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Boo's Thread of Multiple Existential Crisises

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xcalibur:

--- Quote from: Boo the Gentleman Caller on June 03, 2018, 02:31:32 am ---
--- Quote ---I've thought about this. I believe modern industrial/technological civilization tends to have an alienating effect on its participants.
--- End quote ---

I've wondered this myself. In the "olden days" (take that however far back in time you wish), people were quite literally almost always confined to the towns/communities they were born into. This, of course, changed with the advent of communication. It likewise increases the literal scope of connectivity, but limits the alienating effects of those who fall within.

Currently absorbing 5 Centimetres Per Second, which is my favorite (but the least watched) film by Makoto Shinkai. The literal beauty of the film is superb; it's able to capture the beauty of every day living, but my god is it harsh on the spirit. It's just... too true to life. People come and go.

I wrote the original post and felt a need to help further capture this feeling. Sometimes I do that. This film was it (for tonight, at least).

--- End quote ---

it's true, many people used to spend their lives in a given community/tribe/city-state/etc. modern technology has made it easier to connect in some ways, but breaks down social bonds in others.

however, it goes much further than this. past societies had an overarching conception of life: ideas, values, purpose, and hierarchy in which everyone knew where they stood in relation to the grander scheme of things.

in Egypt, there were pharoahs, pyramids, hieroglyphs, and myths of the afterlife, all intended to enforce a hierarchy and purpose.
Ancient Rome had roads, aqueducts, theaters, baths, coliseums, and (at first) a republican form of government, all in pursuit of the Good Life.
Medieval Europe had cathedrals, universities, a unified Church, and a culture of chivalry, which sought to glorify the Christian religion by all means and get people to Heaven.
Classical China was a stable agricultural empire, governed by scholar-bureaucrats who passed examinations on Confucian social philosophy, for the purpose of maintaining a stable and harmonious society through enlightened leadership and moral example.

I could keep going, but you get the point. the typical person in these societies was given a place and purpose in an idea larger than themselves, which could be relied upon. in modern industrial society, what is our larger idea? there's free trade and pursuit of wealth, hedonistic pleasure seeking, and there's enlightenment-era political philosophy encompassing democracy and the Constitution. Those count for something, but is it enough?

There's a relative lack of stable purpose and ideals in modern life, which leads to many people finding themselves adrift, unsure of who they're supposed to be or what they're supposed to do. This leads to anomie, as well as attraction to extreme ideologies and cults, which have flourished in recent history. I believe many people experience a sense of drift and anomie in modern life, often without knowing what it is. I think that directly relates to this thread.

PrincessNadia78:
Thereís actually a lot I want to say about this, but I have a lot going on right now. I will say that I needed this post, it makes me feel less alone. And I understand what you are going through Boo, because Iím feeling the exact same way. 

Boo the Gentleman Caller:

--- Quote ---There's a relative lack of stable purpose and ideals in modern life, which leads to many people finding themselves adrift, unsure of who they're supposed to be or what they're supposed to do. This leads to anomie, as well as attraction to extreme ideologies and cults, which have flourished in recent history. I believe many people experience a sense of drift and anomie in modern life, often without knowing what it is. I think that directly relates to this thread.
--- End quote ---

This is a really good, logical summation, and it's one of the answers I've suspected: that the freedom of choice created in more modern societal constructs has a counter effect as loss of role in society. Not saying that choice is a bad thing, far the contrary, but I totally get this point.

There's a part of me -- a very small, private part -- that seriously wants to just go buy some land and become a self-sustaining farmer. Grow some crops, have a handful of livestock, etc. I'd be self-reliant and stop worrying about the pursuit of material self. I think there's something to know your place (or lack thereof) and work with your hands. Arduous labor is good for the soul, especially when it generates survival for the self. Granted, this is idealistic; imagine how hard that lifestyle is! How lonely and cold it can be! So I recognize that as having read too much of The Hobbit and not enough John Steinback. :D

This feeling is what turned me down the path of philosophy. I read thousands of pages from existentialists, hoping to find some answers. Of course, there were none, and if nothing else, some of them pushed me in the opposite direction (I'm looking at you, Soren Kierkegaard!).

Regardless, the topic really does fascinate me. I recognize my own feelings and how false they often are, but this aspect of our society is completely fascinating to me. Obviously, not everyone suffers from this same 'loneliness,' but it's very widespread in modern society.

xcalibur:
I've delved into philosophy, as well as history, religion, science, and other topics seeking answers. While I learned alot, no one seems to have it all figured out.

I don't mean to romanticize past societies, either. Strict hierarchies and circumscribed roles can be confining and oppressive, not just for the peasants but also those higher up (eg Marle chafing against her royal obligations). There are pros and cons to both freedom and duty. Duty can be repressive, but it also provides a reliable structure. Freedom gives you choice and agency, but it can also create a sense of drift and aimlessness.

chrono.source:
Great topic to touch upon because its effect on everyone in today's society is paramount.
It is ironic that without it we are disconnected from everyone, and with it, everyone is disconnected from everyone else.

Although like most I have a facebook account, I seldom use it outside of my work hours. Once I am home, my phone is typically not on me. I don't need it usually. One thing I found that helped limit my exposure to mind-numbing social media and overuse of devices was not having data on my phone; I am only connected in wifi areas. You wouldn't believe how freeing it is (and saves a lot on my phone bill). I'm not going to lie there are sometimes that is difficult to do without (like playing Pokemon Go, or GPS) but I get by.

One thing that is great about this age of technology is you CAN communicate and stay in touch with people that you may have since lost touch with; this can in turn, strengthen your network ten fold of what it may have been, had the technology not been there.

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