Everyone is looking for a place to belong. Now more than ever with the advent of mega cities and the progression of the digital age. We are more connected than we are divided. Yet so many of us feel alone living isolated from the group unable to make meaningful connection. What’s even more troubling is that we don’t understand the reason why.
You’ll probably be amazed that the industrial revolution might be the cause. Before the advent of industrialised economies the truth of the matter is that most humans lived in pastoral communities living in something near to subsistence farming. We like to think that many of us were living in large manor houses with our own libraries. This was simply not the case for large swathes of the population.
Prior to the industrial revolution most of us were uneducated illiterate peasants who were depended on family bonds and tribal connections to ensure our survival. The advent of the industrial revolution and global land appropriation soon came to challenge the way that humans had been living together for millennia. People moved out of rural communities into cities in order to turn their hand to the machine based work of the steam age. Mass migration and land enclosure debased family dependency and dispersed communities. Many of us lost our connection to the land from which we came, the landscapes we occupied or even the seasons that surrounded us.
It was here in the 19th century that modern education came to the fore. Education was initiated as a form of social training that was designed to prepare children for the workforce and productivity in a highly mechanised and systemised work of the factory. The need for child workers and their education, corroded and removed children from their families, and diminished tribal influence. Education and the subsequent introduction to the work place offered an individual independence that many had never experienced before. Individual financial success paved the way out of poverty and minimized the need to maintain family ties and lead the way towards individualism. Financial success alone has been regarded the pinnacle of human existence and as humans misguided by a capitalistic agenda we have come to believe that our value is intrinsically related our financial productivity. Which is for the most part the biggest lie ever told.
It’s time to reconnect. The truth is that it is almost impossible to survive without some kind of human connection. In modern society, deep inter-human connections and long standing relationships are the key signifier of a long life beyond anything else. It turns out finding a tribe is essential to living a fulfilling and good life. Love really is the answer. This is why we don’t read out our bank statements at funerals.