Does the concept of society still exist?

This post appeared on on 27 March 2012.

When we talk about society – a group of people who share things in common: land, culture, political system and authority – we talk about relationships. Does the concept of society still exist? Is it still valid?

In, today’s world, a bunch of individuals strive for their own survival; alone. Many lonely individuals form a crowd with no connections on the streets of big cities. People travel long distances without noticing the person next to them. Neighbors live on the same floor and the same building without ever talking to each other. Children are taught to play alone leaving the socialization problem to the schools.

Adding to this, the system has it that emptiness is filled with consumerism which makes me wonder: Would we really need ALL these video games if there was a place where we could play with friends? Would we really need ALL these cooking books if we asked our mother, grandmother or whomever? Would people really need ALL these plastic surgeries if they felt good about themselves? Etc. Does everything we do REALLY need to turn into a competition?

On the one hand, it is true that whatever the human brain has produced is on the internet and that we have contacts online from all over the world, but on the other, the precious base of any relationship is missing: human warmth. Relationships exist because we attempt to get closer to each other: we touch, we handshake, we kiss, we hug etc…

Moreover, media has a thing for those who have cultivated their individualism to become rich and famous on their own. It also promotes, on behalf of big corporations, those individuals’ lifestyle and makes people want to buy the things they use or have. Look at the red carpet for example: The rich and famous have become products that wear products and talk about products luring “fans” to buy them. Instead of looking at fashion shows from the ideas perspective, we look at it as a dictated trend. What’s with the paid-for “Editor’s Pick” in magazines? With that said, is there anyone left with an actual free opinion, free choice and advice based on real experience or tests? Are we only free to make an influenced choice? Aren’t citizens having less and less relationships with each other from fear of losing their individualism?

I think that there is a big difference between keeping good and healthy relations and unwanted intrusion. It’s not just about the ones we have with the people we live and work with but also about the ones we have outside these circles. The naturally curious side of humans has been somehow inhibited. People have learned to keep a blank face and go about their everyday routines. Laws do punish undesirable behavior, but still, altruistic behavior is optional. When an old lady falls on the sidewalk, the person who steals her purse is most probably going to be punished and the person who helps might face legal issues (depends on the country) while nothing happens to the person who sees everything and keeps walking or stands there and gruesomely watch or takes a picture/video with his/her smartphone… bystander effect? Morbid individualism at its best!

The controversy is that when faced with blunt failure, people start looking for relationships that can help them rebound. The egoism is driven by fear and jealousy instead of greed this time. That fear to be left alone down the ladder makes people do all kind of strange things rendering the quality of their relationships poor. The desperate attitude is never well perceived. Jealousy and the never ending wish to possess more things than others turn people into relationship destroyers because along the way, they have stepped on their victim’s feet.

Unfortunately, things do not work this way. Relationships take time to build and they need to be nurtured. They take more time and effort to repair when damaged. But they are important because they are glue for our survival. A society is not built overnight and it can’t be taken for granted. Such subject will never make a news headline; yet its consequences are broadcasted all over the news.

Maybe it’s time to raise an eyebrow or two.

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