MANY causes have been sought for increasingly divisive politics: the false promise of neoliberalism and globalisation; resource scarcity; the 24/7 news cycle; soaring displacement, etc. But what if the answer lay in the human condition that these factors have collectively produced?
Writing for the Financial Times, Noreen Hertz argued that loneliness was making the world a “more aggressive, angry place”. That the Western world is increasingly lonely is known. According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, one in 20 adults in the UK report feeling lonely often or always. More than three in five Americans across generations also describe themselves as lacking companionship and feeling misunderstood.
Linking pervasive loneliness with political polarisation is not novel. Hertz cites the work of Hannah Arendt, who wrote that for people facing “isolation and lack of normal social relationships… it is through surrendering their individual selves to ideology that [they] rediscover their purpose and