In his book Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, Sebastian Junger writes,
“human beings need three basic things in order to be content: they need to feel competent at what they do; they need to feel authentic in their lives; and they need to feel connected to others. These values are considered “intrinsic” to human happiness and far outweigh “extrinsic” values such as beauty, money and status.”
We’re living in a time of connection crisis and the signs of social isolation are everywhere. Concert-goers watch shows from their blue light devices rather than feel the energy of the collective audience. Couples in restaurants scroll through Instagram rather than maintain conversation with their mates. Kids are permitted to plug into iPads at social gatherings, never to interact with anyone new.
Today, only half of Americans have meaningful in-person social interactions such as having an extended conversation with a friend or spending quality time with family on a daily basis. Gen Z (ages 18–22) is reportedly the loneliest generation — even worse than the elderly.
And intuitively, we all know why. It’s technology. It’s the Internet. It’s the phantom closeness we feel with those we’re connected to online and the jarring FOMO we experience when we realize we’re not actually close.