Letter from the Editor: September 16, 2022

The ‘world’s loneliest man’ died recently after living all alone for the past 26 years.

The last member of an indigenous tribe in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest died recently after living in complete isolation for the past 26 years. All his tribe members were killed between 1970 and 1995 by farmers who wanted to increase their land. The man used to dig deep holes to trap animals and was often seen taking shelter in the same holes, because of which he came to be known as ‘Man of the Hole.’ He had no contact with the outside world. Various researchers tried to contact him, but he fired arrows at them and set up traps around his residence. He soon came to be known as the ‘world’s loneliest man’.

What would it be like to live without human contact for so long? According to research, living a solitary life for too long is detrimental to one’s mental and physical health. Anxiety, depression, paranoia, high blood pressure and many other diseases are associated with loneliness. Scientists believe humans are designed to bond. They are shaped by the relationships they have with each other and thrive in a community.

‘No man is an island’, a line from poet John Donne’s work, explains how humans are interdependent and function better in a community than in loneliness. Communicating with a confidante, participating in social activities and creating new memories help individuals grow.

Friends are the best cure for loneliness. Find a friend who helps you tide over your problems, stresses and emotional upheavals. It could be a family member, such as a sibling or a cousin, or a friend from school. A friend who understands you will help you live a happier life.

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