In the first note I wrote for Db I recommended Sebastian Junger’s Tribe, and now I can’t stop thinking about it. Especially this quote:
“Humans don't mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary.”
The exception, Junger explains, is during crises — wars, natural disasters, etc. — when communities unite and contribute to a common goal. Suddenly, trivial things we thought were important melt away and the real stuff, like health, family and community, take center stage.
But wars happen somewhere else. Earthquakes and typhoons rarely hit us. What we’re facing today is universal hardship. With hints of Independence Day or Armageddon, the human race is suddenly running toward the same finish line with arms linked.
“If you want to make a society work,” Junger writes, “then you don’t keep underscoring the places where you’re different — you underscore your shared humanity.”
So, here we are. Our shared humanity clear as day, our necessity as simple as staying home. Strangers sew masks. John Krasinski boosts morale. Caremongering is a real, beautiful movement. I don’t know if society is working, but we’re certainly working together. And that’s a great place to start.
P.S. If you didn’t get the John Krasinski reference, I’d recommend checking out Some Good News.