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RoseGoesToYale

Are we in a post-love society?

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RoseGoesToYale

By love, I don't just mean romantic and/or sexual, but all the different forms of it... platonic love, familial love, love of community, love of self, all of it. A line in the Hall & Oates song "Method of Modern Love" from 1984 says "I believe love will always be the same, ways and means are the parts subject to change."

 

But what if we really don't experience love the same way as in the past? What if love itself has changed? Friends no longer meet up for drinks and conversation every friday after work. Neighbors no longer help paint each other's houses... you call a company to do it, or do it by yourself. Parents delegate possible bonding and education moments to phones and tablets. Young people hook up instead of going steady. Nowadays community activity centers are just places for older people. The young people conduct most of their community online. People avenge the deaths of their "loved" ones in court for money, as if the dead person was nothing but a price tag. "Self-care" is often a veiled metaphor for self-isolation, i.e. separating yourself from loved ones because people are stressful (even when they're not) and buying things touted as "good for you".

 

It seems to me that love has been outsourced, made temporary and disposable, even though human love isn't supposed to operate that way. And the evidence is around us... youth suicide rates are up across countries. More and more elderly people are dying without proper care, because they no longer have family or friends to check in on them. People are becoming actively disengaged in jobs where the bosses don't care about the employees, the employees don't care about each other, and the work is increasingly taken over by technology.

 

Are we living in a post-love society?

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Sithgroundhog

No, I don't think so. People just assign that love elsewhere.

 

Most of the things you imply create a post-love society are a modernization of the times. We don't talk to our neighbors so much anymore because we can choose who we interact with online or on the phone and don't need to get our social interaction through those closest to us anymore. People hook up but they still date, but hook-up culture is a thing because we're moving past the puritanical rules of "how dare you kiss that man, now you have to wear a scarlet A so everyone knows you're a terrible whore who kisses men you aren't married to". 

 

Going to bars or restaurants with friends costs money. Everyone I know my age is broke as crap and would rather communicate via text throughout the day rather than pay a bunch of money for an hour or so of socialization. It's also considered a waste of time when we're so busy with work or dating or whatever else. Socialize through technology and you can multitask.

 

But people still love. We love our phones, our computers, our video games. We're still very much a pet owning society, and it's even a joke that people care more about animals than other humans. People still date and desire human companionship, and people are very engaged in social media where they communicate with friends and others around the world. People obsess over how many followers, watchers, "friends", or whatever else they have.

 

We're more free to engage those we want to engage, not restricted by those who are geographically near to us. Look at AVEN. Our community wouldn't be the same without the technology that could bring is together. I feel more sense of community from AVEN than on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or whatever other forms of social media you like. I can choose to not limit myself to the conservative people around me and focus on friends online across the world. 

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Guest

I hope so then we can around to building a society on mutual respect and dignity. 

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CBC

No. There's evidence all around of people loving each other. I think our society has changed a lot in some of the ways we connect and communicate, and the stresses we face, but I see no proof that we love less.

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)
42 minutes ago, RoseGoesToYale said:

Parents delegate possible bonding and education moments to phones and tablets.

I don't do any of the other stuff, but can comment on this. Sure some parents might do this, but I mean heck, 50 years ago a lot of parents would just leave their kids at home alone all the time, and even earlier, parents would be in workhouses or whatever all day. But there are also parents who do everything they can to spend time with their kids, and the love many parents feel is still the same even if they struggle to make that time.

 

 

A hundred+ years ago there wasn't actually much time for a lot of the things you mention in your post, not for the vast majority of the population anyway who were slaving away working all day or trying to survive :o

 

So I think people give and have that love when they can, in the ways they can, and it's always been that way. 

 

If I'm honest, it seems to me that people have more time and freedom for love now than ever before!!!

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Ennis

I think it's more a matter of community vs individualism.

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Visenya

I think we don't have much of a sense of community anymore, but I don't think we love less.

 

It's said that millennials are more lonely than other generations, but there are many reasons for that. We're not as religious and we don't attend church as much as previous generations, and we haven't come up with any/many alternatives for that. We tend to move to other cities to get a job or go to college, so we spend less time with our family (and we have smaller families now too) and we're forced to leave old friends behind and make new ones. Hookup culture can make things a bit difficult if you're more "prudish"/demisexual-ish. Not to mention not having the money, the time, and/or the energy to leave the house (we're more depressed too, so it makes things harder). And if we're broke and too busy, it's kind of hard to date, get into a relationship, marry, buy a house, and have kids. I'm in my late 20s and a lot of my friends/acquaintances are still single.

 

That said, there are advantages too.

 

We have the internet to help us stay in touch with others, talk to new people and expand our social circle. A lot of us (myself included) feel relieved for not being forced to attend church, especially if you're an atheist or agnostic. Moving to another town often means meeting people who have different lifestyles, careers and/or interests, which is great for anyone who's less conventional, especially LGBT folks (the internet is great for this too, if you can't move to another place). We also have many more hobbies and career choices than in the past, so we have other things to occupy our time with. Technology allows us to work remotely, which saves us time and money that we can spend with our family and friends, instead of putting up with annoying bosses and coworkers we don't love. We can also use technology to meet romantic partners. I've read somewhere that millennials are ruining the divorce industry, and this is partially because we can meet people who are more compatible to us via the internet. It's definitely better than getting married to the first person you held hands with in high school and ending up divorced in your 40s.

