Do you like your own company? If before March 2020 it was possible to hide from this question by making an appointment to meet a friend or go out to meet new people each time loneliness hit, the pandemic made us face our own thoughts head-on.
Feeling sad and anguished about being alone was a hot topic even before we all locked ourselves in the house. With the distance brought by covid-19, the collective conversation around the topic only intensified.
“In the UK, the ministry of loneliness was created there in 2018. That fog, that gray thing, bad weather was causing a problem, especially among the elderly. Japan also created a department during the pandemic, and even named one. minister to take care of this business of loneliness. The government realized that many people were dying inside the apartments and were only found months later,” says anthropologist Michel Alcoforado in the latest episode of CAOScast distributed by TAB (listen from 6:23).
Whether in the UK, Japan or Brazil, loneliness is a pain that we are living collectively. “It’s this feeling more and more frequent, in this super connected world in which we live. Although we are in a constant exchange of information, messages, people accessing us all the time, more and more people feel they have few bonds In that end-of-the-day piece of ‘Who can I count on?’, the person feels they don’t have much. You have a lot of interaction, but little intimacy, little bond”, explains Marina Roale, research leader at Consumoteca (as of 11:24).
Roale and Alcoforado reflect that feeling alone amidst so many (virtual) possibilities of connection can be explained in part by the individualism reinforced by the current collective discourse.
“I think it’s the great contradiction of our time: you say that we understand each other through groups, that we have always sought to connect in society, but we live especially in this phase of capitalism where, for a while, we endorse a lot this discourse of individualism in the sense of ‘search for your happiness, seek your best version’, only you can go after your dreams”, says Roale (as of 19:29).
With that, comes the question: are we really willing to pay the necessary efforts to create bonds? “If you don’t need anyone for anything, the other won’t need you for much either. From then on, generalized individuality will trigger a general loneliness”, analyzes researcher Tiago Faria (as of 27:32).
To fry ideas with the chaotic and reflect on your own loneliness and what you’ve been doing to contribute to it, be sure to listen to the full episode of CAOScast in the player above.
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