Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #252 - Ministry of Loneliness
Loneliness is a global epidemic. The Pandemic has worsened it. Japan is creating a ministry to tackle it. But is that the correct way forward?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr., P.S. I Love You
When you are a coat made of tatters - small pieces of cloth - and find your existence jarring, then the solution is not to create another layer of tatters to cover your inadequacy. But to become the fabric that is whole.
We have looked at the world in portions and percentages, when it is available in its completeness. We want to enjoy the bounties of completeness while engaging with the portions.
It doesn’t work like that.
Loneliness is an epidemic. An epidemic that has been worsened by the pandemic.
It stems for our superficial involvement with life. Creating artificial props like relationships and entertainment won’t make us whole. It will just give us an illusionary reprieve.
Ministry of Loneliness
The Japanese government has appointed a “Minister of Loneliness.”
Tetsushi Sakamoto, the minister dealing with Japan's declining birthrate as well as improving on regional revitalization will be the guy who will lead the government policies to deal with loneliness and isolation.
There is a rising trend in suicides and women are more prone to depression from loneliness than men in the Japanese society.
This issue is not restricted to the Japanese society alone. Although, the Japanese government may be the only one in the world that may be concerned enough to create a separate ministry for it.
Loneliness and the Pandemic
The global COVID pandemic has impacted it strongly. In a study published in peer-reviewed Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 65% of the participants reported increased loneliness. Out of the 1,008 people aged 18–35 participating in the study, 80% of participants reported “significant depressive symptoms” during the pandemic. (Source)
Does culture impact the levels of loneliness? Social scientists Geeert and Gert Hofstede describe cultures as Individualist and Collectivist. (Source)
The Individualistic cultures inculcate higher levels self-reliance while having loose social networks. The relationships are chosen relationships. Collectivist cultures, on the other hand, encourage interdependence have tighter social networks that are dominated by family and other ingroup members. Evidence, although not conclusive (for the opposite has also been found) suggest in a lot of cases that lower levels of loneliness have been seen in individualistic compared to collectivist countries.
Before the pandemic, 35.7 million Americans were living alone. As the pandemic put a close on social contact, their situation has worsened, as evidenced by the NORC at UoC.
Scientific studies suggest that social isolation and loneliness impacts people’s health.
Social isolation has been associated with an approximately 50% increased risk of developing dementia, a 29% increased risk of incident coronary heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke (Source)
Worse, loneliness impacts people with lower income far more than those with higher incomes. Maybe because the higher income people can find something to keep themselves engaged.
Loneliness leads to suicides across many groups.
Some links between loneliness and different manifestations of suicidal conduct have been reported in variety of subgroups (e.g., college students, the elderly, psychiatric patients). We tested this hypothesis by using the results of a population-wide survey. Strong associations among suicide ideation, parasuicide and different ways of being lonely and alone, defined either subjectively (i.e., the feeling), or objectively (i.e., living alone or being without friends), were observed. Moreover, prevalence of suicide ideation and parasuicide increased with the degree of loneliness. Only minimal differences between men and women were found. (Source)
That is why what the Japanese government is doing is so significant.
For a society where all the conveniences of normal life are available with a remarkable level of certainty, there are very few reasons for people to take their own lives. But if abundance leads to lack of relationships, and therefore suicides, then it is a big hit on the social metric of well-being.
Meditation has been found to be helpful in handling depression and other mental issues.
Shapero is working with Gaëlle Desbordes, an instructor in radiology at HMS and a neuroscientist at MGH’s Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, to explore one alternative approach: mindfulness-based meditation. In recent decades, public interest in mindfulness meditation has soared. Paralleling, and perhaps feeding, the growing popular acceptance has been rising scientific attention. The number of randomized controlled trials — the gold standard for clinical study — involving mindfulness has jumped from one in the period from 1995‒1997 to 11 from 2004‒2006, to a whopping 216 from 2013‒2015, according to a recent article summarizing scientific findings on the subject. Studies have shown benefits against an array of conditions both physical and mental, including irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. (Source)
It is however important to dive deeper into the entire question and nature of loneliness devoid of the modern - or rather Western - construct of what has now become an affliction.
Who is it that is lonely?
The nature of this existence is in inclusion at the substratum level. Between that and the gross physical level, somewhere matter and “creation” takes shape.
It is not a matter of time when it happens but a question of dimension. Between the subtle and the gross, the existence manifests differently - energy and matter.
The nature of matter is differentiation and boundary. What was one at the subtle level is many at the material level.
We try and use relationships as proxies to the sense of inclusion. Relationships stem from the understanding that we are two. And since we are two, we should strive to act as one. It is a self-deception.
Relationships, you see, try to mimic the subtle reality, but are at best a dishonest deception.
“I am X, so you have to be Y. But don’t worry, I still love the Ys.”
That is not inclusion. That is mimicry of reality.
The human self is capable of diving into the ocean of subtle consciousness and yet retain the physical. As the nothingness while being the experiencer of that nothingness. It is the only bridge available.
Yet we squander that.
We place all our cards in the basket of proxies. Use relationships to create the illusion of inclusion.
When one is alone, one loses that crutch of relationships. But, it was always that. A crutch. It was not the basis of our well-being. It was a make-believe that you could feel good.
That your own company is worse than the company of someone else (even if it is your progeny or spouse) should be a testimony to who you are! More importantly, how distanced you are from your self.
As an inclusive life - the throbbing piece of life - we are but a manifestation of the entire Universal Consciousness.
A wave (of form) on the ocean (of consciousness).
Another being is one more wave of the same ocean.
The relationship is not between the substantive self of the waves - which is ocean itself - but between the physical characteristics of one wave and another.
