There is a massive difference between solidarity and connection and connectedness. Have good relations and strong bonds does not require solidarity. And the nuclear family is loneliness? I'm confused here. There must be some zeitgeist of papers or thinking I'm missing. While the nuclear family can be repressive and oppressive at times, and even lonely if the family has very bad dynamics, it's largely not, especially when there are other families within shouting distance that form a community. I understand this sort of thing is not common today; fewer children, more people don't know their neighbors (and children were one of the primary means through which you'd know your neighbors), but identifying it as a source of loneliness seems insane to me. I've been a part of two fairly bad family dynamics (and fairly lonely at times within those families), and I've never been lonelier than I have in the 15 years since my divorce.

I think Haidt's zeroing in on the smartphone is missing the larger context of the Internet and its development, which coincided with and was heavily influenced by smartphones. I'm almost never on my smartphone, and *never* for social reasons. And yet, I'm still alone and lonely, and largely consume individual "content" on the Internet (youtube, netflix, substack, take your pick of ways to engage your brain and emotions while being totally alone). Those who lean left tend to blame or identify this with "late-stage capitalism" but the reality is that it's not capitalism; it's the rationalization of commercialism combined with the dissolution of structure and changing from capitalism to communism or socialism can't save us from that.

We don't need solidarity. We need to make connections with the people who are present, and for most of us, present means geographically local.

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Two ideas for increasing togetherness, one more serious than the other (I'll let each reader decide for themselves which is which):

-Tax internet advertising, with the goal of putting up a lot more paywalls. Social media and online porn are facts of life, but I think fewer people would be addicted to them if they were never free to use.

-Ban dogs. They're loud, they shed, too many walkers don't clean up after them, and too many millennials and zoomers use them as substitutes for human children, so banning them will have a pro-natal effect.

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I think AI and the rise of “personalized” services like Netflix are part of this trend.

The more that “content” can be targeted and curated to our individual preferences, the less of a “shared reality” that we can collectively enjoy.

I am not sure how we can solve this, may be something that I write about at Risk & Progress eventually.

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I have a recent article you might find interesting. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts; https://medium.com/@orangesurfboard1978/one-of-the-crowd-fbdd39c5a41a

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