John Della Volpe, of the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, used a term that speaks not only to the youth of American society but to the whole population. He used the phrase, “This is a generation that feels besieged.” Mariner suggests it is an entire society that is besieged.

Consider the pressures that everyone faces every day. It is a haunting, unforgiving existential life. A person is not rich enough, does not live in the right neighborhood, is pressed to survive on insufficient income, lives a socially isolated life, involuntarily contributes to a growing split between haves and have-nots.

But where are the forces of unification? Where are unions, social clubs, charity clubs, hobby clubs, churches, guaranteed careers with bonding gestures like pensions, livable wages, and willingly provided health care? Where are local political parties that determine the definition of Americanism?

Unregulated plutocracy, capitalism, corporatism, and the impact of AI and ChatGPT erode a person’s psyche. Personal identity is erased like sandpaper cuts wood. Even the most stable careers have become shaky.

But the most important bond, when it is missing and exposes a person to feeling as though they are one person against the world, is family.

If a person’s family is not readily available or may be fractured and spread around the Earth, the person will have a conscious reaction when they visit a friend who may have several generations, aunts, uncles, and cousins who live within visiting distance. There will be a platform of associations which foster special feelings about the self and the ability to bond and share life.

The experienced reader of the blog will know that mariner blames everything from the invention of the wheel, the car, the highway and telecommunications as the evils that conflict with the evolutionary creature called Homo sapiens. True or not, the world is besieged today. The booster shot is called “family”.

Ancient Mariner

2 thoughts on “Family

  1. Very sad, but true. I could not agree with you more. I wonder if social media like Facebook serve, in some small way, to bring people together. Certainly a lot of new relationships are forged through this medium. Just yesterday, a woman in Europe wanted to be my “book buddy” because of a shared liking of a particular author. I’m not taking her up on the offer, but you see my point. I have created relationships with professional colleagues and distant family member through Facebook. Can these kinds of relationships replace the family? I don’t know, maybe it’s all we have now.

  2. An insightful point, Robert. Social media allows us to expand our personal associations. These associations are a benefit as long as they expand the human experience. Alas, to linger on a past conversation point, the Limbic system doesn’t know what’s going on. The compassion and depth of human-to-human bonding doesn’t occur (most of the time).

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