Our Impoverished, Pathological Society

by Charles Hugh Smith
Of Two Minds

Our inner impoverishment has blinded us to our social impoverishment.

If asked what’s intrinsic to human happiness, most people in consumer societies will offer up answers such as money, status, a nice house, etc. But as Sebastian Junger observes in his book Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, what’s actually intrinsic to human happiness is: meaningful relationships within a community (i.e. a tribe); opportunities to contribute to the group and to be appreciated; being competent at useful tasks and opportunities for authentic experiences.

If we assess our society by these standards, it is impoverished and ill. In the present-day economy, there are only two ways to contribute: 1) earn a profit for some entity in the private sector, usually a large corporation, and 2) perform some task for the state (government) that lives off the wages and profits of the private sector.

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