Is our society broken?

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haltz
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Re: Is our society broken?

Post by haltz »

mikechamp wrote:
December 13 21, 10:50 am
I just wanted to put on the record that I don't know who David Foster Wallace is. It is merely coincidence that I share his opinion/theory.

However, as I live, I'm more and more of the belief that there isn't a truly original thought. Given the number of people in the world, someone out there has probably had the same or very similar thought as I have/had.
He's just some guy who banged 33anda3rd's college girlfriend.

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mikechamp
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Re: Is our society broken?

Post by mikechamp »

haltz wrote:
December 13 21, 1:45 pm
mikechamp wrote:
December 13 21, 10:50 am
I just wanted to put on the record that I don't know who David Foster Wallace is. It is merely coincidence that I share his opinion/theory.

However, as I live, I'm more and more of the belief that there isn't a truly original thought. Given the number of people in the world, someone out there has probably had the same or very similar thought as I have/had.
He's just some guy who banged 33anda3rd's college girlfriend.
Mmmm... that's hot.

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IMADreamer
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Re: Is our society broken?

Post by IMADreamer »

haltz wrote:
December 13 21, 1:45 pm
mikechamp wrote:
December 13 21, 10:50 am
I just wanted to put on the record that I don't know who David Foster Wallace is. It is merely coincidence that I share his opinion/theory.

However, as I live, I'm more and more of the belief that there isn't a truly original thought. Given the number of people in the world, someone out there has probably had the same or very similar thought as I have/had.
He's just some guy who banged 33anda3rd's college girlfriend.
Yeah, but who hasn't?

AW, you may be right. I hope you are right. It just seems like I encounter it more, but it could be that I have that idea in my head and so maybe I'm just noticing it more. I do think we are in a weird place. Everyone I know is stressed to the max and ready to quit their job. There is this weird tension when you go out about masks. We still wear ours, but we often are ridiculed for it. Sometimes it may be someone we know kind of joking, but sometimes it is someone just being an [expletive]. I have also have had people stick their nose in my business publicly more than every before. We were at dinner with friends the other day, the place was packed. I ordered a steak and when asked how I wanted it I said "medium well" the guy in the next table goes "get it rare you [expletive]!" Like WTF?

I could just be where I am, but things seem weird out there. We find ourselves going out less and less into the public.

AWvsCBsteeeerike3
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Re: Is our society broken?

Post by AWvsCBsteeeerike3 »

IMADreamer wrote:
December 13 21, 8:31 pm
haltz wrote:
December 13 21, 1:45 pm
mikechamp wrote:
December 13 21, 10:50 am
I just wanted to put on the record that I don't know who David Foster Wallace is. It is merely coincidence that I share his opinion/theory.

However, as I live, I'm more and more of the belief that there isn't a truly original thought. Given the number of people in the world, someone out there has probably had the same or very similar thought as I have/had.
He's just some guy who banged 33anda3rd's college girlfriend.
Yeah, but who hasn't?

AW, you may be right. I hope you are right. It just seems like I encounter it more, but it could be that I have that idea in my head and so maybe I'm just noticing it more. I do think we are in a weird place. Everyone I know is stressed to the max and ready to quit their job. There is this weird tension when you go out about masks. We still wear ours, but we often are ridiculed for it. Sometimes it may be someone we know kind of joking, but sometimes it is someone just being an [expletive]. I have also have had people stick their nose in my business publicly more than every before. We were at dinner with friends the other day, the place was packed. I ordered a steak and when asked how I wanted it I said "medium well" the guy in the next table goes "get it rare you [expletive]!" Like WTF?

I could just be where I am, but things seem weird out there. We find ourselves going out less and less into the public.
Yeah, that's really weird. Having worked at a steakhouse for a short while, I can honestly say I've never seen it. Often times servers would gently recommend less done than well done or to try a different cut than filet if the desire was for a well done steak, but to have someone at a different table comment on medium well is quite odd and not something that should be tolerated by the proprietor but that's probably a case by case basis and heavily dependent on extenuating factors.

Certainly I think society is more willing to be ass holeish in public than before, and to an extent its tolerated, I just think that it's still a rather small amount of people that do it, and when they do, it's often broadcast to the world via twitter and it will certainly stick out.

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heyzeus
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Re: Is our society broken?

Post by heyzeus »

David Foster Wallace was a guy who really loved lobster, and wrote a whole book about it.

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G. Keenan
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Re: Is our society broken?

