I had some thoughts on my walk this afternoon that seemed like they were trying to shape themselves into something profound if I could pin them down completely. Thinking about my own loneliness, I had this flash of near-insight that our culture makes a whole lot of people lonely. We conflate caring about another person with being sexually interested in them, and we have pervasive moral messages that it's wrong to be sexually interested in someone unless you're married to them or at least want to be married to them. People in committed relationships are expected to stay distant from anyone other than their partner, because it would be wrong to be close enough that physical interest might develop or that a jealous partner might imagine it. People who aren't in committed relationships are expected to stay distant, unless they're forming a new commitment, because the appearance of physical interest is immoral, and approaching someone for emotional closeness might appear to be looking for sex. And, of course, people are discouraged from getting too close to members of their own gender -- unless they're declared gay, and then they can't be close to the other gender. How many connections between people are not made, or only made superficially, because of the cultural indoctrination that it would be wrong for that pair of people to have sex?