Sadly, we've all become rather inured to the ever-increasing news coverage of healthy young adults 'dying suddenly' (and, despite the usual presstitutes' protestations, the one thing these tragic individuals all have in common is not a shared love of tea drinking, gardening, or vigorous duvet-shaking).
However, I recently read about an even more multi-faceted modern tragedy, regarding a fit and healthy young man named Dominic Green, who, aged just 28, "died suddenly" in his LA apartment. Despite coming from a large, close-knit family, and being in full-time employment, his body wasn't discovered for many days, by which point it had decomposed so extensively, his family was barred from seeing him.
How could a healthy, busy, gregarious and popular young adult die alone and not be missed for days?
It's because this young adult, like many, had only ever worked from home. Once his university classes went online in the height of the "pandemic" in 2020, a precedent was set and nearly all graduate opportunities in his field became work from home only.
His colleagues had never met him and didn't even know what he looked like.
It's difficult to conjure up in words the full magnitude of horror this situation represents. When we talk of people dying alone, their bodies lying undiscovered for many days or weeks, we imagine elderly, infirm recluses, shut away from the world and with family and friends long dead. Of course, this is sad, and nobody should die lonely or alone - yet if someone is very elderly and has lived a full life, and it was only in the very latter stages of their life they became more isolated, some sense can be made of it and we can understand why it happened.
However, when it happens to healthy 28-year-olds just beginning their careers, and with seemingly all the trappings of a full and peopled life, the tragedy seems unquantifiable - and, at first glance, inexplicable.
Someone with close family, friends, and a job, should have been missed within hours of not meeting his usual appointments. Yet because his job was WFH and not IRL; because he communicated with family over devices rather than the dinner table; because he caught up with friends on social media rather than in cafes and pubs... nobody thought to raise the alarm for nearly a week, by which point, his body was so badly decomposed, it was unrecognisable.
Needless to say, this has left his close, tight-knit family devastated - not least because they can't understand why their fit and healthy son "just died" - but this is not just a private family tragedy: rather, this points to a much bigger and much darker malaise at the heart of our society, and what it is becoming (or has already become).
Probably one of the most dystopian offerings over the entire "pandemic" (and clearly, that's a qualifier with a lot of stiff competition) was this lurid little cartoon from the BBC, imagining post-pandemic working life.
In 2025 Britain, working a full week in the office has been abandoned, in favour of working 90% of the time at home, and only coming to an in-person central location for the very occasional meeting - where arrival times are strictly staggered to ensure no such dreadfully risky encounters as sharing a lift (in which 'grubby buttons' have been replaced with voice commands) with another human. Desks are separated by sanitised plastic screens and social distancing is strictly observed at all times.
Nobody lives in family homes or flat-shares any more, but rather, people live out in the suburbs with "a friend" (I found this a rather sinister description, as the "friend" is not qualified by age, gender, or indeed species, leading me to conclude the co-residential "friends" of the future could well be robots).
The intended future for the human race - even if we don't (yet) have bionic implants - is to be transhuman, insofar as, our lives are intended to be lived through machines and devices, rather than in the company of other human beings - and the degradation and destruction of natural familial and communal bonds to bring us to this hideous end stage has been long in the making.
You might have seen the deeply haunting and powerful 2011 film, 'Dreams of a Life', regarding an - attractive and popular - 38-year-old woman named Joyce Carol Vincent, who was found dead in her flat, above a busy shopping complex. Her body had been there for three years.
The film explores her background and life story, and questions what has gone so wrong in our society that a young woman with friends, family, relationships and jobs, can die alone in a city of six million people and lie undiscovered for three years.
Although there was shock and dismay at the time the film came out, and cries that "something must be done", nothing of any consequence was, and our society has continued to hurtle down its engineered route of ever-increasing atomisation and isolation, to the extent that, earlier this year, almost the same story played out again. A woman in her fifties, Sheila Seleoane, in full-time employment and living in a bustling housing complex, died alone in her flat and was not found for several years.
These cases have attracted a lot of publicity primarily because of the sheer amount of time the remains of the deceased had lain undiscovered, but just how often is this happening when people are not discovered "only" for a few days or weeks? Just how many people are there in this country and around the world who could 'die suddenly', and not be missed for days, weeks, months - or longer?
The tragic answer is that there are millions, and that this is entirely by design. The ruling classes have made no secret of the fact that their desired future for humanity is everyone living alone in sanitised SMART pods, with all forms of real-life human interaction heavily restricted to the point of being outright prohibited (lockdown was 'practice' for this, and many dystopian 'predictive programming' vehicles have foreseen it, such as 2149: The Aftermath). But to get to that point, where natural human communities have been so badly decimated that this is actually plausible as a scenario, has taken them decades of degradational and destructive work.
