Authors Posts by Anna LeMind

Anna LeMind

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Anna is the owner and lead editor of the websites Learning-mind.com and Lifeadvancer.com, and staff writer for The Mind Unleashed. She is passionate about learning new things and reflecting on thought-provoking ideas. She writes about technology, science, psychology and other related topics. She is particularly interested in topics regarding introversion, consciousness and subconscious, perception, human mind's potential, as well as the nature of reality and the universe.

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proxima b

Followed by the 2015 discovery of a “second Earth”, researchers now claim they have found a new Earth-like candidate for the existence of life. Moreover, the newly-discovered planet is closer than any other exoplanet known to humanity – it is orbiting the closest star to our solar system.

Proxima b

Proxima b is just four-and-a-half light-years away from our solar system and orbits the star called Proxima Centauri. It’s a cool, red dwarf star which belongs to a triple system of stars in the solar system of Alpha Centauri, located 25.2 trillion miles away from our planet.

Using the Harps spectrograph and the ESO 3.6-metre telescope at La Silla in Chile, the research team led by Dr. Guillem Anglada-Escudé of the Queen Mary University of London observed Proxima Centauri, looking for the signs of gravitational pull caused by a potential orbiting planet. The first hints were detected back in 2013, but only recently, the team managed to achieve convincing results.

What we know about the newly-discovered ‘second Earth’

According to a paper published in the journal Nature, Proxima b has a mass at least 1.3 times that of our planet and is located at the distance of about seven million kilometers from Proxima Centauri, which is only 5% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun. It means that the “second Earth” is, in fact, even closer to its star than Mercury is to the Sun. However, since Proxima Centauri is much fainter than our Sun, Proxima b lies within the habitable zone and has a surface temperature suitable for the presence of liquid water.

This, in turn, suggests that this rocky planet could potentially host alien life, even though we don’t have a full picture of the conditions on its surface.

proxima b surface

The astronomers believe that Proxima b is exposed to strong ultraviolet radiation caused by intense X-ray flares from its star. This and other factors, such as the planet’s rotation and formation history, suggest that Proxima b has quite a different climate from that of the Earth and, most probably, doesn’t have seasons.

“If Proxima b has an atmosphere and if there is water there, and these are big ‘ifs’, it is intriguing to think that the simple ingredients – water, carbon dioxide, and rock – that are needed for the formation of biochemical cycles that we call life, could all be present and interacting on the planet’s surface,” Mikko Tuomi of the University of Hertfordshire told Daily Mail.

“But we do not really know. We need to study this system a lot more over the coming decades in order to be able to start answering such questions. However, it is a great place to start looking for life outside the Solar System and it is a very exciting discovery,” he added.

The research team will continue to study Proxima b, and it’s indeed fascinating to think that they may find signs of life on this rocky and (not so) distant world.

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structures below earths surface

Mother earth is a mysterious lady, wouldn’t you think? So mysterious that every day, a new structure or discovery reveals itself, giving us yet another look into the earth’s past. With that glimpse, we see our future in layers of intrigue. There are probably lots of things we have yet to see, and the latest findings shed new light on the inside of our planet.

From within

From within the earth lies an enigma, a mesmerizing discovery by Arizona State University researchers, which is marveled by only a few. As reported in the Journal Nature Geoscience, this structure, located just above the earth’s core, is more than the planet’s mantel and yet, is separated from the surface and our familiar landscapes. In fact, there are two of these humongous structures, located around 2,896 kilometers below the planet’s surface – one below the Pacific Ocean and the other beneath the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, they are at opposite sides of the planet and they are driving scientists crazy with curiosity.

So how large are these structures?

These new-found structures are taller than Mt. Everest – about 100 times taller, to be exact. They are blobs spanning the size of an average continent. However, they are made of much different material than the earth’s core or any part of the mantel – they are much denser.  Moreover, it seems that these ‘blobs’ are located within cavities, entrances leading into the depths of our planet!

So, what else is the earth hiding beneath her skin? There is one more thing, so far. Earlier this year, a study found an unknown oxygen source, followed by the 2014 discovery of a 700-kilometer ocean deep below the planet’s surface.

And just like this ocean, the mega-structures beneath the earth’s surface remain a mystery.

Of course, there are theories.

Scientists ponder on the meaning of these mysteries. Where did they come from? What are they made of? You know, the simple questions. One theory is that these large structures have the ability to explain much of what happened during the earth’s formation, and they could also explain tectonics and volcanic eruptions as well. According to newly published papers, the material of the blobs has been pushed down by plate tectonics, and they could be the remnants of materials from the earth’s formation 4.5 billion years ago.

