People in the United States are obsessed with righting the wrong of income inequality. Ask anyone who is destitute, and you will hear about all the suffering wrought by it. And just for the record, I agree 100%. Income inequality is a tremendous danger to society. It's wrong, and the solutions to it (if any) are very complicated. However, there's another ill in our society that I think is just as damaging that no one seems to care anything about: emotional and physical inequality.

You can pull up articles on the web if you'd like. Just google the term "touch deprivation" and you'll be led to a lot of scholarly articles that talk about how some old people, people who live alone, people who have no partners or never found "the one" or in the case of polyamory, a taste for multiple partners when all they wanted was a single person who would hold their hand in a movie. You will see that it's a huge growing problem in our collective society...this growing apart...this reluctance to touch another human being. Imagine what it is like to have no one willing to touch you for years at a time for whatever reasons. You go about your years eating food, sleeping alone, filling your days reading books or watching t.v., and no one cares. No one touches you. Ever. Someone might have a conversation with you...from six feet away. Someone might sit on the couch with you...with pillows arranged as armrests to keep a territorial bubble of "no touching." Imagine the awkwardness of asking a friend, "Hey...do you think I could get a hug?" Then seeing the discomfort in dudebro's eyes as he says awkwardly, "uh...sure...I guess..."

People might say, "Well it can't be harmful." But the studies done suggest otherwise because it adds tremendous discontent and misery into society that has dangerous ramifications. So people whine and scream all day long about how their financial needs are not getting met, yet they could care less that there are millions of people out there whose emotional and physical needs are also not getting met. I don't know if I have an answer as to why this is happening in society. Maybe people are growing afraid of others because touching the wrong person could label them "pariah." Maybe people are selfish, and they only want to touch those (and be touched by those) whom they find attractive. Maybe our society is so awesome at creating boundaries that we have effectively given everyone the tools they need to make impenetrable barriers between each other...you know...to protect everyone from harm. Maybe that's it...a pervasive fear that somehow, somewhere, someone will be harmed. Pack everyone in Styrofoam, kids included, NO TOUCHING! SCREAM IF YOU ARE TOUCHED!! #METOO even if the touch was a passing glance, a brief "skin on the elbow" thing.

Humans are gross and disgusting creatures. Maybe people have forgotten that, and they pretend that they are not a gross and disgusting creature and that somehow, by touching another human, the grossness might rub off on them. Maybe it's narcissism finally birthing it's terrible child: a society wherein we interact with one another through a screen instead of face to face. A screen is so much cleaner, it can be sanitized, and it can be free of dirt if one is willing. And the images can be photoshopped so that they are seen in only the best light. Maybe this is how the great civilizations fall...when they rise to the point that everyone thinks of themselves as too perfect to actually soil themselves with the possibility of another person's slight imperfections.

Again, I'm not sure what's happening culturally in America today. But I know it is happening because I talk to lonely old people every day (and those ages keep dropping to younger and younger folks) as a part of my job. Anyone else noticing this? Anyone else feeling physically and emotionally deprived?

Just a thought: maybe the people screaming about income inequality already have their emotional and physical needs met by persons in their lives. In this case, maybe the only "hole" in their lives is money. I hate to think of what this means: they probably don't care or even have the empathy to believe that someone else doesn't have it as rich as they do in that department. If someone doesn't have any empathy for another person's suffering, it sure does make it difficult to want to help them out. In that aspect, maybe we are all just screwed because no one is going to help anyone out at all.

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