"Believe me, this dream, as you call it, will come to pass without doubt; it will come, but not now, for every process has its law. It's a spiritual, psychological process. To transform the world, to recreate it afresh, men must turn into another path psychologically. Until you have become really, in actual fact, a brother to every one, brotherhood will not come to pass. No sort of scientific teaching, no kind of common interest, will ever teach men to share property and privileges with equal consideration for all. Every one will think his share too small and they will always be envying, complaining and attacking one another. You ask when it will come to pass; it will come to pass, but first we have to go through the period of isolation... the isolation that prevails everywhere, above all in our age - it has not fully developed, it has not reached its limit yet. For every one strives to keep his individuality as apart as possible, wishes to secure the greatest possible fullness of life for himself; but meantime all his efforts result not in attaining fullness of life but self-destruction, for instead of self-realisation he ends by arriving at complete solitude. All mankind in our age have split up into units, they all keep apart, each in his own groove; each one holds aloof, hides himself and hides what he has, from the rest, and he ends by being repelled by others and repelling them. He heaps up riches by himself and thinks, 'how strong I am now and how secure,' and in his madness he does not understand that the more he heaps up, the more he sinks into self-destructive impotence. For he is accustomed to rely upon himself alone and to cut himself off from the whole; he has trained himself not to believe in the help of others, in men and in humanity, and only trembles for fear he should lose his money and the privileges he has won for himself. Everywhere in these days men have, in their mockery, ceased to understand that the true security is to be found in social solidarity rather than in isolated individual effort. But this terrible individualism must inevitably have an end, and all will suddenly understand how unnaturally they are separated from one another. It will be the spirit of the time, and people will marvel that they have sat so long in darkness without seeing the light. And then the sign of the Son of Man will be seen in the heavens... But, until then, we must keep the banner flying. Sometimes even if he has to do it alone, and his conduct seems to be crazy, a man must set an example, and so draw men's souls out of their solitude, and spur them to some act of brotherly love, that the great idea may not die."
I could not have said it better myself.
I have talked directly about the neurological basis for connectedness and touched on the need for community to combat suffering. But in the back of my mind as I write many of these blogs has been the awareness that we humans are called to be a body made up of individual parts. It is only when we recognize our deep need for one another that we find any real strength.
One of the only remaining reminders that we have a need for one another is the institution of marriage, which has decayed over the last 50 years. It seems we have forgotten one another. But we need one another deeply. I could plead with you on this point but it would be wasted unless you have experienced community yourself - or at least experienced the dreadful despair of isolation, which is the root of man's powerlessness. But there will come a day when that "time of isolation" will pass and we will once again be united. May we try to find that unity now.