and there is an alarming rise of youth across borders who are feeling joyless, useless, and alien in their own homelands. This is a growing health disaster: loneliness has been shown to significantly increase the risk of early death, heart disease, stroke, and much more. Medicine and the high tech industry are working on "loneliness pills" and other high tech software fixes, but we're increasingly afraid that they've missed the point and are wasting time chasing symptoms. This week we explore the systemic causes of why we all feel so alone and look towards a world where we make the dramatic shifts to our social insitutions, governments, economic relationships, and very culture so we can begin to repair the frayed seams of our great big collective family.

Full Transcript Available

Subscribe now on: iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher | Soundcloud | Spotify | RSS | or search "Ashes Ashes" on your favorite podcast app.


  • 00:31 Loneliness: Stats and Figures
  • 09:36 Getting to the Source
  • 14:39 America: Declining Social and Civic Engagement
  • 20:25 America: Suburban Sprawl and the Commercialization of Social Life
  • 25:49 China and the Big Money Machine
  • 33:28 Japan: Relationless Society
  • 38:41 Hikikomori
  • 56:13 Individualism and Social Media
  • 1:05:06 David's 5 Points to Get Your Life Together and Stop Loneliness in its Tracks
  • 1:21:50 What Can We Do?

Recommended Reading


On Parasocial Relationships



@book{Putnam_2001, title={Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community}, ISBN={978-0-7432-0304-3}, note={Google-Books-ID: rd2ibodep7UC}, publisher={Simon and Schuster}, author={Putnam, Robert D.}, year={2001}, month={Aug} } @article{Allison_2012, title={Ordinary Refugees: Social Precarity and Soul in 21st Century Japan}, volume={85}, ISSN={1534-1518}, DOI={10.1353/anq.2012.0027}, number={2}, journal={Anthropological Quarterly}, author={Allison, Anne}, year={2012}, month={May}, pages={345–370} } @misc{Ami Miyazaki_Elaine Lies_2018, title={Japan’s youth suicides hit 30-year high: survey}, url={https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-suicides-idUSKCN1NA0BW}, journal={Reuters}, author={Ami Miyazaki and Elaine Lies}, year={2018}, month={Nov} } @misc{Anushka Asthana_2016, title={Jo Cox’s campaign to tackle loneliness lives on with help of friends}, url={https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/dec/28/jo-coxs-campaign-to-tackle-loneliness-lives-on-with-help-of-friends}, journal={The Guardian}, author={Anushka Asthana}, year={2016}, month={Dec} } @misc{Birch_2017, title={Reject the cruelty of a me-first age that renders lonely people invisible}, url={https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/26/cruelty-lonely-invisible-personal-friendships}, journal={The Guardian}, author={Birch, Carol}, year={2017}, month={Mar} } @article{Cacioppo_Cacioppo_2018, title={The growing problem of loneliness}, volume={391}, ISSN={0140-6736, 1474-547X}, DOI={10.1016/S0140-6736(18)30142-9}, number={10119}, journal={The Lancet}, author={Cacioppo, John T. and Cacioppo, Stephanie}, year={2018}, month={Feb}, pages={426} } @misc{Chaki_2019, title={Japan’s Most Interesting Newspaper Is for Recluses, by Recluses}, url={http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/japanese-men-who-dont-leave-home}, journal={Atlas Obscura}, author={Chaki, Rohini}, year={2019}, month={Feb} } @misc{Dennis Thompson_2018, title={3 in 4 Americans Struggle With Loneliness}, url={https://consumer.healthday.com/mental-health-information-25/psychology-and-mental-health-news-566/3-in-4-americans-struggle-with-loneliness-740748.html}, author={Dennis Thompson}, year={2018}, month={Dec} } @misc{Emily Badger_2015, title={The terrible loneliness of growing up poor in Robert Putnam’s America}, url={https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/03/06/the-terrible-loneliness-of-growing-up-poor-in-robert-putnams-america/}, journal={Washington Post}, author={Emily Badger}, year={2015}, month={Mar} } @misc{Entis_2019, title={Scientists are working on a pill for loneliness}, url={https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/26/pill-for-loneliness-psychology-science-medicine}, journal={The Guardian}, author={Entis, Laura}, year={2019}, month={Jan} } @misc{Erin Griffith_2018, title={Facebook’s New Focus on “Community” Might Actually Depress You}, url={https://www.wired.com/story/facebooks-new-focus-on-community-might-actually-depress-you/}, journal={WIRED}, author={Erin Griffith}, year={2018}, month={May} } @misc{HAL 90210_2018, title={Tired of texting? Google tests robot to chat with friends for you}, url={https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/feb/14/google-tests-robot-chat-reply-friends}, journal={The Guardian}, author={HAL 90210}, year={2018}, month={Feb} } @misc{Hancock_2018, title={Don’t automate the fun out of life}, url={http://theconversation.com/dont-automate-the-fun-out-of-life-88681}, journal={The Conversation}, author={Hancock, Peter}, year={2018}, month={Jan} } @film{Hao Wu_2018, title={People’s Republic of