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the Hard Way
Eventually, real life knocks hard enough that you let it in.
Inspired by the comment about Sims 2, I'd like to talk about it.… 
25th-Jun-2008 05:43 pm
ferret!!
Inspired by the comment about Sims 2, I'd like to talk about it. Comapanies make money off of our loneliness by giving us replacements. But don't let us actually solve the problem, because then they can't continue making money. Cable TV, video games, porn, casual sex...all these things are drugs that make us feel better for awhile. When it's over though, we feel strangely empty.

We've not had strong community life in America for a hundred years. That's right, a hundred years. How can you know what is wrong when you've never known anything different? How can you miss someone you've never met? Yet we do. Granted, things weren't perfect back then (at all) but at least you had community, which helped ease the loneliness. I still think the Hutterites have the right idea; barn raising, close-to-the-Earth living, no TV or cars, etc.

Since we all love examples, I'll give you a few to flesh this out.

Example one: gangs in ghettos. Kids grow up without a strong community such as church or extended family, without either a good intellect of a good education, and what happens? They form gangs for support, for family ties, for success. They form "tribes", because having no tribe at all is scary and unnatural to our animal natures.

Another example of the paucity of community in our lives and how it affects us: TV. We form entire LJ comms devoted to our TV shows in order to have a shared culture to talk about. We leave the TV on for companionship when the house gets too quiet. We distract ourselves with entertainment.

The things that have eaten away at community are:
-easy personal transportation

The car...OMG, don't get me started on how isolating the car is to our society. Too late.

Having cars allows us to have our own flexible work schedule. We no longer have to depend on others for transportation.

-the importance of money


OMG, I've got this entire swollen idea in my head and it just won't come out. This could be an entire graduate thesis. Everyone is oblivious to it and ignores it because loneliness is a sign of social undesireability and a social pariah. YET WE ARE ALL LONELY. Our culture is one of "suck it up and deal with". It is a culture of victim blaming. We wonder why WE are lonely, and we are encouraged to do so, because then we don't examine why SOCIETY is lonely. Society comes across as blameless if it's OUR fault that we are lonely. We never stop to consider how our culture enforces our loneliness. Since it's OUR FAULT we are lonely, we are seen as inferior and in need of fixing. We need drugs, we need therapy, we need something to come to terms with how we are feeling. Culture and society come across as innocent. We hide it because it's not OK to talk about how lonely we are, we hide it away, try to suck it up because it's our fault, not the lack of community.

We don't have anything to compare a good community to except maybe elementary school and that experience goes away quickly. I have got to get this understanding out of my head, it's like I'm pregnant in the head. This is the root cause of a large portion of society's problems. Think about it. You'll see our economy has an interest in keeping us medicated, numb and lonely, and our government does too. A population, sated and yet yearning for more, sitting safely behind their TV's is much more apathetic and easier to fool. The government can get away with shenanigans such as pay raises if we are drugged.

Granted, community is not a fix for everything.

Also, I'm seeing we can't fix this. At all. You can either have money or you can have community. It's like a slider on the control board of society; one side reads "community", one side reads "wealth". One always develops at the expense of the other.

I'll quit now because I'm not making sense and I'm hungry. It's like in horror movies where the character can't say where the montster is because they are too scared and excited to form the words, except in this case it's quite complex.
Comments 
26th-Jun-2008 01:44 am (UTC)
Reminds me of the tribes that form in Eastern Standard Tribe; thanks to the internets, people no longer have to form tribes/communities with those around them and can find their thoughts are more aligned with someone living in the Eastern timezone (GMT -5) for example.
26th-Jun-2008 01:53 am (UTC)
This is true. :) I do like the ability of the internet to allow people of diverse interests to join together.

But these groups are inferior to traditional ones. They have lower social capital. You can't exactly ask them to watch the house when you are gone on vacation. You can't ask them to help out if you are violently ill and can't take care of yourself for a couple days. You can't ask them to walk your dog. Plus you never know if you are really friends with them because you most likely have never met them in person. Plus I feel human relationships don't form based on similar mindsets. They form for psychological reasons; she reminds you of your kind mom, he reminds you of your strong dad. That's how strong friendships form, because one party needs love and nuturing and the other needs to provide it. People who only have similar mindsets may have a good surface friendship, but that's it.

I should, of course, limit these sweeping generalizations to only myself and my situation. :)
26th-Jun-2008 02:36 am (UTC)
Another example of like-minded people; my dad and I. We are extremely similar, and we are starting to grow apart. it happens when you are both introverts. :/
26th-Jun-2008 02:19 am (UTC)
True, true ... wish I knew what to do about it...
26th-Jun-2008 02:37 am (UTC)
Communes! FTW! Summer camp communes!
26th-Jun-2008 02:46 am (UTC)
it's kind of a catch-22, isn't it? modern technology allows us to move farther to pursue our dreams and our money, allows us to stay semi-connected with the telephone and the internet and drive/fly to see one another, but yet takes away that personal one-on-one connection that we used to have. i am grateful to modern gadgets for allowing me to continue to interact with friends and family that no longer live near me (which is just about all of them) and to pass along information to those that are near me ... but i also hate the isolation of it b/c it is easier to simply IM someone, phone them, or send them an email rather than drive somewhere to meet them in person. it's a pseudo-connection that keeps us satisfied, but never content.
26th-Jun-2008 02:50 am (UTC)
Yup. It's like eating candy vs a real, healthy meal. Candy will fill you but it's not good for you. It's also addicting.

Problem is, we are mired in this problem. The only way is either regress to tribes or invent some new social group that attempts to fix this problem.
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