In a piece in Time Magazine‘s June 27, 2016 issue, Sebastian Junger, author of Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, is asked several questions by Karl Vick. One such question was, “So it’s not just service members who feel isolated,” to which the author responds: “The assumption is that our wonderful society is good for our mental health. And the fact that it’s not is shocking and also a relief to find out. I mean, why would suicide rates go up with wealth? Why would depression go up with modernity? It’s counter-intuitive, but once you think about it, once you think about our evolution as a species, it makes sense.”
The followup question, “Like Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents?” got this response: “Western society has this narrative that we’re moving steadily toward a kind of societal perfection. And in some ways we are. The improvements are amazing. But there’s this massive unseen cost, which is our sense of connectedness to the group, and that connectedness to the group has been at the core of our definition of what it means to be human for 200,000 years. For the first time in history, it’s being challenged, it’s being eroded…”
In this screen-happy, living vicariously and over-sharing just to reach out and get someone’s attention culture–even “friends” one has never met, thank you, Facebook–do you really disagree with him? Seems to me, that, nowadays and in many cases, connectedness translates to collecting LIKES at any cost from strangers and friends/family alike, and that’s as unconnected as it gets.
Better yet: Pick up the phone and talk, meet for lunch; have folks in for drinks or dinner–all so much better than posting and responding online, alone with a screen.