Desire}, url={http://www.imdb.com/title/tt7478112/}, note={IMDb ID: tt7478112}, author={Hao Wu}, year={2018} } @article{Holt-Lunstad_Smith_Baker_Harris_Stephenson_2015, title={Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for mortality: a meta-analytic review}, volume={10}, ISSN={1745-6924}, DOI={10.1177/1745691614568352}, number={2}, journal={Perspectives on Psychological Science: A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science}, author={Holt-Lunstad, Julianne and Smith, Timothy B. and Baker, Mark and Harris, Tyler and Stephenson, David}, year={2015}, month={Mar}, pages={227–237} } @article{Holt-Lunstad_Smith_Layton_2010, title={Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review}, volume={7}, ISSN={1549-1676}, DOI={10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316}, abstractNote={In a meta-analysis, Julianne Holt-Lunstad and colleagues find that individuals’ social relationships have as much influence on mortality risk as other well-established risk factors for mortality, such as smoking.}, number={7}, journal={PLOS Medicine}, author={Holt-Lunstad, Julianne and Smith, Timothy B. and Layton, J. Bradley}, year={2010}, month={Jul}, pages={e1000316} } @misc{Laurence Butet-Roch_2018, title={Pictures Reveal the Isolated Lives of Japan’s Social Recluses}, url={https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2018/february/japan-hikikomori-isolation-society/}, journal={Photography}, author={Laurence Butet-Roch}, year={2018}, month={Feb} } @misc{Mark Abadi_2018, title={Elderly people in Japan are getting arrested on purpose}, url={https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/east-asia/article/2137983/elderly-people-japan-are-getting-arrested-purpose-because-they}, journal={South China Morning Post}, author={Mark Abadi}, year={2018}, month={Mar} } @misc{Meltzer_2010, title={Social networking: Failure to connect}, url={https://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/aug/07/social-networking-friends-lonely}, journal={The Guardian}, author={Meltzer, Tom}, year={2010}, month={Aug} } @misc{Norman_2019, title={Could the cure for loneliness be as easy as popping a pill?}, url={https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-17/loneliness-could-the-cure-be-as-easy-as-taking-a-pill/10807464}, journal={ABC News}, author={Norman, James}, year={2019}, month={Feb} } @misc{Robert Putnam_2001, title={Bowling Alone: Americca’s Delining Social Capital}, url={https://www.saddleback.edu/faculty/agordon/documents/Bowling_Alone.pdf}, author={Robert Putnam}, year={2001} } @misc{Shafique_2018, title={Designing cities to counter loneliness? Let’s explore the possibilities}, url={http://theconversation.com/designing-cities-to-counter-loneliness-lets-explore-the-possibilities-104853}, journal={The Conversation}, author={Shafique, Tanzil}, year={2018}, month={Nov} } @misc{Sherry Turkle_2011, title={Sherry Turkle - Alone Together}, url={https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtLVCpZIiNs}, author={Sherry Turkle}, year={2011}, month={Mar} } @misc{Twenge_2018, title={Are smartphones causing more teen suicides?}, url={https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/may/24/smartphone-teen-suicide-mental-health-depression}, journal={The Guardian}, author={Twenge, Jean}, year={2018}, month={May} } @misc{University of Pennsylvania_2018, title={Social media use increases depression and loneliness, study finds}, url={https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181108164316.htm}, journal={ScienceDaily}, author={University of Pennsylvania}, year={2018}, month={Nov} } @misc{USBC_2014, title={The 2014 Annual Report of the United States Bowling Congress}, url={The 2014 Annual Report of the United States Bowling Congress}, author={USBC}, year={2014} } @misc{USBC_2017, title={The 2017 Annual Report of the United States Bowling Congress}, url={http://usbcongress.http.internapcdn.net/usbcongress/bowl/aboutusbc/pdfs/2017USBCAnnualReport.pdf}, author={USBC}, year={2017} } @article{Valtorta_Kanaan_Gilbody_Ronzi_Hanratty_2016, title={Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke: systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal observational studies}, volume={102}, ISSN={1355-6037, 1468-201X}, DOI={10.1136/heartjnl-2015-308790}, number={13}, journal={Heart}, author={Valtorta, Nicole K. and Kanaan, Mona and Gilbody, Simon and Ronzi, Sara and Hanratty, Barbara}, year={2016}, month={Jul}, pages={1009–1016} } @misc{Werber_2017, title={People in rich countries are dying of loneliness}, url={https://qz.com/1048847/people-in-rich-countries-are-dying-of-loneliness-an-effect-on-par-with-obesity/}, journal={Quartz}, author={Werber, Cassie}, year={2017}, month={Aug} } @misc{Zeeberg_2016, title={Alienation Is Killing Americans and Japanese}, url={http://nautil.us/blog/alienation-is-killing-americans-and-japanese}, abstractNote={The stories have become all too familiar in Japan, though people often do their best to ignore them. An elderly or middle-aged person,…}, journal={Nautilus}, author={Zeeberg, Amos}, year={2016}, month={Jun} }

Published 21-02-2019 01:25