Where is Everybody?

While in a simulation of a space flight to the moon, the subject of the first episode of The Twilight Zone (1959) becomes delusioned and begins living a horrific experience:

A place I don’t want to go again, sir. A town, a town without people, without anybody. What was the matter with me, doc? Just off my rocker?

The Air Force physician has an explanation for the soldier:

Just the kind of nightmare that your mind manufactured for you. You see, we can feed the stomach with concentrates, we can supply microfilm for reading, recreation, even movies. We can pump oxygen in and waste material out. There is one thing that we can’t simulate that’s a very basic need, a man’s hunger for companionship…

Since that time, we have successully landed on the moon and placed astronauts into orbit for months on end.

Meanwhile, we have people living with chronic pain here on the ground still hungry for compassionate understanding from a medical community that considers them outliers. The physician continues:

…The barrier of lonliness, that is one thing we haven’t licked yet.

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