In the meantime we have to wear a face mask almost everywhere and “social distance” becomes difficult and is now the “new normal”. Everywhere people keep their distance and I often see fear on people's faces when something comes “too close”.
This artificial distance is now further enhanced with this mask. I walk through the city and don't recognize the faces anymore. I can no longer see how someone is doing, I no longer get a visual response. Didn't you notice that it hurts us !? As a result, I have no idea how this person thinks or feels. I no longer get social feedback, I am starting to feel insecure inside.
If we don't get feedback, no reaction to our eyes, to our facial expressions, to what we say, i.e. just to ourselves as human beings, we become insecure of ourselves and anxious.
We humans depend on resonance!
We need the look of another, the facial expression.
There is a fascinating psychological experiment in which job interviews are conducted with people and none of the interviewers provides feedback by facial expression. The applicants are simply looked at with a stone face. The stress level of the applicants is unprecedented. Most of them can barely regulate themselves and often fail miserably at their job interview.
Social interaction is not an unnecessary luxury - it is an essential necessity!
For months, many people have been very alone and without close social feedback. And they are not alone, they are lonely. Many no longer have physical contact, no longer feel a hug or conversation in their daily life.
In most cases, the corona measures allow contact between family members. It is nice if you have “immediate” family members and if you can and want to be close to them. But what about those of us who also have a family that is not made up of blood relatives? What about all so-called “alternative” forms of society, such as communes or student houses?
Loneliness makes us sick. Contactlessness can put us in a depression. Being alone makes us unhappy in the long run.
We need contact - our friends - to be able to laugh, cook and be together. We need touch and closeness to calm us down. Even our immune system suffers from social detachment!
Our mind may understand social distance as a unit of measure, but our body and psyche don't.
If we are alone for too long, we lose ourselves!
Even people who may have less need for contact occasionally need to visit cafe, cinema, restaurant etc. to participate in social life. Prolonged loneliness causes stress. This is evolutionarily anchored deep within us, whether we perceive this tension within us or not. I'm sure if you were to test people's cortisol levels right now, you would find extremely high levels of stress.
Community as social togetherness
“Community” usually surrounds us on many levels. It is often there without us realizing it - the ice cream at the Italian ice cream parlor, going to the cinema, strolling through the city. People are everywhere and our nervous system is aware of this. All of this is negated by social distance, by the prohibition of contact, by avoiding “crowds.” We can certainly “resist” this for a certain amount of time, but the longer this isolation lasts, the greater the long-term consequences will be!
To be continued.