In a recent facebook remark, I wondered how we can restore togetherness in a society; or in Dutch: hoe krijg je saamhorigheid terug in een “samen”leving? Our Western societies are often characterized by glorifying freedom (eg, sexual expression, speech) and by individualism. I received several replies.
A friend of a friend is convinced that global grass roots movements will make this happen. Perhaps. If indeed then such micro movements would take decades, if not centuries. What kind of macro events could assist in such micro events? Clearly, Covid-19 did not restore togetherness. Far from it even.
A comparison with other cultures reveals the usual suspects: family (-), globalism (+), liberalism (+), religion (-), urbanisation (+). The Why hardly matters because this blog is about the How. Interestingly, some political leaders use nationalism to restore togetherness in their societies (eg, Hungary, Turkey).
Nationalism might indeed work if and when it’s genuine. Unfortunately, nationalism is often based upon fear (eg, China vs muslims, Hungary vs EU, Russia vs Europe+USA, Turkey vs EU, UK vs Europe). Fear only works for a limited time. Moreover, nationalism has a habit of ending in war (eg, Ukraine).
A large-scale military conflict is also a macro event that is able to restore togetherness in society.
In 2016, I already published the explanation for that in these two blogs: (1) The more we have, the more we fight change, and (2) The less you have, the more you embrace change. When we have “nothing” then it’s much easier to share. When we have “everything” then why would we share?
Even worse: the more we have, the more we feel entitled to it; see my blogs on entitlement.
Probably, the solution is a delicate mix of various ingredients, including but not limited to: equality (eg, gender, income, wealth), happiness, a national identity, a multi-party system rather than bipartisanship, and limited urbanisation. A common metric is the Gini coefficient (eg, source).
Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.