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Culture and society, loss of identity

Travel Forums General Talk Culture and society, loss of identity

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1. Posted by Eleniki (Full Member 125 posts) 9y

I think that a significant factor in the increase in depression/personality disorders/suicide, especially among people in their teens and twenties is the loss of close-knit community and social identity, certainly in the west, and in many other parts of the world too. This is inevitable, sadly, with the development of e-technology and travel, and its attendant reduction of the world to a global village. The result of easy travel and world-wide 'communication' has shown to be the dilution of local culture and the scattering of customs and community. This has led to a dearth, and in many cases a complete lack, of identity and support for kids as they go through the years of puberty. Looking at the huge increase in suicide, particularly in young guys, I wonder if choices and expectations were less complex for them, ie in the context of a close knit community where they knew they 'belonged' and the path ahead unfolded as they were supported by an extended family/social network, would this not have happened.

Of course, we have access to statistics now which went undocumented in the past, and of course there was always depression and suicide, but these occurences were possibly more isolated and more easily pin-pointed to a single cause. And, yes, of course there were always those people who felt 'different' (who were gay or who wanted to do something outside the mould) often with tragic outcome, but personally I lament the dwindling of culture; musical, ritual and social which is reducing our complex planet to a blanched, obese, disco-thumping blob of sameness.

2. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

I for one am very glad to avail of access to all the variety quick and easy transport from A to B gives.
Also e technology has been a God send for me, since I became a mother and am living in a non English speaking counrty. There have been many times I could not leave the house, because my child was sleeping. It would have been very lonely at home, if I had not been able to chat with people on the internet. Also, now that I live in Germany, it is nice to be able to chat with people in English on the internet everyday.
And there is the amount of information available, with just a few keyboard strokes.....

I think the reasons for suicide, depression etc are much more complex than u describe.

Mel

3. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru 768 posts) 9y

Blimey, someone been cutting and pasting from their sociology books?? ;)

4. Posted by Eleniki (Full Member 125 posts) 9y

Yeah that's right, cos I can't think of any words by myself, and forbid it that we should bother with any kind of meaningful dialogue on TP. We'll change the thread to something more comfortable for you then, will we? Say....'Culture and Society, I'm only here for the beer' - something like that? Safer territory? What's your favourite brew? ;) ;) ;) back at ya

[ Edit: Edited on Aug 21, 2007, at 9:11 AM by Eleniki ]

5. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 9y

That sounds like a standard educator's view of the world. However, the biggest choices you make in life are immediately AFTER you leave school. Initial steps in your career path, marriage, children, and adult lifestyle are all made immediately AFTER your teens and in your late 20's. Add to that loss of parental and societal guidance because you've "come of age".

You have a good point about loss of guidance being the cause. But I think you're all wrong about who it affects the most.

Also, I think this loss of cultural identity is a necessary step in human evolution. I'm in the applied sciences. So my mind jumps to "ok, what do we do about all these kids killing themselves". Personally, I think there's a lot of change our society(ies) needs to embrace.

6. Posted by Eleniki (Full Member 125 posts) 9y

Thanks for posting a reply. It's not so much a loss of 'guidance' - in fact I think that's sometimes part of the problem, specially in my field, where so many options are handed to kids on a plate that they often don't know which way to turn. It's a thinning out of cultural identity (and don't get me wrong - I abhor nationalism, see it as an emotive and dangerous concept which has been the cause of so much war and violence). Not sure what you mean about being wrong about who it affects the most - statistics show that young men are most vulnerable to suicide, and in my standard educator's experience, I have seen many of these. I understand that culture must change as the human race evolves, but as a musician I hate to see individual threads of identity becoming extinct, and I have to ask, what is replacing this loss if it is a necessary step?

7. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 9y

Quoting Eleniki

I understand that culture must change as the human race evolves, but as a musician I hate to see individual threads of identity becoming extinct, and I have to ask, what is replacing this loss if it is a necessary step?

A new culture which we must define for ourselves. Encompassing the old one but hopefully in a new direction. Consider history for a moment. Once upon a time, somebody in one cave invented "the drum". Somebody far far away invented "the cymbal". Yet somebody else invented "the guitar". There was "drum culture". There was "cymbal culture". And of course, there was the "guitar culture". When the drum and cymbal met, we had the "drum set" culture. When they met the guitar culture. We had "rock music" culture. Similarly, and hopefully, we'll have a culture made up of "British", "French", "Iranian", etc. etc. cultures.

However, as change occurs, people do suffer and die. I think this is due to the loss of hope and purpose rather than the loss of culture. Hope and purpose gives us guidance and freedom to explore our own thoughts. Young people today have a lot of work to do. They have to define this new culture. I think we do a poor job of reminding young people and ourselves that this is hope and purpose.

8. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member 592 posts) 9y

(This response stems mostly from the original post.)
Helen, I agree with you to some extent. However, I feel that the increase is depression/suicide, etc. has more to do with the breakdown of the family and with the high expectations of family as opposed to the high expectations of society. I feel like more and more there is a lessening of the quality time families spend together, especially as children get older. Families don't sit down and eat together anymore. Even if everyone is at home, people are in different rooms doing different things. Also, as the median family size gets smaller there is a smaller network of people to support a child (emotionally). But while this familial structure breaks down, I think there is an increase in the amount of pressure put on children to succeed and be "on top". Children are expected to get into a good college and get a good paying career. Children are also expected to either know what they want to do or to do what their parents want them to do. There is more emphasis on being "happy" by being wealthy and powerful, than by being "happy" by being joyful in what you do.

9. Posted by kombizz (Full Member 1416 posts) 9y

@ Eleniki
perhaps you could ask your statement from our man, George !

10. Posted by Eleniki (Full Member 125 posts) 9y

Quoting Wonkerer

I feel that the increase is depression/suicide, etc. has more to do with the breakdown of the family and with the high expectations of family as opposed to the high expectations of society. I feel like more and more there is a lessening of the quality time families spend together, especially as children get older. Families don't sit down and eat together anymore. Even if everyone is at home, people are in different rooms doing different things. Also, as the median family size gets smaller there is a smaller network of people to support a child (emotionally). But while this familial structure breaks down, I think there is an increase in the amount of pressure put on children to succeed and be "on top". Children are expected to get into a good college and get a good paying career. Children are also expected to either know what they want to do or to do what their parents want them to do. There is more emphasis on being "happy" by being wealthy and powerful, than by being "happy" by being joyful in what you do.

I agree completely with your last point, Katherine, especially in the past 10/20 years in Ireland, where the greed factor is becoming overwhelmingly apparent, where SUVs clog our narrow roads and where people ride roughshod over each other in the scramble for the 'top', then realise they wanted to go somewhere else all along, they just don't know where anymore. There is a malcontent amongst even the wealthy - people who travel to 'poor' areas of the world know that happiness is often to be found amongst societies who have 'nothing'. But, re your point about family as opposed to society, surely family is part of society? And what are family members doing in their different rooms? They're online, mailing, chatting, surfing; they're watching TV/DVDs; they're listening to ipods with earphones in....and the net result of all this similar activity is an increasingly similar bland world culture, a decrease in the celebration of individual culture's identity, and thus, a lack of joy in living the moments we have. (And here I am, saying this online....)