How society is slowly but surely poisoning itself.

We evolved as social creatures, understanding that the type of society most well-suited for our survival was one where we all functioned as parts of a whole, instead of individual pieces. Saving a stranger from a fire disaster or a dangerous flood was just something you were expected to do, and while it was definitely commendable, it wasn’t particularly considered heroic.

However, as survival started becoming less of a concern to the human race, we began to drift apart. We started to only care about the survival of our own gene pool — our family.

But even that began falling apart when the modern age brought with it an individualistic societal mindset. We’re told we should look within to find ourselves and if that discovery leads us away from the group we were born into, our family, then so be it. Although this flies in the face of our evolutionary history, a good number of people actually found happiness by following this, finding good friends that could satisfy their social needs, just like their family had. Others though, fell into the negative feedback loop of loneliness — a product of our gregarious beginnings — which made it difficult for them to make friends, resulting in misery.

Then the internet and social media came. It kicked that individualistic notion up several notches, drastically cutting back the need for physical interactions. Though at first, it seemed like the perfect remedy for loneliness, since it brings the entire world together. That has, however, proven to not be the case at all. Because we, like most other animals that exist in groups, need the cues of body language and physical touch to really connect with other people. The internet version of communities and friendships only provide temporary satisfaction.

Social media has its benefits, but the increase of virtual interactions over physical ones in an already individualistic era where people are encouraged to move past their primary unit of socialization leaves us with nothing solid to hold on to. In this way, society is slowly but surely poisoning itself. We need to have close bonds with one another to survive. Due to the advances in medical treatments, our ailment as a society is not apparent in our collective physical health. It is, however, very evident in the mental health crisis sweeping through the world. Depression and anxiety have risen to fever pitch, and despite our best efforts, the numbers are still increasing alarmingly. The entire world is becoming more miserable.

In order to sidestep the imminent disaster hurtling towards us, we have no choice but to urgently move the focal point of social interactions from the internet back to our physical world. Unless we do this, our own intelligence could very well strangle us to death.

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