Ya know, I read that article, and I only thought of one video I saw
. It's a "Whiteboard animation" from a lecture given by Barbara Ehrenreich, in which she talks about a few things. but the one thing she said near the beginning is that people who are being "downsized" (nice way to say fired) were being sent to support groups, and told in so many words that the key to getting a new job (after being downsized) is not skills or experience, but having a positive attitude and making everyone else in your new work place feel good. It wasn't about the work you could do, it's how happy you made everyone else around you.
And reading that article I couldn't help but see echos of her speech in it. (Political note, you may not agree with all of the stuff she talks about, but it's definitely worth 10 minutes of your life)
Another speech on the RSA's youtube site (which I'm reluctant to post as it includes a drawing that's not "family friendly" in it) by Professor Philip Zimbardo hits on time perspectives and how it affects our lives. He says in his speech that by the time a male is 21 they will have spent 10,000 hours playing video games. When you think about it, this is almost 417 days, a year and change, alone in front of a monitor / TV with a controller or keyboard for company. His point is that kids are "digitally rewiring" their brains to learn differently, and the old ways of teaching don't work anymore. But I think it's a little more than that.
The message my generation had pounded into our heads was "self esteem is good" and "believe in yourself", both pretty empty messages really. Looking back, it caused kids to basically clique into small groups of 4-6 friends (goths, jocks, stoners, freaks, whatever) who all understood each other. So now that my generation has grown up, we're back-lashing the message to be "help everyone around you feel good" and "pull together as a team!", that if everyone just believes in each other we can do anything. It's the other extreme now. Kids burying themselves in the basement on a computer playing games on their own because they don't want to be forced to "play nice" with people they can't stand. It's a lot easier to say "OMG U SUCK!" and bail your PUG raid than it is to face the wrath of your school guidance counselor who's hell bent on making you get along with everyone. (And if you know what a "PUG raid" is, then you know what I'm talking about...)
The other thing I'm getting from all this is that the message works in reverse. In telling people you have to make nice with everyone else, it's making folks absolutely miserable and disconnected. It's hard to be empathetic when you know the other person is only pretending to be nice to you for the sake of "the team".
My take is simple, and it's an old joke. A friend is someone who will bail you out of jail. A best friend is someone who will be sitting next to you saying "DAMN that was cool!" And I seriously doubt that the 2,500 names on "facebook" that say you're their "friend" will be sharing that metal bench with you.
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