The Killer Ideology of the American Loner

Comments

1
Marilyn Monroe said it best "If I have to be by myself, I'd rather be alone."

Also, having high-maintenance annoying people in your life on a daily basis (no matter how much you 'love' them) is probably just as unhealthy as loneliness.
2
Must really suck to be fat and alone.
3

This is a catch 22 for liberals: they don't like lack of community, but in liberal areas there is the LEAST amount of community. Go to any liberal city, like NYC, LA, or, especially, Seattle, and no one wants to socialize with anyone and people are unfriendly and community is almost non-existent.

Go to any conservative or mixed city, like Dallas, Colorado Springs, etc and people are open, friendly and really have community.

Problem is, when you have more government doing what community used to do, community dies. Who needs to know their neighbors when you have a government that can do things for you? Who needs to talk to the babysitter when you have a state funded daycare? Who needs to volunteer to feed the homeless when the government taxes people to do it?

There is a link between big government and lack of community, and only the willfully blind don't see it.

And Seattle is the loneliest city in America: everyone is too busy being a bunch of hipsters to meet people and folks walk around with blank, emotionless expressions everywhere they go. God, I can't wait to get out of this city.
4
3: it will be lonely without you, but probably not life-threatening.

when are you leaving? will you leave Slog too? can you take @1 & 2 with you?

5
@3 - Well as someone who used to live in Seattle and now lives in Utah, let me be the first to say you are completely full of shit.
6
This is another Lindy West's, "Obesity isn't really bad for you" rants. See thin loners are more at health risks....
7
even more detrimental, possibly, than our nation's favorite bogeyman, obesity


Oh. Come on Lindy. Yes. Humans are social creatures and social interaction is in fact a biological need. But for fuck sake can you for once favor proven settled science over your very dull ax.

There is literally no credible scientific or medical evidence presented in that study (or any study) for this absurd left-field assertion that "loneliness" is more medically related morbidity/mortality/disease than obesity (Unless they're supposing that living alone makes you more vulnerable to slow first responder intervention).

I'm fat. You're fat. We're pretty much ALL fat now in the US. I don't hate myself. Nobody should hate them selves for being fat.

BUT. We're officially the majority in this country. And growing. (Pun) YAY US! (I guess) And this fact of accelerating and expensive early medical interventions is not, in the aggregate, a healthy state of being for an entire society. Maybe you think that eight year old kids getting Type II diabetes and hypertension is AWESOME. But I doubt it.

But, what ever. You're starting to sound like a climate change denier. An Obesity Climate denier.
8
Any kind of social failure is considered to be a failing of the individual, and I kind of don't see how else to approach it.

Humans are social animals, but our culture is very complex. That means people are going to be maladjusted, some are going to be difficult to be around (for reasons ranging to social awkwardness to overt antagonism), and the vast majority are simply going to have a hard time finding like-minded people they can personally get along with, especially past childhood. So what's the public health solution for loneliness? I seriously don't see what solution can be found.

@6,

Taking a break from stalking Amanda Knox?
9
@8 Now in your fetid imagination, "I am stalking Amanda Knox"?!?!?!? Before, according to you, I was super jealous of Amanda Knox and her peer groups alleged hyper sexuality, and sensual phermones!???!?!?

I didn't realize that I can't post about other stuff, much like I am critical of Lindy West's fat shaming whines, because I see them as more as excuses...

I also can post about backcountry skiing and rock climbing, I am not an one topic individual.
10
@3 I have lots of friends and make new ones regularly. Lots of people in Seattle do. Ever considered that the problem might not be everyone else? FWIW, a new friend who moved up from Dallas last year said it took him a bit longer to make friends up here, but it was worth it to him to live in a nice, liberal city on the rise.
11
@8 Did you read Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut?

Vonnegut had an idea that, like a social security number, everybody is born with another set of family names that automatically makes you related to a larger extended family.

Each additional name has a set of hierarchical social obligations that come with it. Your own biological family being the most socially and legally responsible for your welfare but another set of obligations is carried forth to the other "families." Like the permissions of a networked computer file directory. So nobody is lonely. Everybody is related.
12
@3 - I disagree with your assertion that "gov't kills community". Putting on my anthropologist hat, the 'glue of culture', essentially, of community, is gifting. Aka "gift economy". Giving gifts amongst people creates asymmetrical bonds that get reinforced over time.