Those - the size, the height, the curve, the ferociousness, the simplicity and the rest of it are anyways temporary occurrences. That, such fleeting features become the basis of relationships in our lives and loss of those the cause for us to take our lives, shows how off we are from our real self. The ocean.
Loneliness is when the wave forgets it is the ocean and instead wants to fanatically believe it is the form of the fleeting wave. That its survival is based on its relationship with the fleeting form of another wave.
Both, because we do not want to invest in knowing who we are. Or worse, are afraid of losing the illusion of the fleeting form.
For, what happens when the wave goes beyond the illusion of its form and realizes it is the ocean?
The form remains. Just that now the entire ocean is included in itself.
All is I.
Aham Brahmasmi. अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि
It is not a religious belief. It is the articulation of the reality by the wave which finally realized that it is the ocean afterall.
At that point, do you “lose any relationship?” Are you alone?
At the point where oneness with all is nothingness of your self, are you alone there or AL(L)ONE?
Let us listen to J. Krishnamurti - one of the finest beings in the last two centuries.
Solitude is the experience of being in inclusive alone-ness. Where you are with your self, but your self includes the all.
In that state, there is complete loneliness and yet the ultimate communion.
Being meditative allows you access to that state. “Doing meditation” is again, the Western construct of reducing the wave’s journey to the ocean into an illusory dummies guide to self-deception.
You see, being joyful and creating laughter are two fundamentally different things. Robin Williams was a comic par excellence. He could make anyone laugh. But that was not joy. That is why he committed suicide from depression.
Being Meditative and Doing Meditation are two different things. One is being Joyful and the other is creating laughter.
The latter is in NO way related to the former!
So, the path to handle the scourge of loneliness does not go through the desert of techniques and methods. But through the trails in the forest of self discovery.
To not be lonely, find out who is lonely?
Are these your mental constructs acting up or has the infinite in you lost its wholeness?
For, the blissful announced in their state of wholeness -
ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पूर्णमुदच्यते ।
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
That (manifest) is whole, This (unmanifest) is also whole. When you take whole from whole, whole alone remains.
What Japan and other countries need is not a “Ministry of Loneliness” but a “Monastery of Bliss.” A technology that its culture of Zen had inherently anyway.
market corner: 10 quick bytes
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Agritech platform DeHaat acquires SaaS startup FarmGuide - more
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UP Budget: State govt makes Rs 7,000 crore provision for PMAY Gramin - more
Two Indians plead guilty in multi-million dollars robocall scam targeting Americans - more
In PM Modi’s new action plan, focus on digital health cards, medical infrastructure - more
Australia vs Facebook: After days of a heated exchange of talks with the social media platform, Facebook, the Australian government has announced that Facebook is all set to restore news pages on its platform. This declaration has come a few hours after Australia's Finance Minister, Simon Birmingham, had said there will surely be no more amendments in the bill after the government spent the weekend discussing possible amendments in the bill with Facebook officials. (Source)
Scanty and Sketchy: In a massive development on Tuesday, 22-year-old environmental activist Disha Ravi was granted bail in connection with the toolkit case by the Sessions Court. Additional Session Judge Dharmender Rana asked her to furnish a bail bond of Rs 1,00,000 with two sureties in the like amount. Considering the "scanty and sketchy evidence on record", he ruled that there was no palpable reason to deny bail to Disha. Moreover, the judge noted that she had no criminal antecedents. (Source)
Secessionists-in-arms?: Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, head of banned Khalistani outfit Sikhs for Justice, has released a new video where he declared that he has urged West Bengal and Maharashtra to declare their independence. He claims that he has written a letter to Chief Ministers Uddhav Thackeray and Mamata Banerjee and “counseled” them to “unilaterally declare” independence of the two states from the Indian Union. (Source)
Shrinking Cities: Big cities have clearly lost some verve during the pandemic. The signs are everywhere, from vacant storefronts to idle stages to muted downtowns. A weekly drumbeat of data, on sales tax receipts and school enrollment, and home prices and rents offers bits and pieces of evidence to back this up. This time, it’s the suits at McKinsey who report on a very McKinsey metric, the ratio of arriving workers to departing ones as captured by LinkedIn profiles. That ratio is down 27 percent in New York, 24 percent in San Francisco, 13 percent in Boston, and 11 percent in Los Angeles and Seattle. “This could be driven either by a greater number of workers leaving these areas or by fewer people entering these areas in 2020 compared to 2019,” the researchers note. (Source)
17500 Kangaroo Painting: A life-size drawing of a kangaroo in Australia is over 17,000 years old, according to a new study, meaning it could be one of the oldest rock paintings on the continent. Experts from the University of Melbourne have been working to confirm how old a number of ancient artworks are in the Kimberly Region of Western Australia. The two-meter-long kangaroo is painted on the sloping ceiling of a rock shelter on the Unghango clan estate in Balanggarra country, the team said. (Source)
video corner: Grooming Gangs and Khalistan - Go figure!
The Sikh groups in UK are the ones which are the most vociferous about Khalistan. They are the ones who have financed and backed the entire Punjabi entertainment industry in consort with Pakistani money to further the whole specter of Khalistan. (read Issue #210 - Exposing Punjabi Entertainment Industry)
On the other hand, the Grooming Gangs, comprising almost completely of Pakistani Muslims have been targeting White, Sikh and Hindu girls. Specifically the Sikh girls.
The very group which is grooming, raping and abusing the girls from Sikh community are behind the entire Khalistani effort within the same Sikh community.
It is extremely painful and completely inexplicable to even explain the stupidity of this whole situation! Why would you sell your soul to the guy who openly rapes your daughter because you want to establish your “identity”? What identity? At what cost? For what?
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