 

However, I think that we still have a problem with loneliness and depression. Personally, I miss talking to people face to face (in my native language too) and currently I have no opportunity to make new friends. Hobbies, exercise, plants and pets are great but they're no substitute for social connection. In this regard, I'm kind of jealous of religious folks because they'll always have a place they can go that gives them a sense of community and the opportunity to meet similar people. I think that clubs, weekly meetings, sites like meetup.com, groups for non-solitary hobbies, short courses, etc. would help a lot with that. My friend managed to find a lot of people to play board games with him, but this is a lot easier and more common in bigger cities, like Rio (which is frustrating as hell for me). Having a group that will always be there even if you stop attending, and that unites people with similar interests (bowling, videogames, books, music, politics, whatever) could be an some kind of modern alternative to church. Fixing the economy and not being broke and overworked would help a lot too, but that's kind of obvious. :P

 

So, basically, I don't think we love less or that our capacity to love has decreased. I think the way we socialize and communicate has changed and, as a result, a lot of us don't have the opportunity to have the social/love/community life we desire. But the love and/or the capacity to love is still there.

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natsume

Generation fortnite is definitely the end of the world.

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Zagadka

The kids'll be fine. Not worried about them at all. I mean, aside from the whole social, economic, environmental, and other situations they are inheriting. But they're fine.

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Gloomy

I wouldn't say the past was much better. Arranged marriages were common. People sent their kids outside until the streetlights came on (I've seen a few older people say their parents literally locked them outside during the day), had nannies raise their children, etc. Mentally ill people rotted in asylums. Neighbors accused each other of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials.

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Moon Spirit ☽

I think some progress has been made over the past few decades. It's been gradual but women, gay people and black people are for the most part treated better than they were at one time.

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frogboy
19 hours ago, RoseGoesToYale said:

By love, I don't just mean romantic and/or sexual, but all the different forms of it... platonic love, familial love, love of community, love of self, all of it. A line in the Hall & Oates song "Method of Modern Love" from 1984 says "I believe love will always be the same, ways and means are the parts subject to change."

 

But what if we really don't experience love the same way as in the past? What if love itself has changed? Friends no longer meet up for drinks and conversation every friday after work. Neighbors no longer help paint each other's houses... you call a company to do it, or do it by yourself. Parents delegate possible bonding and education moments to phones and tablets. Young people hook up instead of going steady. Nowadays community activity centers are just places for older people. The young people conduct most of their community online. People avenge the deaths of their "loved" ones in court for money, as if the dead person was nothing but a price tag. "Self-care" is often a veiled metaphor for self-isolation, i.e. separating yourself from loved ones because people are stressful (even when they're not) and buying things touted as "good for you".

 

It seems to me that love has been outsourced, made temporary and disposable, even though human love isn't supposed to operate that way. And the evidence is around us... youth suicide rates are up across countries. More and more elderly people are dying without proper care, because they no longer have family or friends to check in on them. People are becoming actively disengaged in jobs where the bosses don't care about the employees, the employees don't care about each other, and the work is increasingly taken over by technology.

 

Are we living in a post-love society?

it depends on the way you think about it. Society has shifted and changed the way many think of love. Platonic love have been shifted to the sidelines, self love has been manipulated for a cheap tactic to get people to spend money, familial love has been ignored, and romantic love has been, for lack of a better term, romanticized. Being kind is thought of as weak and punishable and being cold is celebrated.  if one does not look out for themself above all else, they will not make it out. these ideals have been ingrained in us. the egological mindset has become key to survival in modern society. love in our society has changed, not because we want it to, but because our oligopolistic and  kleptoplutocratic society deems it so. 
days like valentine's exist so that companies and sell cheap products for the heteronormative world
christmas, with its reputation for bringing family together, has been turned into a holiday that celebrated buying and buying and buying
halloweens religious background has been forgotten as society turns it into a candy filled party time. 

BUT ON THE OTHER HAND

i think you seem to romanticize the past. the types of love you talk about are not love itself, but ways of showing it. Thats whats changed, not the concept of love itself
its not that love doesnt exist anymore, just that out ways of showing it has been twisted into unrecognizable shapes. 

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natsume
16 hours ago, Gloomy said:

I wouldn't say the past was much better. Arranged marriages were common. People sent their kids outside until the streetlights came on (I've seen a few older people say their parents literally locked them outside during the day), had nannies raise their children, etc. Mentally ill people rotted in asylums. Neighbors accused each other of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials.

Now mentally ill people rot on the street as the federal government stopped funding long-term mental healthcare under Clinton and Gingrich and shuttered mental hospitals across the country.

Arranged marriages are still one of the most, if not most, common form of marriage.

