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Is it because too many have no real stake in society or its future?

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Stevicus, Jan 11, 2021.

  1. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I remember a few years back I read an article (and I think I posted about it here) about how people are not as community conscious as they were in previous times. Social and service organizations like Kiwanis, Lions Club, Rotary Club, etc. face declining membership and interest.

    I think many of us here have discussed declines in religious membership.

    I've also read articles in recent years about how there are more single people now than ever before, many have never been married at all or had any kids.

    I'm not saying that any of this is bad, in and of itself, but it could suggest greater alienation and disconnection from society. The internet may also help to enable this phenomenon. The pandemic has only made it worse, but this problem was evident before the pandemic.

    In the recent disturbances, I wondered how many of these people actually had real jobs or something to give them some sense of purpose. I was reading that the guy from Arizona with the Viking helmet was unemployed and living with his mother at age 32. Even setting aside those who have been laid off due the pandemic, large segments of the population have been idle - some for so long that they're not even counted in the unemployment rate.

    Even those who are working, how many truly feel productive, happy, and fairly compensated from their jobs? If they're working long hours at low wages for crabby bosses, then how does that affect their outlook and perception? Some might get angry, but others might become more disaffected and apathetic. Many are chain smokers and alcoholics, while some turn to even harder drugs. Mental illness also appears to be quite prevalent.

    A lot of people just don't care, and they take no sides. They'll just sit back and watch.

    I get the feeling the culture was much different back in my parents' and grandparents' time, especially during WW2 when there was a feeling of "we're all in this together," but it's almost as if we're at the complete opposite of that right now.

    These are just random thoughts I was pondering this evening while thinking about recent events. I was trying to think of root causes and what has happened to America, beyond just the superficial political level. What's bubbling under the surface, and is there a cure?
     
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  2. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    I get a sense of that when I watch a youtube channel by a guy named david hoffman.. very interesting to see the sorts of interviews and footage of people that experienced the 50's or early 60's for example , and my sense of it is that some of this must go back to the cultural schism that happened there. Something never got solved going forward from that.. something got stretched out of those moments to bring you the guy with the viking helmet, or the hundred days of strife in portland etc.

    In any case I've been intrigued by talks about this thing called 'game b civilization theory...' It's rather far-flung perhaps, but maybe worth a look.
     
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  3. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    Very much so. My mother proudly saved a newspaper article about what she was doing for the war effort. Even afterwards, we had a common enemy in the USSR/Communist China but we also had McCarthy which started the separation. Vietnam and the 60's accelerated it with anti-war sentiment and "don't trust anyone over 30" (I stopped trusting myself a LONG time ago).

    Without a common external enemy to override our differences, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" (for now) turned into 'you are the enemy'.
     
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  4. JustGeorge

    JustGeorge Well-Known Member
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    I feel like everything is fragmented...

    It seems like the vast majority of people experience things through the internet first. Hence, when there's a wreck or some other catastrophe, the first thing people do is bust out the phones and start recording. We're no longer a part of life, we just watch it, so we can post later and brag to a larger audience "look what I saw!"

    I also feel like there's 'one way' to be now, though that one way differs between who you talk to. I don't know what it was like decades ago, I'm only 36, but if you don't properly fit into some 'niche', you're sitting on the edge of society. You can't really participate. What I see is the opposite of your idea of taking no sides... you must take a side, or you don't exist. Which will it be? There's no room for a middle ground. You're with them(them being whomever is in the clique in question), or you're against them.

    I don't know what the answer is. I hope there is one, though, and someone smarter than me can figure it out.
     
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  5. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    Life was better then. Theres no doubt but I think these things tend to be the result of cloistering and being insulated through propaganda and programming.

    Now that we are in an age of tech and super computer's, people are more cynical due to being more informed and aware of how people really are, and its not a pretty picture anymore.
     
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  6. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
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    I blame the internet, and social media.
    You know, the things responsible for people not having to get up off their backside and go seek out other humans to interact with.
     
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  7. lewisnotmiller

    lewisnotmiller Grand Hat
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    This problem was solved long ago...

     
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  8. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    I have wondered. From my perspective, it seems like those who grew up with phones and the internet have about the same to worse difficulties than I do, and I had a troubled childhood, grew up in the country without neighbors or community, learned how to avoid people in school rather than interact with them, and I have Asperger's.
    Whatever the reason, I suspect it's a complicated answer and likely far worse than what many people realize. We Aspies are often single, lonely, under and unemployed, and having a hard time socially. But something has happened to put those who are presumably not struggling with such disorders, as they seem to struggle to a similar extent.
     
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  9. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    I think it's a combination of capitalism and specialization (inter-dependency). We are now living in a social system that makes us completely dependent on other people for everything we need to survive and thrive in life. We cannot obtain these things on our own, anymore. While at the same time we are being forced to compete with each other to obtain them by a capitalist system of commerce that is fundamentally a parasitical, "winner-take-all" system. So even as we need each other more and more, we are having to compete and contend with each other for everything. And the cognitive dissonance of it all is making us crazy. Life is becoming exhausting, and nonsensical. And as a result, we either turn inward, and our 'world' shrinks down to just ourselves. Or we become angry, and aggressive, and act out in justified selfishness, with no concern for others. And in either instance, our sense of community is diminished. And our sense of active responsibility shrinks down to just "me and mine". And this is bad for everyone, because it's ultimately dishonest. We humans are a social, cooperative species. We need each other to survive and thrive. And we need to work together for each other's well-being.

    We need to ditch capitalism because it pits us all against each other. It's extremely wasteful, inefficient, and exhausting for everyone. And we need to resist the desire to turn inward, and to hide, and to ignore our responsibilities to each other's well-being. We need to face the insane dissonance and act to resolve it. But will we?
     
