Human feelings do not always remain the same. They change in emphasis and tone through the centuries. Thus we can talk about a history of emotions. I am convinced that we are going through an Ice Age of the heart, which began more or less with the Industrial Revolution and continues in our post-industrial age. The causes of this Ice Age are many: new living conditions and forms of work, the establishing of new technologies, the decline of the extended family, the great migrations in which people are uprooted from their birthplace, the weakening of values, the fragmentation and superficiality of the contemporary world, the accelerating pace of life.

Do not misunderstand me — I am not pining for the good old days. On the contrary, I think we are living in an extraordinary epoch. If we wish to cultivate solidarity, kindness, care for others, we have more knowledge, instruments, and possibilities than ever before. Still, the Ice Age we are passing through is worrisome, and I am not surprised that it goes hand in hand with the epidemic of depression and panic attacks, probably the two psychological disturbances most linked to lack of warmth and of a reassuring and protective community, and to a weakened sense of belonging.

Piero Ferrucci, The Power of Kindness