Are we losing basic human interactions?


Yes, recent discussions indicate that basic human interactions might be declining. Significant causes identified include increased isolation during the pandemic and the rise of "convenience technology" that reduces the need for face-to-face contact. Additionally, social media has significantly altered interpersonal interactions, often exacerbating feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Here are some key insights from the experts:

  1. David Leonhardt notes that the isolation measures during COVID-19 led to a loss of routine human interactions which previously helped in mediating personal disagreements and fostering understanding. This absence has resulted in increased antisocial and aggressive behavior, impacting societal functionality at large 1.

  2. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, highlights that while convenience technologies like online shopping minimize the need for physical interactions, they also lead to a reduction in even informal social contacts. He argues that social media, despite its benefits, often diminishes users' self-esteem and feelings of belonging, contributing further to feelings of loneliness. The shift towards more online interaction, coupled with less face-to-face engagement, has significant mental and physical health consequences 2.

  3. On the Lex Fridman Podcast, the discussion between Jay Bhattacharya and Lex Fridman explores how pandemic measures like social distancing have disrupted basic expressions of common humanity, such as acts of warmth and person-to-person recognition. Such measures have, paradoxically, led to a fragile sense of community and increased individual loneliness 3.

    The Cost of Isolation

    David discusses the consequences of isolation and lack of human interaction during the pandemic, highlighting the increase in aggressive behavior and its impact on society. He emphasizes the importance of social connection and the need to address the flashing red lights indicating the negative effects of isolation.

    Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

    Is It Possible You Are Irrational About COVID? | David Leonhardt

These discussions underscore the necessity of meaningful human interaction and the need to consciously rebuild social structures to foster better interpersonal connections moving forward.