    #9 PureX, Jan 12, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
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  10. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I agree. The irony of the internet is that at first, it seemed as if the world was going to come together by opening up the lines of communication. However, it only made the cliques and the echo chambers even larger. The internet makes it easier for people to block out whatever they don't want to see or hear, so that they only hear views and opinions which are safe to them. There are even echo chambers for the apathetic and the cynical, those who just want to sit back and watch the world burn.

    Has America failed in some essential way? Most of my life, I would hear the mantra about "freedom and democracy," especially when it was spoken of in terms of other nations and America's foreign policy. There was a widespread belief that all we need to do is spread freedom and democracy - whether it was in Latin America, Southeast Asia, Middle East, or wherever - and then everything would be alright. But is freedom really enough?

    It seems that democracy is based in the assumption that everyone would have an equal stake in society and would therefore have a built-in incentive to cooperate with their fellow citizens to make society succeed. But if people aren't given an equal stake, then they have no incentive to cooperate. If the highest rewards in society go to the lazy, incompetent, corrupt, dishonest, and malicious, then it's going to create a skewed sense of collective morality and dissension - which is what many people seem to be complaining about lately.
     
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  11. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I think this is the cumulative effect of social Darwinism, which capitalism is based upon. Nationalism is also a product of social Darwinism, so it should come as no surprise that the two often go hand in hand.

    My sense is that it will probably get worse before it gets better.
     
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  12. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I don't think very many people knew about Asperger's back when I was a kid. Although there were a lot of troubled kids just the same. A lot of people blamed it on liberal permissiveness. My grandparents were convinced that troubled kids, juvenile delinquency, and the high crime rate (this was the 70s) were directly due to the fact that they stopped having prayers in public school. I never could quite understand the logic underlying that conclusion, but that's how they would think.
     
  13. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    So... you feel that there was more togetherness during segregation? o_O
     
  14. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    Talking to people from those generations, that's the general feeling they would convey, especially during WW2. Segregation was not the be-all and end-all of America. You make it seem as if all of American history is based on a single theme, but such was not the case - especially for those of us who have actually lived in America and don't view it as an outsider.
     
  15. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    I was often said to have that, though I don't have a history contemplating it that much.. just a little bit in recent years. As the economy has shifted in tech jobs in the past 20 years, it threw a curveball into the sorts of things we've done in the last hundred thousand. I think some have posited that this new dynamic might give some autistic people a better foundation, and perhaps some 'neurotypicals' might struggle with it? So if that kind of thing is true, there might be a differential dynamic that could slightly alter the playing field. As well, I tend to wonder what would happen if a way was put in place, to try and use education to draw ability out of these conditions? In any case, those are optimistic ways of seeing it.. which I myself tend not to gravitate toward, though I hope that in this I err, as being optimistic seems to often be an advantage, if you can maintain it

    As well, there are the differences in the generations that people point out. I thought I read for example, that 30 year olds only have like 4 percent of the wealth, whereas later generations had 30 some percent at 30. Which is probably not very good for society. I recognize however, that plenty of baby boomers had it rough.. But with us having so little wealth, and likely often having lowly work positions, it probably does tend to stagnate society. A society that is based on social and economic evolution (capitalism) should actually want the younger people at the helm, for that would give it the best cutting edge socially and economically
     
    #15 ideogenous_mover, Jan 12, 2021
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  16. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    Well, all my life I've heard our leaders talking about the nation in words so magnanimous, that I have words or concepts like 'greatness' or 'freedom' dripping out of my ears. It's like, cue the brass band and then talk about how great we are.. You must see some amount of hubris in this, right.. The thing about the great, is that they don't declare they are great. You speak of religion for example.. the bible has god telling the people in the city to don sackcloth.. and describes the downfall of proud nations. Americans have failed to cultivate pessimism, and this is surely not very good.. You can hear it in our voices, even the way we talk often has a sort of optimistic spur to it, no matter what we're talking about

    I mean it's good to find some optimism, but obviously it has to be regulated by reality
     
    #16 ideogenous_mover, Jan 12, 2021
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  17. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    I have my doubts as employment and promotions and raises amd such aren't often based on actual merit and introverts in general typically are better qualified but get overlooked because we're all expected to he happy extroverts.
    I'd have to question the methodology of that, and how exactly they looked at this, because many erroneously assume many of us about my age on up were beginning to work around the recession, but that wasn't the case and several studies looking into a microgeneration (roughly mid 70s to mid 80s), as this group had actually been working long enough to get ahead at work during the Recession. So I'm curious about that.
    But, the statistics that have been trending since the 70s doesn't bode well regardless.
     
  18. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    We have always been dependent on eachother. This is a fact. We are social animals, we need other people.
    The proliferation of this myth (one I blame on capitalism and the myth of the "self made man") of "pulling oneself up by their own bootstraps" is probably also why things have went to crap. It's against the very essence of who we are.
     
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  19. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    It wasn't used in America until 1996.
    I don't get it either. I heard tons about how that was to blame for Columbine, but it really seems to be a part of this larger issue (that we see is extremely problematic right now) that people just do not want to accept words alone have power.
    I would say it probably also has something to do with the proliferation of the nuclear family. It's basically the least pro-family model we've practiced, and it did separate us from most of the support we'd have available to us.
    We also the proliferation of the myths claiming we can do it all ourselves. But that just is not the case. We expected to relly on ourselves and do it all ourselves, but we've never done that before. We are social animals. That is a fact. We evolved to function in groups and not do it all on our own.
     
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