Parents don't pay more attention to their kids than they used to.

Nannies are used just as often, unless people can't afford them which is common with record wealth divide and poverty.

While the Witch Trials aren't back (yet), McCarthyism is here, throwing people in concentration camps for being Muslim is done by the millions in China and Myanmar - to the complete indifference of the west.

 

Love has only ever looked nice in fiction, and it's easier to blend the past with fiction as we're taught to do it.

 

 

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Gloomy
2 hours ago, natsume said:

Now mentally ill people rot on the street as the federal government stopped funding long-term mental healthcare under Clinton and Gingrich and shuttered mental hospitals across the country.

Arranged marriages are still one of the most, if not most, common form of marriage.

Parents don't pay more attention to their kids than they used to.

Nannies are used just as often, unless people can't afford them which is common with record wealth divide and poverty.

While the Witch Trials aren't back (yet), McCarthyism is here, throwing people in concentration camps for being Muslim is done by the millions in China and Myanmar - to the complete indifference of the west.

Indeed, I just said the past wasn’t much better, not that everything is fine and dandy now. Although whether or not parents pay more attention to their kids now is debatable. In fact I’ve noticed one of the complaints people have about the younger generation is that their parents paid too much attention to them and were helicopter parents. Also I must say as a mentally ill person myself I’d definitely rather have my freedom than be locked up against my will in some state-run asylum.

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natsume

Well, I live in a state where there are over 100,000 severely mentally ill people that are homeless and will eventually die on the street (they die quickly, but they are actually a growing number). I'm not sure what mental illnesses you have but the mental illness I'm describing is schizophrenia - yes, they used to be in state hospitals, but when they shuttered no family took them in and most discharged died on the streets.   The media campaign was to make it seem like that by de-funding mental healthcare the mentally ill were being done a favor.  If you are schizophrenic, then you are on medication - a medication that a mentally ill person on the street will not receive.  I guess dying in the street is a form of liberty Americans treasure... As long as they don't have to see them.

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uhtred

There is a tendency as they get older for every generation to complain about how the world is falling apart.   "Back in my day we knew how to chip flint spear points....." 

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AceMissBehaving

I see a lot of love around. I think what people are lacking these days isn’t love, but time. At least in the US, low income folks tend to have two to three jobs, higher middle class folks are on the clock 24/7 due to always being reachable and connected. Everyone is constantly burned out, on the cusp of burn out, or broke. I think people have a lot of love for the people around them, just not always the ability to do anything about it.

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Whore*of*Mensa

I think that people do their best, as they always have. I'll pick one thing that I have experience of - parenting. 

On 11/18/2019 at 11:17 PM, RoseGoesToYale said:

Parents delegate possible bonding and education moments to phones and tablets.

Yes, sometimes, when they are busy working and keeping house - however, it doesn't mean they love their kids any less than other generations. Or, in fact, that they spend less time with their kids than other generations. Parents may have to work harder to divert  their kids' attention from phones and tablets, which usually means getting out of the house, but...

 

When I was a kid there was a huge moral panic about television (we were the first generation to have wall to wall TV, which we could watch from the time we got home until the time we went to bed). It was going to rot our brains, and we would all lose the art of conversation because we were watching TV instead.  Same with video games...In Victorian times, when books became more available, the same complaint was made about reading - there was a fear that young women would become too absorbed in books and would no longer wish to socialise. Any solitary pursuit can be seen as damaging to the fabric of society. 

 

The generation slightly before me, were 'latchkey kids' - abandoned by working mothers, who were also going to ruin society and bring up a generation of feral children. 

 

The truth is, people have always worked from dawn til dusk and kids have always been left to their own devices. It is a shame that capitalism has not enabled us to work less, as promised, but trapped us in this cycle of materialism - but not everyone is surprised by this.  We are slaves to capital and we always have to fight for any form of social safety net or community, but for me this is a political issue, not an individual one. I wouldn't say that love has died, not by a long shot. People do their best in the circumstances, as they always will.

 

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DarkStormyKnight

I think love and the ways we love have certainly changed, but they aren't gone. People just show affection in different ways now.

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InDefenseOfPOMO
On 11/18/2019 at 6:17 PM, RoseGoesToYule said:

But what if we really don't experience love the same way as in the past?

 

Love seems to be an object now to be exploited as a means to some end, studied with MRI technology, measured with data collection techniques and statistical analysis, etc.

 

People seem to be suspicious of any love that is said to be deeper, more fundamental, more universal, etc. than an object to be narcissistically exploited. Loving your enemies?! It must be a Bible Belt fundamentalist! Run! Dedicating your life to making the world a better place?! It must be a collectivist! Your liberty is in jeopardy!

 

I wouldn't say that we are post-love. I would say that we deny love. We think that rationality, self-interested calculation in free markets, economic growth, technology, the rule of law, democracy, etc. are what make life exceptional for us. To admit that we are all interconnected, that we all need each other, and that we all must love and care for each other makes us human, not exceptional.

 

We are not post-love. We are in hubristic denial about love.

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Moderne Jazzhanden

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