During the 1990s, the term “helicopter parent” emerged to refer to those who hover nearby, and with good intentions that seem covertly somewhat self-interested, and try to apply the “good” — safe, sociable, healthy, moral — to their children.
But that itself seems to have self-interest in it. The helicopter parent wants their child to succeed, and part of that is being universally acclaimed as a winner, which means having the “right” opinions and behaviors. Namely, sharing your toys, being altruistic, being kind to the less fortunate.
Among the wealth of America and Europe, such behaviors are recognized like a kind of code — a shibboleth even — shared by those who are successful or going to succeed by which they recognize one of their own.
Such coded status-seeking behavior defines our social hierarchy. We have made the personal — the social — public, and now use it as a way to select those who will be our comrades, friends, lovers, business associates and service providers. Yet few mention that if we’re all equal, such selectivity should not be necessary.
And the result?
In a recent comprehensive study by scientists at Duke University, researchers have observed a sharp decline in social connectedness over the past 20 years.
Remarkably, 25% of Americans have no meaningful social support at all – not a single person they can confide in. And over half of all Americans report having no close confidants or friends outside their immediate family. The situation today is much worse today than it was when similar data were gathered in 1985. (At that time, only 10% of Americans were completely alone).
How could this happen? It’s hundreds of little things. You can probably think of several off the top of your head: the longer work hours, the Internet, the ubiquitous iPod . . . and don’t forget all the time spent sitting in traffic.
According to Robert Putnam, sociologist and author of the influential book, Bowling Alone, for every 10 minutes added to commute time, there’s a roughly 10% decrease in social ties. – Psychology Today
When you force inclusion of everyone, you force us to (in public) accept everyone and thus potentially be victims of their defects; if in public we must claim everyone is equal, we cannot shun some as defective even if they are predatory, insane, cruel or parasitic.
Since we are forced by society at large to be inclusive of even those who will sabotage or destroy us, we withdraw — our public life becomes entirely false, and our private life becomes personal again in that we deal only with ourselves.
Our cities are full of people living in apartments, eating take-out, socializing anonymously on the internet and doing other lonely things like paying for sex and joining meaningless activities to have “social time,” as if it’s a vitamin you need in certain dosages and otherwise irrelevant.
Such behavior is an example of a logical fallacy of repeating what is done to you, to others; if someone takes your life away, make sure you take that life and live it only for yourself. You have done what they would do, but to your own advantage; in the meantime, life as a whole floats on by, unobserved by both parties.
In turn we project our solipsism onto our children, producing another broken generation:
Children are getting weaker as they spend more time indoors on the computer rather than outside according to a recently published study in Acta Paediatrica. 10-year-olds may be adept at moving their fingers over keyboards and using their thumbs to text, but they are not able to do push-ups and hang from bars in gym class as they used to, says one of the study’s authors, Gavin Sandercock, a children’s fitness expert of Essex University. However, the children in the study had the same body mass index (BMI) as those a decade earlier; this suggests that, in view of their strength declining, their bodies are likely to contain more fat than muscle.
These are depressing findings, but they do seem to be corroborated by the realities of modern life, of children not able to play outside because of fears of safety, injury and — should a child be hurt falling out of some homeowner’s tree or on their driveway — lawsuits. – Care2
Life is risk and life is pain, but helicopter parents feel they will “look bad” if some form of injury or pain occurs.
Similarly, our society is full of people who fear they will “look bad” if they do not tolerate every predator, parasite, criminal and pervert under the sky.
Because we indulge these false pretenses, we have made modern society a trustless, lifeless, oblivious plain in which we wander, too afraid to make connections of emotional import.