A project known as Robot Companions, “which will develop soft-bodied ‛perceptive’ robots as companions for the lonely,” has been selected as a finalist for an EU competition, that will award one billion Euros over ten years for two huge flagship projects that will apply information and communication technologies to social problems. The Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagships aim to unite Europe’s scattered academic forces around well-defined missions that feed directly into the European Union’s social or political goals. “It’s like ‛mars-landing’ projects”.
Who knew it was one of the EU’s social and political goals to deal with the problem of loneliness?
Recently I spoke with an organizer of Christmas events in the Pyrenees Orientales, and I suddenly realized how much loneliness fills in the single people’s everyday life. An invitation list of 300 people is often reduced by half, most of which arise from the lonely, young as well as old people.
Well, it is of course no surprise knowing that over 45% of the European population live a life without much contact with other people – They lack a network as expressed in a popular way.
Why are so many single people now living a lonely life? Many analyzes have been made out
by professionals and they have probably presented loads of work and papers containing the causes and suggestions for improvements of the lone human potentials. Contact to other people in real life as the antithesis of decaying idleness in front of TV and the computer screen.
It is often said, that single people have voluntarily been “imprisoned” in their homes and the apathetic attitude to life’s facets are quickly implemented and life becomes a nightmare when the “passive” entertainment is turned off the computer or TV.
I have always used a picture to explain lonely people how they should work to get a network of friends; The Spiders…that with great enthusiasm make almost artistic webs to catch insects are usually situated in the middle of the cobwebs – waiting and excited whether the network functions properly. If an insect is caught in a remote part of the cobweb, the spider must move out of its “prey” if it is otherwise hungry enough. And so it is for lonely people waiting, but often without moving or “activating” own body, mind and soul.
The chair, the sofa and the bed has been everyday life for many … (and it is by the way in
these three furniture most people die)…. but the cycle of the evil can be stopped if people will learn that nothing comes by itself without being conscious of their own situation and recognize that transparency is the way to a restoration of a life where people thrive as we are – a social pack of animals who feel best when dealing with others.
I will of course not claim that it is not possible to have a functioning life as a single person, but this requires a special mentality, where it is important to keeping a good company with own inner core and a good network, which is intact.
If we try to see it all from the social and financial issues, it is actually a bad investment adding the human consequences. It takes more buildings, visits to doctors and reportedly more medicine, when loneliness takes over man’s otherwise natural element as Adam and Eve did it. All senses as given man from birth is not a superfluous like an appendix is it now, but the senses are important for the whole “locomotive” if it should be running on to the destination.
Lonely people may often be a victim caused by unemployment, illness, divorce, shyness, phobias and of course if one spouse falls away. Once these many aspects of life become a fact, I have often seen impotence visibility with a subsequent emptiness where everything falls apart like a house of cards. Under such circumstances, I think it is important to move forward as quickly as possible regardless of the many advices on a process to be processed before doing anything else. Processing will continue whether life is continued with new glasses and active living. Otherwise will the machining process become a kind of paranoid life, which does not help the person in the eye of the storm or the surrounding environment.
Efforts to combat loneliness cannot stand alone with the public offer without a creative and active involvement of the stakeholders “lonely” – only help to self-help can reduce the large amount of lonely and single people. We, the humans have more resources than we sometimes know.
Finally, I call for greater openness, understanding of the natural aspects of life quite ordinary and without any kind of academic explanations – and precisely this requires a very simple knowledge of our innate characteristics, that have never been meant as a robot going through learning processes where man should be in a particular box that is related to the customs, habits and rituals we are presented with in our potential deadlock culture; As we know, it has shared our common planet in all sorts of countries, languages and religions. If this was the intention from the creators hand, I think that something went wrong in that process we call the human creation.