Post by G. Keenan »

A couple of thoughts:

We have had a very stressful past few years on many fronts and I think many don't realize how long we have been living in a mental "fight or flight" situation. People's nerves are frazzled. This pent up anxiety is going to work its way out eventually.

Also, we underestimate at our peril the importance of how we talk to each other. It's easy for the far right and far left to dunk on "civility" as a bourgeois affectation but it matters. Our ability to discuss issues of the day in the meta public conversation is limited by the formats in which the discussions occur. Having these discussions on social media and cable news forces them to become inherently adversarial. Polite, nuanced discussions underpinned by mutual self-respect does not drive clicks or sell ads. Anger, fear, resentment, and schadenfreude do. If you met a stranger in a bar and struck up a conversation about politics it's pretty unlikely to immediately devolve into shouting and shaming, but that is what it immediately becomes on social media because you aren't discoursing with a real person. You are discoursing with a flattened symbol of the "other" that is being made a stand in for "everything that is wrong with society." It is impossible to have empathy for other people and other perspectives in this format.

Repeating the mantra that we're more divided than ever becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The fact is that we have more in common with our political opposites than we do differences, but the differences are all that we focus on. The media doesn't make money by emphasizing commonalities. Nor does it make money telling us about the good news out there, and there is plenty of it. It makes money by keeping us addicted to doom scrolling. Just compare the tenor of news coverage in any for-profit enterprise to the tenor of coverage from non-profit news like NPR or ProPublica.

The more that the kind of conversations we used to have face-to-face become digitized and commodified the worse it is going to get.

AWvsCBsteeeerike3
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Re: Is our society broken?

Post by AWvsCBsteeeerike3 »

I'd also add, it sure seems like, eh, a lot of social media and perhaps MSM to an extent are geared at generating emotions. The easiest emotions to generate being fear, anxiety, and anger. Or, perhaps better said, the most profitable emotions to generate being fear, anxiety, and anger.

Certainly some things are worthy of generating those emotions. But, there's also a lot of nuance that typically alleviates those things too. The world is a better place when people understand the nuance, something not easily conveyed in todays world.

ETA: Well said, GK.

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mikechamp
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Re: Is our society broken?

Post by mikechamp »

I think attention spans play into this as well. In order to explore/discuss the nuance, one must have the requisite attention span. If all one can tolerate is 3-5 minutes of "some topic" before getting bored with it, then it's hard to uncover the nuance.

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Re: Is our society broken?

Post by Socnorb11 »

G. Keenan wrote:
December 14 21, 10:26 am

The more that the kind of conversations we used to have face-to-face become digitized and commodified the worse it is going to get.
Your entire post was excellent, but I think this is the crux of it.

Amazon delivers everything that we want to our front door. My wife and I were discussing yesterday how people can't even be bothered to go to the grocery store now. Your groceries are delivered right to your kitchen.

When we actually have to go out to deliver grain (because Amazon can't do that for us) or pick up a Subway sandwich, we're pissed that somebody didn't do it for us, because that's what we're used to. We've become an entitled society. As Keenan pointed out, we're used to yelling at people on Facebook, and we've begun just carrying that over into our day to day lives.

Is our society broken? For sure. We suck right now.

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ghostrunner
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Re: Is our society broken?

Post by ghostrunner »

I'm skeptical of looking at retail as representative of our social life. I shopped the old fashioned way for everything for many years, and I can't say I ever felt particularly connected to people while doing so. I honestly hate it and have lost all patience for local driving so to the extent it's gone, I appreciate it. When COVID first cranked up and we were all home I was going to the grocery at least 3 times a week (not counting small trips for 2 items or so) and I don't miss it. I still go to the grocery though I have started occasionally using the shopping service where you pick it up all collected, which is great. Some people can just crank up a conversation with strangers in those settings, but I've never been good at it.

I think social media has definitely cut into social activity but more in voluntary spaces. Church, interest groups, etc... My son and his age group just don't meet up with each other they way I did as a teen. They text and that's the world as they know it. The temptation is to view that as sad and I do a bit, but mostly I think it's just different. For some people it may even be a better way to operate and I figure his generation will be better adjusted to it than boomers who are late adopters. My impression is that my son is aware of the way in which online life limits him and his perspective, and this isn't something some people my age and especially those older are as cognizant of. They see it as a way to limit their experience and focus on their interests rather than expand them. This is just my impression, so I could be wrong.

I do think it's good for people to socialize face to face generally, and there's probably a price to pay for losing that. I'm optimistic it improves among the current and later generations.

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