MONEY, however, (aka "exchange economy") creates symmetrical bonds, which are weak, not voluntarily reinforced, and don't form lasting relationships. So it's not so much some gov't power bogeyman, it's the widespread existence of "I pay you" relationships that weaken culture.

In what situations do people give each other gifts? When there is an identification with a particular community. Large parts of the South have religion enforcing norms and opinions, and groups of people thinking alike leads to group identification and intra-group gifting.

More secular places don't have that as much. Which has both pluses and minuses. On the plus side, non-religious groups are more tolerant and less likely to foment group hatred towards "out group" people. Large cities, with so many different "anonymous" people also tend towards anomie, since ones cultural background is relevant in forming community groups (although not essential).

There are plenty of tight communities in Seattle, you just don't see them because you're not part of them. I'm part of one, and it's fantastic (and also non-religious). It's what I was always told neighborhoods would be like coming to America. Warm, supportive, and with really great parties.
13
@11 - That concept in Slapstick was brilliant. And it's somewhat true, when you consider people talking about and taking "chosen families" these days. Or communities organized around personal interests (hobbies, etc.), or predilections.

And many people these days have "other names" that they are given, or take, that identify them with their various communities - gang names, playa names, confirmation names, online identities & many more.
14
I don't like to be around people that much and you can't make me like it.
15
I'm starting to hallucinate Tony Robins giant head on nearly all Ted Talks, with the exception of Rodney Mullen.
16
@11,

Well you could make an argument that we are already related.

And, no, I haven't read that one. I did find his concept of balancing everyone out (in Sirens of Titan) so no one has any sort of advantage pretty amusing though. That might also be something of a solution to loneliness since there wouldn't be much/any reason to immediately dismiss someone as not being "good enough" to be your friend.
17
Hell is other people. Just because we like being alone doesn't make us lonely.
18
Being alone and being lonely are two different states.

The preview image of the Ted talk makes me want to set fire to everyone. It breathes schmaltzy pseudo-intellectual pablum from every pixel.
19
@18: It breathes schmaltzy pseudo-intellectual pablum from every pixel.

Actually, John Cacioppo is more the well-respected, serious, nerdy, academic, scientist type. (He and I shared the same faculty adviser, although at different times and different institutions.)
20
Time to panic and send asocials to Gitmo!
21
I didn't fully appreciate the effects of the atomized individual until I was doing doorbelling in the suburbs of Tacoma for an election. I couldn't help but see, in the huge, empty houses that were opened to me, a lot of pain. Nobody knew anybody or anything -- a stranger was met with immediate suspicion, a neighbor's opinion was about as alien and irrelevant as the weather on Mars. It was then that I resolved to stay in Seattle indefinitely. I never want a big house in the suburbs; the thought of bouncing between house, car, work, car, house, ad infinitum, leaves me terrified. If I had a million dollars to spend on an abode, I'd probably just buy up my apartment building and replace the carpet. The thought of owning a house in some place like Renton or Shoreline is an actual agony. I know that's a matter of taste, and as a natural misanthrope, I appreciate having space to myself, but... room upon room to store... stuff? Having to get in a car and drive for the least occasion? Never!
22
@11: i just moved here and i find it to be friendlier than the sf bay area, my native land. people here give you the benefit of the doubt, they are more open, more eager to spend time with you. but maybe it's just me. in any case, i don't get the "seattle freeze" like so many warn me about. my main problem here is my own insecurities and sadness. and i brought that with me from san francisco. dumping it asap, too.
23
people in general are becoming MORE lonely and disconnected in our cities [and everywhere else]. Obviously "more city=more better" isn't the answer. We need to decentralize govt and pull the plug on mega corporations; take it back to the lifestyle where you were were born into a large tribal family state [150 people] and basically stayed there your whole life. At the same time socially engineering a global nature cult that will bend societies will towards re-wilding the sprawl-burbs and building your super dense megacities.
24
@19- "John Cacioppo is more the well-respected, serious, nerdy, academic, scientist type."

Then why is he doing a Ted Talk?