Edward Garnero of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University said,

“While the origin and composition of the blobs are yet unknown, we suspect they hold important clues as to how the Earth was formed and how it works today.”

Scientists believe that the origin of these underground mysteries will soon be revealed. After all, if something unknown resides within the brain, a horde of neurosurgeons, scientists and psychologists would pursue the issue until it is resolved and understood. So why can’t these mysteries which lie beneath our earth’s surface be just as important? As we study the brain, so we must study our home planet. After all, it’s important to know and familiarize ourselves with what lies beneath our feet.

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the worlds oceans are dying

As astronauts in space, we can gain a unique perspective of our planet. Land forms make a myriad of faces across the earth, showcasing familiarity from home. What we fail to appreciate, sometimes, is the competitive beauty of the earth’s vast oceans. These bodies of water make up 70% of the earth’s surface and never get the recognition they deserve. Recently, World Ocean Day strived to bring the focus back to these underrated natural qualities of our home planet, in hopes of saving them. Yes, saving them because our oceans are in dire need of rescue.

Why should we worry about the oceans?

There is so much you probably didn’t even know about the oceans.

According to World Ocean Day Organizers,

“The ocean regulates the climate, feeds millions of people every year, produces most of the oxygen we breathe, is the home to an incredible array of wildlife, provides us with important medicines and so much more!”

And they are correct! In fact, 70% of the earth’s oxygen is generated by the ocean! The ocean also absorbs 30% of all greenhouse gases too. So what happens when these oceans are in danger? Let’s look at a few reasons for concern.

Dead Zones

Unfortunately, the oceans have taken a rather hard hit from our activities. The ocean’s ‘dead zones’ are testaments to these deeds. In 2014, it was estimated that there are around 405 ‘dead zones’, or areas that have little to no oxygen and are filled with pollution. These areas are thought to be ripe with chemicals and pesticides from animal agriculture, such as dairy farms and waste treatments. These chemicals cause the appearance of algal blooms in small lakes and waterways, growths that are responsible for depriving the surrounding waters of oxygen. It’s believed that the number of ‘dead zones’ will multiple within 10 years, and if this happens, the oceans will have more dead space than living waters.

coralll

Acidification and Warming

No thanks to an increase in methane and carbon dioxide, oceans are warming at an alarming rate. This changes the Ph level of the water from alkaline to a more acidic base. Marine animals depend on the right balance of acid and alkaline, and when this level is off, these creatures suffer and sometimes become extinct. It seems that entire ecosystems are at risk! For example, coral reefs make up the largest number of the endangered ecosystems – 25% of all marine life – and since 500 million people depend on coral reefs for sustenance, this is serious indeed.

Plastics

Plastics are also devious culprits! As many as 700 marine species are in danger because of our need for convenience. That’s right, when we use plastic bottles, bags and packaging, and these things, more times than not, end up in our planet’s water. At least 27,000 tons of this mess cover the surface of our oceans, but only a fraction of the 8.8 billion tons is collected per year. Our plastic pollution is entangling, suffocating and starving an ever increasing number of sea life – from fish to whales.

sea turtle plastic pollution

Nil Zacharius, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of One Green Planet, said,

“Plastic is ubiquitous in modern society and seemingly unavoidable. But it is worth risking the lives of marine species, the health of the oceans and our own future in the name of convenience? By taking steps to minimize everyday plastics in our lives, we can crush plastic at the source, and give marine life a fighting chance.”

Overfishing

Fishing doesn’t seem like a danger to the earth’s oceans, or does it? Believe it or not, there is such a thing as overfishing, commercial fishing, that is. Bottom trawling, purse seine nets and long line fishing can cause huge amounts of damage to large bodies of water. That’s because more fish are removed than necessary. Although fishing has not declined, fish catch levels have declined since the 1990s, but still, all marine species caught attest for 50% higher than previous levels.

Whales, dolphins and rays are some of the species entangled in nets during commercial fishing. Even though they aren’t meant to be caught, most of them end up dead anyway. Over 40% of the catch of fishing fleet are these ‘unintended’ creatures while 80% of the ‘intended’ catch is drastically over-fished.

Want to hear some alarming news? It’s believed that by the year 2048, the earth’s oceans will be mostly void of fish, or at least filled with more plastic pollutants than sea life.

