After intensive research, we've found the genes responsible for loneliness and we created a cure. (BTW, there are scientific hints that it is possible[1][2]).

This treatment basically removes all the negative feeling felt while being alone, making it a neutral state. People would, however, still enjoy the company of others.

One could request this treatment for their child at any age, and adults could request it for themselves.

How would culture change due to this? What would our world look like?




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    $\begingroup$ Loneliness doesn't just come from being alone. Many people LIKE to be alone quite often. $\endgroup$ – bowlturner Aug 7 '15 at 16:57
  • $\begingroup$ There are cultures in history where the "wise men" were often hermits that you had to travel great distances to. It may be helpful to look at what made them not feel lonely, because there is a reservoir of historical facts to draw upon. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Aug 7 '15 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ @bowlturner: Emphatically true. The only times I've felt anything close to loneliness is in places with lots of people. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Aug 7 '15 at 20:48

This is very interesting to me because I have observed that the need for social interaction is a phenomena that borders on addiction. What I mean is that most people spend a large amount of time chasing social situations and feel awful if they are kept away from it (loneliness). Hermit and unibomber outlyers aside, our society has gone as far as automating social interaction (facebook, etc.). Our society uses solitude as a severe punishment. The non-fiction author, Jared Diamond, in the book "The World Until Yesterday" wrote (paraphrasing) that the desire for social interactions is necessary for survival in primitive societies. That is, people naturally form groups (bands, church affiliations, a group that all wear the same jersey to the game) in order to self indentify and feel safe against other groups.
If you eliminate the need to form groups I believe society will change fundamentally and you would get a world best described in Isaac Asimov's "The Robot's of Dawn" where the world was divided among 10,000 individuals that refused to interact with each other. The driving force became how to be more alone (eliminate the need for sex) and be more comfortable (Accumulate comfort and never die). A good thought experiment: Remember your last breakup from a long term relationship and imagine being forced to stand in the bathroom with them while they pooped. Why did you put up with his smells and habits that annoyed you? Do you remember when just her voice irritated you? It is our social brain that makes us overlook all those annoyances.


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