Thursday, July 13, 2023

Alone Together



I have good news, and bad news.

The good news: People are finally starting to report on America's chronic loneliness epidemic. "Why is that good news?", you may ask. Well, the fact of the matter is that problems aren't solved until they are first addressed. So the fact that I'm hearing more about loneliness is ultimately a good thing. As per my last post, even this administration, for all its faults, is acknowledging the problem. In May, if you recall, the U.S. Surgeon General released an 80+ page report detailing America's fallen civic state. Loneliness, the report posits, is akin to chain-smoking. 

But anyway, this is a positive development. For too long, our leaders and their cohorts in the legacy media have swept this problem under the dusty rug of delusion. The flimsy fa├žade of normalcy has triumphed over the truth.

During the age of COVID-hysteria, for example, little was said about the countless deaths of despair across the country. While the bottom-third of every major news network had a real-time ticker of COVID cases and casualties, there was no such ticker for cases of mental illness and suicide. We are social animals; isolation will kill us. 

At least we are paying attention now... 

The bad news: People are hurting. We are feeling the effects of being alone. 

This from The Hill:

Nearly 30 percent of American households comprise a single person, a record high. Scholars say living alone is not a trend so much as a transformation: Across much of the world, large numbers of people are living alone for the first time in recorded history. 

It is incumbent on us to stand athwart this "transformation". We must never except this as the new normal. Because if we do collectively shrug our shoulders and become indifferent to this reality of increased atomization, we will be, in effect, sowing the seeds of our own national coming apart. 

Alright, enough of this doom and gloom...

I do genuinely believe that we can rebuild a communitarian culture. It will take small communitarian acts. 

An example:

My friends and I just recently started a new tradition: Beer and wings night. On the first Saturday of every month, our little group goes to the neighborhood bar to drink and socialize. While this may seem trivial, it actually is not. This is, in a very micro sense, a small step towards a civic revival. If more people could get together and form book clubs, poker nights, and beer and wing nights, our country would be in much better shape. 

So...what are you waiting for?

 

 

3 comments:

  1. The culprit is technology. People are glued to their devices, even
    when out socially. How about beer, wings, and no phones for a few
    hours.

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    1. I completely concur - the rise of the smartphone, social media, online dating, video games across the internet, and all other related products of this digital revolution over the last two decades has really hurt American social culture and the structural integrity of communities everywhere. Luckily though, speaking as a young american, I can say there are numbers of the youthful generation especially young men who have completely denounced the technological movement and in fact have not fallen into the destructive social tendencies that they have garnered. I think also that geographical location has a lot to do with this. I grew up in a pretty rural area, and although it is becoming increasingly urbanized and crowded, traditional activities like fishing, hiking, riding bikes, quads, bonfires and other outdoor social gatherings have been the epicenter of the social culture of young people in my town for all of my life. Also, for the most part until recently the community was still very small close-knit and relatively homogeneous. The question I would like to raise would be whether or not large numbers of people that are afflicted with loneliness and isolation in the negative are located in crowded Urban centers. I think it would be quite ironic- but I also think it may be true- that in these sprawling metropolitan centers- individuals can feel very alone (lost in the swarming crowd of inhabitants). Ultimately, it is a cultural problem, at every level.

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    2. You raise a very important question about loneliness in urban settings. I think I'll write a follow-up post centered around that question! Thanks for reading!

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