So, what can we do about all this?

There are a few ways you can help with these problems. One obvious solution is to pay attention to how much plastic you use, decrease that, and make sure your plastic doesn’t end up in the ocean.

You’ve heard about the fact that if the trees die, then we die. Well, it works in similar ways with our oceans. Let’s work together to love our lands and our oceans. Remember, this is the only inhabitable planet we have….so far. So, let’s get our act together.

2200-Year-Old Egyptian Mummy

The human race is basically divided between the movers and the sedentary. Even though there are those who both enjoy fitness and down time, there still remain those who predominantly do one or the other. But it seems that this is nothing new and we’ve been divided in this way for centuries. The difference is, it used to be only the wealthy that could afford to sit and enjoy comfort the majority of the time, but now, almost everyone, in the Western World that is, can choose the sedentary lifestyle if so desired. Jobs don’t always help with this problem either.

Exactly how many centuries have we been living sedentary lifestyles?

A 2,200-year-old Egyptian man sat around and ate carbs most of his lifetime, just like we do. How do we know this? That’s because a mummy is on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem that attests to that fact. He’s called Alex, and he was a 5’6” Egyptian priest who was crippled by osteoporosis, due to obvious sedentary lifestyle. According to the Times of Israel, his mummy has shrunken to 5’ since he was unearthed and put on display.

The Times reports,

“A century before Anthony and Cleopatra, when the Ptolemies ruled the Nile, Alex ruled as a priest in the city Panopolis, modern-day Akhmim, in upper Egypt. During this lifetime, Alex was known as Iret-hor-iru, the Protective Eye of Horus-but got his modern moniker after he was donated to Jerusalem’s Pontifical Biblical Institute by Jesuits in Alexandria.”

What tests revealed

It’s believed that Alex was around 40 years old when he died in the second century BC. Through CT scans and radiocarbon dating of his body, scientists were able to determine not only his age but the actual effects of low activity during his lifetime. It’s hard to imagine the damage done to a human body aging without ample physical activity, but it’s been proven time and time again. The linens on the body also helped determine Alex’s age as well, this is where radiocarbon dating played the largest part. As for health, here is what the tests revealed:

CT scans showed tooth decay, lack of sun exposure, probably due to low vitamin D and many symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Such conclusive tests could be attributed to the embalming procedures that helped retain blood vessels, bones and much of the body’s skin.

But Alex wasn’t a rare case, it seems. In a 2011 study of Ancient Egyptian mummies, almost half of the 44 men and women preserved had clogged arteries. Not only that, mummies from around the world showed similar symptoms of cardiovascular disease, which was determined later in the year 2013. In fact, 137 men and women preserved were noted to have lived a sedentary lifestyle.

Authors of both these studies reported the same conclusions,

“Although commonly assumed to be a modern disease, the presence of atherosclerosis in pre-modern human beings raises the possibility of more basic predisposition to the disease.”

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

While looking at comments pertaining to this subject, I noticed something that made a lot of sense. It seems that society, as it gains in comfort, also increases in inactivity. I think what we can take away from this is such – we must not let our happiness breed sloth. We must keep in mind that despite our financial stability, we must keep moving. Our bodies were designed to move and with inactivity, we become subject to diseases.

We have learned this from our ancestors and now we are learning the hard way.

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Self-Reliant Town

We only have one planet, and so we should use it wisely. You know, kind of like that saying about our health. Well, some of you may have heard that one, and if not, I believe you still get the gist of it. Think about this: our planet and its resources are like our body in a way, and so harsh treatment will eventually wear it out… Unless, of course, we change our mindset about almost everything. So, what should we do about it?

The Netherlands may have an answer to our predicament. It isn’t a new concept, mind you, but it’s certainly a rather renovated idea. Like the Amish, this project provides the means to be self-reliant, but unlike the simplicity of the Amish, this concept retains high-tech capabilities.

Self-sustainability

When it comes to being self-reliant, we’re talking about whole villages, not just one home. After all, self-sustainable living can be accomplished more efficiently by working together, family with family, friend with friend. That’s why, a community pilot project, the brainchild of ReGen Villages, a California-based developer, will see its completion in 2017. We will see entire villages which will operate from within! How amazing is that! This concept starts just outside of Amsterdam, but plans are to share these innovations with Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Norway.

Power Positive

Self-Reliant Town

Basically, what I’m getting at, is the off-grid community plan will use the power of modern technology to create and retain self-reliant wants and needs: growing foods, water filtration and the like.

