Today, Nate is joined by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. Professor Haidt is one of the leaders in the understanding of human biases and predispositions, and how they affect cooperation, communication, and change-making.
My purpose in this essay is to survey (1) the emerging understanding of social cohesion and its importance, (2) what threatens it in the United States today, and (3) what might prevent a national crack-up.
One of the biggest current problems with our politics is that the political systems that emerged in the first part of the 20th century, and which dominated the long post-war boom, have now cracked apart, but new systems have not yet taken their place.
So let’s walk our way out of this pandemic. Walk our way to mental, emotional and physical health. Walk our way back to social
cohesion. Walk our way back to a functional society where anger and suspicion aren’t the normal ways we interact with each other.
Imagine a city block full of apartment buildings; if everyone living there retreats into their own little units, rarely speaking to one another, there’s no community identity, no shared sense of obligation and purpose. This isn’t just a mental exercise — one survey found that the less neighbors socialize with each other, the less politically engaged they tend to be.
The reality is that the technology of the day distances us from what matters.
We are much more into securing our future based on accumulation rather than on sharing.