It’s hard to tackle this subject without sounding too gloomy. Truth is that most of us don’t understand the dynamics that have lead us here, and thus stand solidly on a tile of confusion. This is probably the case with me, but this short phrase, this somewhat simple concept, is beginning to process in my mind.
Illness of Despair
Maybe it’s best not to confuse this with nihilism or with cynicism per say, but more to outline a tendency at a macro scale. In other words, populations, people who've lost meaning and thus can’t seem to find themselves anymore.
We could sit here and blame all sorts of things, and truthfully there’s a good chance we will be correct in plenty of the causes for our social downtrend. But, they seem to be working in coordination, even though such idea is nonsensical.
There’s been countless books written about the human struggle, the need for that fight and how it fuels us with meaning. It's not unreasonable to talk about a spectrum of despair that is not only normal, but possibly needed. However, it seems like the balance is being broken, but in a way nobody could have predicted.
You see, these are new problems, so new that we’ve yet to identify them as such. The cost is steep and our social cohesion is suffering. We’ve become the most connected yet apathetic civilization in history. We may have the ability to talk to someone on the other side of the planet, but lack the strong foundation for caring enough about our communities and neighbors.
The fact that plenty of people do all their socializing online and feel completely fine with never interacting face to face, is probably a sign of the path we are taking. The media, the news, the politicians have maybe subconsciously identified this trend and have learnt to exploit our disconnectivity, have learnt to exacerbate our differences to leverage support, financial or political, or both.
The concept of happiness may be personal, and it also may be a Utopian idea, but the pursuit is truly what matters. It’s probably there, in that quest, in the loss of the north, that we’ve fallen into these destructive behaviors.
An elderly couple committing suicide because their medical bills are eating them up, and they do not want to be a burden for their family sounds like fictional story, but yet it’s real report in an online publication.
The illnesses of despair, they are not physical, at least not initially, but they end up manifesting in the most tragic of ways.