ReGen Villages CEO James Ehrlich told Fast Company,

“Were really looking at starting off as the Tesla of Eco Villages. We are redefining residential real-estate development by creating these regenerative neighbourhoods, looking at first at these greenfield pieces of farmland where we can produce more organic food, more clean water, more clean energy and migrate more waste than if we just left that land to grow organic food or do permaculture there.”

With this idea, ReGen Village can be power positive, able to use its own technology to meet day-to-day needs. It’s more than just depending on your own ingenuity, it’s about having the same amenities as those who live on the grid and yet having the ability to be free from its restraints.

What’s more, is that the surplus energy generated in the Villages can be fed back to the nearby electrical grids. It helps many others as well.

Self-Reliant Town

Ehrlich told Fast Company,

“We anticipate literally tonnes of abundant organic food every year- from vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, fish, eggs, chicken, small animal dairy and protein-that can continually grow and yield in the vertical gardening system all year long.”

The project was presented at the Venice Biennale, with design completed by Effekt, a Danish architecture firm. The Village will be constructed in Almere, 20 minutes from Amsterdam, and will initially include 25 pilot homes and 100 in total when complete. Success for ReGen Village means an expansion across all of the Europe and into the Middle East. There are even plans to expand as far as Sub-Saharan Africa and India in the future.

Such an outstanding idea can definitely change the way we care for our planet. With each of us taking the responsibility for what we take and return to the earth, we can have everything we want and need without the over-abundance of chemicals and other pollutants. Maybe the ReGen Village will spread the entire world over, crossing every ocean. Until then, we do what we can to be better.

This is one reason I still have hope for our world.

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cryogenic immortal village

The idea of cryonic preservation is not new. We have seen it in numerous sci-fi movies, but the question is – is it practically possible to freeze a human being and then bring them back to life after a certain amount of years?

A new project aims to do just that and we may soon see a huge cryonic preservation center in the small town of Comfort in Texas.

The so-called Timeship Building, which has already been dubbed the “Mecca of cryogenics“, will have the capacity to house 50,000 frozen human bodies. The facility, which was designed by architect Stephen Valentine, will also be disaster-proof and will be able to survive anything from a terror attack to sea level changes.

DNA, tissue samples, and cryopreserved patients will be housed in Timeship, and their safety and security against all threats, both natural and human-made, will have to be maintained for hundreds of years,” the Timeship website writes.

The Timeship Building will be encircled by high walls and surrounded by an extensive area of land. Except for housing dormitories, it will contain research laboratories, libraries, and even an agriculture center. The facility is also said to have its own power supply.

Along with frozen human bodies, the cryogenic village will also host biological material, human organs, cells and tissue samples, as well as the DNA of nearly extinct species.

According to the Timeship website, the ambitious plans of the project are about taking people to the future, hence the name of the cryogenic village, which is said to be able to endure for centuries.

It all sounds very impressive, but at what stage is the cryogenics right now? At the moment, scientists are not able to freeze a human and subsequently bring them back to life. However, a recent achievement of researchers who managed to revive the brain of a cryonically frozen rabbit earlier this year gives hopes to further progress in this field.

“The researchers said the brain demonstrates that ‘near-perfect, long-term structural preservation of an intact brain is achievable,” Daily Mail reports.

While the purpose of cryonics is to freeze sick or dying people in order to have the chance to revive them in the future when the technologies will be advanced enough to save their lives, it’s obvious that some people will want to take advantage of this science in order to live forever. No need to say that it will only be affordable for the wealthiest individuals.

What do you think about the whole concept? Would you let freeze yourself for a couple of centuries to wake up in the future?

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zoo in china

As a child, I never liked zoos or circuses because I couldn’t understand what was so fun in watching caged and humiliated animals. Now, as an adult, I believe that animal captivity is wrong to the core since other species have the same rights for life and freedom as we do.

There’s been much debate on the animal captivity lately, and it makes sense why – keeping wild creatures in cages is inhumane, to say the least. Just think about it – not only have we deprived other living beings of their natural habitats by harming the environment, but we also dare to imprison them for our own amusement.

It seems that a zoo in China has found an unusual way to bring people closer to the wildlife without caging animals.

