Why do we feel so alone?

Image: Helena Kováčova
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By PEDRO HENRIQUE M. ANICETO*

Individuals beg for the attention of others, hoping that the Other will attest through likes, views and comments that their life is really worth living.

With the technical-scientific-informational revolution and, consequently, the significant advance of the mass media, a new reality was established in the world of the XNUMXst century. Never before, in human history, has it been possible to connect and exchange experiences and information with the number of people we have access to through social networks.

The new form of capitalism in which we, human beings, become products to be marketed and consumed, set a dangerous precedent in which, on the one hand, it allows the dissemination of millions and millions of information and important contents for the maintenance of human life. and, on the other hand, it becomes a Dantesque instrument responsible for a process of dehumanization of the being, who ceases to be a subject in his own life and becomes an object to be consumed, responsible for his own servitude, master of his own futility.

The powerful and eroticized need to be connected and create “content” for the experience of others shows a hard and complex diagnosis of contemporary society, the structural void of modern consciousness. With this, the thought of Jacques Lacan is evident, a French psychoanalyst whose work is based, in part, on the question “Why do we feel so alone?”.

For Jacques Lacan, during a phase of the child's development, called the "mirror phase", the individual realizes that he is a separate entity from the environment and it is this symbolic distance that generates the inner emptiness that makes us so lonely, making it "necessary" to we fill it. This is, for the author, the birth of the ego. At this juncture, one can take this Lacanian conception as a basis to justify, in part, why digital life, projected and staged, is so valued in contemporary times.

This is because it allows the individual to try to reduce, at least a little, the distance between him and the world, allowing him to feel diluted and belonging to a whole, what Sigmund Freud calls the “oceanic feeling”. Thus, in a kind of “voluntary servitude”, using a concept by Étienne de la Boétie, individuals beg for the attention of others, waiting for the Other to attest through likes, views and comments, that your life is really worth living.

In this sense, individuals renounce freedom and privacy in favor of the feeling of belonging to a group that, by essence, also tries to consolidate itself as someone whose exposed life – not necessarily true – should be desired by the mass. It is in this scenario, marked by a vicious cycle, that sparkles the unhealthy conception of contemporary happiness, in which it is necessary, at all times, to exalt a happy and non-existent life so that others validate this feeling as true. So that, in the core of being, you can feel a momentary illusion of integration with the world that is quickly replaced by a feeling of loneliness, which moves the wheel again, causing new empty and superficial interactions that do not fill it. making the cycle repeat itself.

It is, therefore, on this paradox of loneliness among many that society in the XNUMXst century is based, with an erasure of the being as a self-possessed subject and, in its place, consolidating, more and more, screaming zombies day after day that are happy people, while waiting for the rest of the world to repeat and attest so that they can believe, at least for a moment, in this fantasy that is the current conception of happiness.

*Pedro Henrique M. Aniceto is studying economics at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF).


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