A Response to “The Difference Between Being Alone and Being Lonely”

A Brief History of Identity

Stage I: Culture

Animals and the earliest humans have an identity that is determined mostly by DNA. Then, as discussed in The Secret of Our Success, humans separated themselves from other animals by developing the capacity for culture.

Stage II: Self

About 3,000 years ago, a new an interesting thing happened which is described in the book, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Basically, people developed the mental concept of self, and instead of just acting out their cultural roles based on instinct (and, perhaps, the voice of their gods), they had to think about decision consciously.

Stage III: Individual Freedom

About 500 years ago, as described in the book, Mind, Modernity, Madness, society developed the idea of the egalitarian nation in which all people are fundamentally equal. In such a society, the self that previously had the responsibility for deliberating over particular decisions was now responsible for actually choosing an identity. Along with this came the idea that there is a seed of true identity inside us that people must find and express. In other words, society doesn’t provide an identity for you. You have to make it yourself.

Loneliness

Ok, so what does all this have to do with loneliness. Zat says this:

The End of Psychology

In 1992, Francis Fukuyama published a remarkable book called The End of History and the Last Man. In it he argued that after the Cold War, history was pretty much settled. Although different countries were still at different points of development, it was pretty clear that Liberal Democracy was the end point to which everything would converge.

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Redbeard

Redbeard

Patent Attorney, Crypto Enthusiast, Father of two daughters