The Lehe Ledu Wildlife Zoo lets big cats and other wildlife species, such as bears, roam free and puts visitors in cages instead. This way, people have the opportunity to get extremely close to the wild creatures without the disappointment of seeing them trapped in small cages, like in the most zoos of the world.

zoo in china

Zoo spokeswoman Chan Llang told the OddityCentral,

“We wanted to give our visitors the thrill of being stalked and attacked by the big cats but with, of course, none of the risks.”

zoo in china

There are chunks of meat tied to the outside of moving cages with visitors in order to attract the animals. At the same time, inside these vehicles, the visitors are protected from being eaten. There are also small openings at the top, through which people can offer food to the exotic beasts.

zoo in china

According to Chan Llang, all the visitors are warned “to keep their fingers and hands inside the cage at all times because a hungry tiger wouldn’t know the difference between them and breakfast.”

However, because of the breathtaking photos of lions and tigers jumping onto the cages, the concept has already received some criticism from people who think it’s too dangerous to bring the zoo visitors so close to the wild animals. According to The Daily Mail, some individuals have characterized this unusual park attraction as ‘an accident waiting to happen’.

zoo in china

At the same time, the zoo appears to be extremely popular despite all the dangers. In fact, when the Lehe Ledu Wildlife Zoo was opened in 2015, the tickets were sold out for three months. It seems that people really prefer to see animals freely roaming their natural habitats rather than being locked in cages.

“It’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced in a zoo before,” said visitor Tao Jen. “We’re not looking at them, they’re looking at us – and we’re lunch.”

What do you think about this concept of a zoo? Would you like to visit it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Image credit: CEN

hitler us presidents psychopaths

Hitler

Adolf Hitler was probably one of the most evil figures in history. Yet, most psychiatrists believe that he was not a psychopath.

Thus, Dr. Fritz Redlich, a neurologist and psychiatrist, published the book titled “Hitler: Diagnosis of a Destructive Prophet” in which he concluded that even though the Nazi leader had many psychiatric symptoms, such as extreme paranoia, narcissism, anxiety, depression, hypochondria and many more, he most likely was not really mentally ill.

Dr. Redlich wrote that Hitler’s paranoid delusions “could be viewed as a symptom of mental disorder, but most of the personality functioned more than adequately.”

US Presidents

A 2012 study looked at 42 US presidents up to and including George W. Bush, seeking for psychopathic tendencies and examining their link with successful political leadership. The results were curious. What do you think, who was the biggest psychopath among the US presidents?

Look at the list below to find out (the higher the score in brackets is, the higher the presidents’ psychopathic tendencies are):

  1. Theodore Roosevelt (1.462)
  2. John F. Kennedy (1.408)
  3. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1.079)
  4. Ronald Reagan (.912)
  5. Rutherford B. Hayes (.824)
  6. Zachary Taylor (.671)
  7. Bill Clinton (.569)
  8. Martin Van Buren (.554)
  9. Andrew Jackson (.516)
  10. George W. Bush (.391)

So, it turns out that Theodore Roosevelt and JFK had the highest psychopathic tendencies among the US presidents. At the same time, some of the American less-effective leaders are among the least psychopathic, such as Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush. Interesting.

The study

More precisely, the study was only focused on one aspect of psychopathy – the so-called fearless dominance. It is something like a “bright side” of being a psychopath and includes a number of traits, such as charm, stress immunity, the absence of fear and boldness.

Self-centered impulsivity, the other (and more negative) aspect of psychopathy, was not taken into account in this study as it showed no correlation with presidential performance. This group of psychopathic traits is mainly based on the lack of empathy towards others and the detachment from considering the consequences of one’s actions.

To measure the link between fearless dominance and political leadership, the researchers looked at factors such as the presidents’ intellectual brilliance, war heroism, the need for power and how long they were in charge. The results of this analysis showed that the ‘greatest’ presidents had higher levels of fearless dominance.

These findings indicate that the boldness associated with psychopathy is an important but heretofore neglected predictor of presidential performance, and suggest that certain features of psychopathy are tied to successful interpersonal behavior,” the researchers wrote in a paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2012.

So, it seems that having psychopathic tendencies doesn’t equal to being evil, and vice versa. Yet, in order to make a successful political career, some psychopathy is a must.

Why don’t psychiatrists examine the psychopathic tendencies of modern politicians? I’m sure they would find many individuals with the full spectrum of psychopathic traits, especially egocentricity and the lack of empathy. What do you think?

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smoking pot money

A new study came to a thought-provoking conclusion that smoking marijuana alters the way the human brain responds to money.

