Here is the full transcript video game designer Will Wright’s TEDx talk: Loneliness is Literally Killing Us at TEDxBirmingham conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio: Loneliness is literally killing us by Will Wright at TEDxBirmingham
I’d like to ask you all one question: who here has never, not once in your life, been lonely? Now, I’m not talking about being alone. Being alone is a choice.
People go on hikes alone. People go to the movies alone. Philosophers oftentimes think their best thoughts alone. No, being alone is good. I’m talking about being lonely.
Loneliness is not a choice. It represents a fundamental mismatch between the relationships that we have and those that we want. Loneliness is not good.
And here’s the thing: loneliness is killing us. I’ve worked in public health for over a decade, studying trends in chronic disease, and I can tell you that loneliness puts us at greater risk of developing disease.
People who are struggling with diseases like diabetes, depression, even cancer, oftentimes got those diseases in large part because they were lonely to begin with. In fact, a meta-analysis of 70 peer reviewed journal articles estimated that loneliness is as risky to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
There are many biological and physiological reasons why this is the case, but deep down I think we all understand this. Loneliness is painful, right? It represents a fundamental challenge to our core humanity. We crave human connection.