“The wise man learns only from his own guilt. He will ask himself: Who am I that all this should happen to me? To find the answer to this fateful question he will look into his own heart.”—Carl Jung, Dreams (via knowledgeandspirit)
“It’s funny. People have different relationships to bass in different countries. When I play in Israel, I can play at 70 BPM, and people have their hands up in the air. But in other countries they want it much faster, with the bass a little less deep and more punchy. It’s not so easy all the time, but it shouldn’t be.”—Nicolas Jaar
Why is the contagion of loneliness and the shunning response important news? For starters, because we know Americans are already lonelier than they have ever been. Studies show that we move in smaller social circles and have fewer confidants than we used to. Add to this the probability of loneliness contagion and you get a snowball effect. And there’s more. Because the rest of us shun the lonely, we’ve got a prescription for deep divides and levels of isolation that could threaten the cohesion required for any society to function.
The spread of individual loneliness has mass social consequences, and among them are insidious effects on democratic values. We’re all aware that associations and affiliations — which socialize us into democratic life — are at the heart of democracy. The more lonely, divided and isolated we become, the less we participate and associate. The fewer people who participate actively in democracy, the more everyone is at the mercy of the loudmouthed extremists and demagogues who do engage.
We should think of loneliness, then, not just as a sad condition haunting some of us but as a seed of political disunity. Not only does growing social isolation undermine the social contract, it leaves the public grasping for new ways to connect. Indeed, as society becomes more atomized, the electorate might very well become more susceptible to calls for dangerous forms of solidarity — be they national, religious, ethnic or partisan. Research already suggests that social isolation leaves individuals more willing to embrace the abstract certainties of rigid ideologies.