Researchers of the University of Michigan Medical School conducted a four-year study that involved 108 people in their early 20s. For the purpose of the study, the participants were asked to play a game in which they could potentially win a small amount of money. They had to click a button every time they saw a target on the screen and they were told that, based on their performance, they could win 20 cents or $5; lose the same amounts of money; or have no reward or loss.

During the game, the participants’ brains were connected to an fMRI scanner aimed to monitor the activity in the nucleus accumbens, the area of the brain that regulates the response to rewards.

At the moment when a person is anticipating any kind of reward, including money, the cells in this brain area are activated and release dopamine also known as “reward chemical” or “pleasure chemical.” Thus, the stronger the response in the nucleus accumbens is and the more dopamine is released, the more pleasure a person feels.

As a result, chronic marijuana users exhibited a weaker response to reward than the participants who smoke pot less frequently or didn’t use it at all. So, the more marijuana a person smokes, the weaker their brain response to a money reward is.

Now, the question is: is it a good or a bad thing? The authors of the study interpret these results in the way that is most favorable to the official point of view on smoking pot: they say that the study proves that marijuana is a highly addictive drug that changes a person’s behavior and causes problems with emotional functioning.

Mary Heitzeg, study author and an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School, told Live Science:

“There is not as much pleasure that is being received from something that would naturally give somebody pleasure.”

However, don’t forget that the study was focused only on receiving money and didn’t measure the brain responses to any other kinds of reward or sources of pleasure, including smoking pot itself.

So why is it considered “natural” that money should give everyone the same amount of pleasure and a person who doesn’t actively respond to a money reward is viewed as a sort of damaged? I really don’t agree with this statement and don’t see the results of this study as proof of how harmful marijuana is.

Quite the opposite – these results could also mean that pot smokers just give less importance to the money, which is not bad at all. Still, it makes sense why the mainstream science interprets these results this way – our society is based on greed and material values, so a weak response to money is regarded as a negative thing. And if we also take into account the stigma that has surrounded marijuana for decades, it becomes clear why the study with quite limited results received this kind of generalization.

What do you think about this study and what is your point of view on its results? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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feel lonely overconnected world

The world has never been so connected as it is now. Communication and internet technologies have made it possible to stay in touch with anyone no matter where they live. Today, it’s probably impossible to find a person who doesn’t use social networks and instant messaging apps, which have become an integral part of our life. Many people can’t even imagine their daily routine without online communication and feel incomplete if they don’t chat with their friends and don’t see their updates in the Facebook feed st least once a day. We are basically never alone and yet, we are lonelier than ever.

This is not just a claim – studies show that the number of people who feel lonely is constantly increasing. For example, a survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that one out of ten people in the UK often feels lonely while 48% of the respondents believe that modern people are getting more and more lonely.

It seems that the feeling of loneliness is a real epidemic of our society. But why do we feel this way while numerous ways of communication with other human beings are available to us at any minute of every day? To answer the question the title of the article asks, first of all, let’s figure out what loneliness actually is. While the dictionary suggests that it’s a state of being alone paired with the feelings of sadness and isolation, loneliness is far more complex than that.

Have you ever been in a company of people you didn’t have much in common with? Or maybe in a company of strangers/acquaintances who were good friends with each other and didn’t pay much attention to you? If you have been in similar situations, you will agree that in those times, you were feeling lonely without being alone.

This is what loneliness really is – a lack of connection and understanding, no matter if you are alone or not. In fact, this feeling may be even more intense when you are among people you don’t resonate with rather than when you are by yourself. Let me cite Robin Williams here: “I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”

So isn’t it the reason why we are so lonely in an over-connected world we live in today? Popular culture and our excessive reliance on the social media have basically made us believe that human communication is about quantity, not quality.

To demonstrate this contradiction, let me ask you two simple questions: How many friends on Facebook do you have and how many of them do you have a really deep connection with? I bet that most of you have hundreds of Facebook friends and yet can name only a few individuals you are truly close to.

As you see, what we lack in the modern world is a deep and meaningful connection with other people, which inevitably makes us feel lonely. We are constantly surrounded by people (if not physically, then at least virtually) and yet, we rarely feel truly close to someone mentally and emotionally.

If you think about it, it makes sense why human communication has become so superficial, since the entire mainstream culture is based on superficiality and shallowness. We are made to believe that all we need is to satisfy our physical needs and fulfil our selfish desires.

To sum up, remember that the only way to avoid loneliness is not about being and communicating with people all the time. It’s about establishing a deep connection with the right people along with being a self-sufficient individual who doesn’t need approval from others.

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