We're all alone. Each of us is a separate being with unique inner lives, desires, thoughts, perspectives and imaginings. It follows that our aloneness and inner solitude are interwoven with the condition of loneliness.

In the past 20 years, the internet and all social media living there have radically adapted how we engage with others. From our colleagues at work to our closest relationships, we have become increasingly connected digitally. Yet physically, in many ways, we've become more isolated.

Lonely hearts in society are well documented, from Mary Shelley's 19th-century classic story "Frankenstein," which deftly depicts the suffering of a lonely outcast, to modern movies like Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" (2007), which delves into the fragility of isolation, to the memorable lyrics of Roy Orbison's song "Only the Lonely."

Loneliness remains a trending topic in health research, too. Mental health professionals already considered loneliness a crisis prior to COVID-19's social distancing, event restrictions and stay-at-home orders, prompting ongoing discussions about