“The Normals have only a touch and a voice, then back to their darkness. They can barely find each other. They’re alone. Always. Groping. Trying, over and over, to climb out of their isolation booths, and failing, over and over.”
“Centuries ago there was a poet named Arnold, who wrote of a darkling plain. The poem’s in one of the old languages, but it’s worth reading. It shows – fear, I think. Something basic in man, some dread of being alone in the cosmos. Maybe it’s just fear of death, maybe it’s more. I don’t know. But it’s primal. All men are forever alone, but they don’t want to be. They’re always searching, trying to make contact, trying to reach others across the void. Some people never succeed, some break through occasionally. Lya and I were lucky. But it’s never permanent. In the end you’re alone again, back on the darkling plain. You see, Dino? Do you see?”
A Song for Lya / George R.R. Martin.