This may not be any great insight, but it suddenly occurred to me tonight that the next great social movement in this country might well be based around parties. Not political parties – real ones. The fun kind.
Most people are terribly isolated these days. TV and the internet dominate their lives. Actual human contact and interaction are at a minimum. Yet they’re something that are very basic and necessary for our well-being. We are, in the end, social animals.
People have been taught to be scared of one another. Until the rise of TV, our primary entertainment was each other. People sat outside on their front steps, or visited each other. They saw friends and neighbors and talked with them every day. But now if a stranger says “Hi” on the street, it’s a rare and disconcerting event!
There’s great power in direct human interaction. Talking and responding with other human beings, face to face, fulfills a primal need. That’s almost certainly a large part of what made the Occupy movement so popular, before it was crushed. And it’s a source of power that threatens the powers that be. Which may partly explain the many ways in which people have been systematically isolated from each other.
If the US is ever to turn away from its headlong rush to an utterly lopsided and nightmarish state, that change will have to start with people talking to people. Not business and political leaders socializing at fashionable cocktail parties, but with real, ordinary parties and events that ordinary people want to attend. But how could something like that be effectively started?
I don’t know. But there must be a way.
Can you think of one?