Trends like encouraging all young people to leave their home community immediately upon turning 18 to move to an alien city, delivers an immediate and severing blow to ever-increasing numbers of families all over the country. I come originally from a little village called Keele, nestled in the Staffordshire countryside, and my family settled there in the 1950s because my grandfather was a young lecturer at the new university, and my grandmother was a student. They went on to have five children, who grew up on campus, where all staff and their families were encouraged to live, and their daughter, my mother, met my father when he came to the university as a young lecturer in the 1970s. When I was born in the 1980s, Keele was a very friendly and close-knit community, and I had many friends amongst the other academics' children. We grew up together playing in the woods, walking through the leafy locale to the village school (which had a total of 98 pupils, all of whom I knew by name), and Keele was, all in all, a much-loved and rather magical place to grow up.
Yet, not one of these children stayed in the locality a day past their 19th birthdays. All went away to universities hundreds of miles away, before relocating again in their twenties "for work", because that is what aspirational, ambitious people do, right? It would be an unthinkable admission of prospect-free failure to make a life in the town where you were born.
It just so happened, however, that the wider community that surrounded Keele, the conurbation of Stoke-on-Trent, was quite old-fashioned in this regard and hadn't quite caught on to the modern "wisdom" of insisting all 18-year-olds immediately relocate to the other side of the country - and this dismayed my college A-level teachers greatly.
"Right," said my Psychology tutor one day to our class. "I know most people in this room are planning on going to university. But which of you are going to somewhere other than Keele or [the other local university] Staffs?"
Only a small smattering of hands went up (one of which was mine), and our teacher groaned in abject and undisguised despair. What was wrong with these stunted, repressed people?! Why on Earth didn't they want to abandon their families, friends, and beloved homes to go and live in a random alien city and start from total scratch with complete strangers?!
As much as the idea of moving away from family and friends for education and employment has become deeply embedded in our culture, and as much as it can be an amazing opportunity for some, the reality is that whatever benefits it might have provided in some ways, it has had huge social and human costs in others. That means I find going back to my hometown a very bittersweet experience, because - much as Keele is as beautiful and magical as ever, with its wild woods and ivy-lined old buildings - can you really still call somewhere your hometown, when you don't know anyone that lives there? Walking around campus now, I have so many memories, but that's all they are - echoes and ghosts of a life that once was, and that can never again be revisited.
Common as such an experience is, as many of us no longer have active relationships with people in our home towns, it is also very, very modern. Up until the 20th century, the large majority of human beings who had ever lived, were born, grew up, lived and died in the same small geographic area, surrounded by the same intergenerational families and communities - a bit like how the Amish still live today. And that afforded deep and sustaining communal bonds (apparently, there is no word for 'lonely' in Pennsylvania Dutch, the Amish mother tongue, so alien is the concept), meaning people were so integrated in their communities, and in one another's lives, that dying alone and not being discovered for days, weeks, months or longer, would have been unthinkable.
Of course, such traditional communities were not perfect (nothing is, where human beings are involved), and people should be given the opportunity to leave their homes and start afresh if that is what they want. But the loss of being part of a traditional community as the norm and the expectation - something that is there for everyone, if they want it - has paved the way for the modern horror stories as detailed in this article. There is scant little evidence that the widescale destruction of local, intergenerational communities and the growth of moving to alien, cities, living alone, working from home, and communicating via technology, has had any overall benefit for humanity, and quite a lot of evidence that it has been immensely destructive. Technology can certainly have incredible and powerful effects on our lives, yet, ultimately, has it left us better off? Or is technology simply improved means to unimproved ends?
I am not a technophobe and am in fact a great fan of computers and the internet (you might have noticed...), but, as a wise person once told me (my dad!), the internet should primarily be used for getting people off the internet, and into each other's lives.
There have to be caps, checks, and balances on what technology is used for, especially as we move forward and the ruling classes do everything they can to merge man with machine (and to separate us from each other). We cannot use the "convenience" of technology or other artificial facsimiles of community to make lives like Dominic Green's, or Sheila Seleoane's, or Joyce Carol Vincent's, commonplace. Nobody knew Joyce in her housing complex, yet her TV - that fake friend and constant companion - was still cheerfully chattering away when her body was found.
The human-to-human, real-life bond is the most powerful thing there is - and that's why it's the thing that frightens "them" the most and why they are doing everything they can to disrupt, distort, and destroy it.
However, in this as in all things, there is no reason to believe they will succeed. Indeed, "lockdown" was actually one of the most sociable periods of my life, and I made many new "IRL" friends. I'm sure many reading can say the same. The ruling classes did not account for this, for the durability, resilience and resourcefulness of the human spirit, so while we have seen terrible, haunting glimpses of what they want for us, that doesn't mean they will succeed in getting it. As has been most astutely observed, "they tried to bury us, but they didn't know we were seeds."
Rest in peace Dominic Green, Joyce Carol Vincent, Sheila Seleoane - and the many, many others like them. Your lives will be remembered - and what your deaths have shown us and taught us, not forgotten.