Modernity as an idea has faded over the past few decades as the depth of misery of modern people has become clear. In the first world, people are not reproducing enough; they act as if they are bothered by a persistent ailment or psychological dysfunction; self-destructive behavior is at an apex.
People wondering why have taken a look at the loneliness epidemic stretching across the West:
Modern life is making us lonelier, and recent research indicates that this may be the next biggest public health issue on par with obesity and substance abuse. A recent review of studies indicates that loneliness increases mortality risk by 26%.
…So why are we getting lonelier? Changes in modern society are considered to be the cause. We live in nuclear family units, often living large distances away from our extended family and friends, and our growing reliance on social technology rather than face to face interaction is thought to be making us feel more isolated. It means we feel less connected to others and our relationships are becoming more superficial and less rewarding.
…Another myth is that loneliness is typically associated with being alone, but it also effects people when they are surrounded by others and well-connected socially. This is because loneliness is about the quality rather than the quantity of relationships that we have, so a person may have a lot of friends but still find that their needs for social contact are not met.
Most of us on the Right would point to atomization as the cause of this loneliness. People have no connections outside themselves, as they once did, to others united in the purpose of civilization itself.
Once, there were cultural activities, religious centers, cuisine, arts, and language arts specific to a culture. People had a sense of belonging and a chance to meet other people like them. The caste system accelerated this by giving them a social group of people with similar abilities and attitudes.
Now, there is just a popularity contest and endless jobs at which we do unimportant things to make other people look good, passing money around as if somehow that made it worthwhile, despite the lessening of its buying power over the past fifty years. Every public space is a business, and there are so many political correctness traps that people do not communicate.
But there is another angle. Democracy — which divides us all into separate, self-interested “economic men” and “last men” — also increases loneliness by severing the social connections that we need to meet others who are compatible with us:
The present increase of loneliness in American culture was predicted by the 19th-century social scientist Alexis de Tocqueville in his magisterial work, Democracy in America. Comparing some of the fundamental differences characterizing the social conditions of aristocratic and democratic societies, Tocqueville zoned in on what is perhaps the most illuminating distinction:
Aristocracy links everybody, from peasant to king, in one long chain. Democracy breaks the chainâ€¦. Each man is thereby thrown back on himself alone, and there is a danger that he may be shut up in the solitude of his own heart.
According to Tocquevilleâ€™s observation, the shift from aristocratic to democratic conditions is not merely a change of political forms. Democracy produces a set of psychological and even imaginative changes that cause democratic citizens to see themselves in a new way. The novel manner thus described is one in which citizens gradually come to view themselves as separated and cut off. The displacement from nature, family, place, and intergenerational bonds that once held citizens together is what gives rise to a democratic society.
In an aristocratic society, we are unified toward a purpose of having civilization in a way that overlooks our differences because we are collaborating, but simultaneously, creates a social hierarchy of caste and rank where we find people at our level and are able to socialize with them instead of constantly striving to increase our status at the expense of someone else.
Many blame capitalism, but this pervasive division of civilization by democracy creates a vast distrust among people because we are all trying to get ahead of others and prove how cool we are by earning money at our jobs, popularity points in our social group, and repeat the ideas that make others happy for political success.
Not surprisingly, loneliness is epidemic in America as it in the rest of the West:
In an essay in the Harvard Business Review, former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy writes of his deep concern over the emerging but too often unnoticed health epidemic in the United States: loneliness. According to Murthy:
â€¦rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s. Today, over 40% of adults in America report feeling lonely, and research suggests that the real number may well be higher. Additionally, the number of people who report having a close confidante in their lives has been declining over the past few decades. In the workplace, many employeesâ€”and half of CEOsâ€”report feeling lonely in their roles.
We can either have the individual as the highest unit of our society, as egalitarianism desires, or have a higher purpose through civilization, culture, faith, heritage, customs, and hierarchy. In our quest to finally be equal and achieve Utopia, we have stripped away these forms of social order, leaving only the individual, which as it turns out makes us terminally isolated and miserable.