The Ministry of Loneliness

(Brendan McDermid/Reuters)
Having forgotten how to live and why, we moderns are together alone, each at a table for one.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T oday is the commemoration of Saint Valentine, a celebrated martyr who, in spite of that bedazzled skull with his name on it reverently displayed at a certain basilica in Rome, may not have technically quite . . . existed. Or there might have been three of them — Roman record-keeping, once rigorous, had declined somewhat by the third century, a victim of imperial torpor, so it is difficult to say.

In any case, I do not expect Tetsushi Sakamoto to join the many pilgrims who will visit Saint Valentine’s popular shrine (which is in Dublin rather than in Rome) today, but


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