The Broken Heart: The Medical Consequences of Loneliness

The Broken Heart: The Medical Consequences of Loneliness

The Broken Heart: The Medical Consequences of Loneliness

The Broken Heart: The Medical Consequences of Loneliness

Excerpt

"Man you must be kidding about love! I think our young college kids have really latched onto something. Why get married when you can simply screw some young chick and nobody gets hurt. In the end you owe her nothing and she owes you nothing." —Comment made to the author by a 35-year-old steelworker, Baltimore, Maryland (1973)

"And in the naked light I saw / ten thousand people, maybe more. / People talking without speaking, / people hearing without listening, / people writing songs that voices never shared, / no one dared / disturb the sounds of silence." —Paul Simon,

Sound of Silence

There is a widespread belief in our modern culture that love is a word which has no meaning. A whole generation of detached, independent, self-sufficient, noncommitted individuals agree with the steelworker quoted above that no one really needs to get hurt in modern human relationships. You can be intimate with someone and then leave, and nothing bad will happen.

This book was written to document the opposite point of view: human relationships do matter. They are desperately important to both our mental and our physical well-being. The fact is that social isolation, the lack of human companionship, death or absence of parents in early childhood, sudden loss of love, and chronic human loneliness are significant contributors to premature death. Although, as we shall see, almost every cause of death is significantly influenced by human companionship, this book will concentrate chiefly on the leading cause of death—heart disease. My hope . . .

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