For many years now I have been speaking to anyone who would listen that the internet with all of its “fake relationships” is creating a world full of unconnected, isolated and lonely people who have lost the art of live, in person communication.
I had a discussion about this issue with my Godson who is now 26 years old. He is a master of texting, able to do so quicker than I can touch type, using all the abbreviations that most texting experts use. When I raised my concern of the lack of communication that one is really having with this form of electronic connection while also pointing out the false friendships one has with their so-called Facebook friends, he surprised me by agreeing with my hypothesis. He agreed that if one is to have a meaningful conversation with someone, face-to-face is the way to do it, to make sure the true meaning comes through. He went on to say that he can’t understand why people put up such meaningless posts on their Facebook pages, though he admitted that he does keep up with some of his family that live far away through Facebook.
The reason that this is important is that this social norm for online communication has created a society of individuals that feel cut off from real human interaction “eye-to-eye – soul-to-soul” as I like to express it.
The research that has been done demonstrates that addiction becomes more pervasive when prisoners of the drug war are isolated first in jail for their abuse of drugs and later when let out into society, without the ability to get a job and feel fulfilled and productive.
Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe nearly 15 years ago with 1% of the population addicted to heroin. The problem got worse when they took the approach of fighting “a war on drugs,” so they decided to do something different. They decriminalized all drugs, spending all the money they once used to arrest and jail addicts on reconnecting them to their own feelings and to the wider society finding them subsidized housing and subsidized jobs so they would have a purpose.
The results as reported by the British Journal of Criminology found that injecting drug use was down 50%.
The point is that human beings need to connect with one another being social animals like the ants and bees. As such everyone needs to feel connected with other humans, to feel loved and respected and to be able to give love and respect to others. When that is missing, one drowns out one’s misery with addictive behavior. It can be any sort of addiction including eating disorders.
As a society we have to learn how to reintegrate addicts into our society and place a greater emphasis on real “in person” social interaction to help heal our societies from the devastation of addiction.
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