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In this hyper-connected age, we are more isolated than ever

South Korean philosopher Byun-Chul Han affirms that we live in a time in which we exploit ourselves and, moreover, we do it with pleasure. Therefore, we live continuously stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. A recent study, prepared by, adds details to that observation.

According to that report, we live in a society where we have lost the ability to "actively listen" to others. That is, we listen just to download information, or to try to win an argument, or to wait for the other to shut up and say what we want to say. But we do not listen to understand, much less generate a creative dialogue.

No matter what or who can be chosen to hold accountable for that situation (the pandemic, technology, social media, our lifestyle, culture), the results of that miscommunication are clear: we live in social isolation, without relationships. positive, with no one to teach us, with constant socio-economic obstacles and not being able to solve our own problems.

Social isolation, the report says, “erodes our ability to grow” because it reduces our opportunities to connect with others in a positive way. In fact, for many people, being with their family, friends and colleagues is a "major problem" and a "great pain" because neither one knows what to say nor does one listen to each other.

In addition, contrary to what happened with generations of the past (but not so far), there are no longer older people or people with more experience who serve as advisors or mentors to respond to life's challenges. In fact, they are just as overwhelmed as all of us and it often seems “absolutely impossible” to offer help or advice.

Simultaneously, no matter how much income a person has or how good and stable his job is, everyone knows that such a situation can disappear at any time due to the volatility of today's world. A pandemic, a war, an attack or a natural disaster, and everyone, rich and poor, can suddenly find themselves with nothing.

For many people, the “intense emotional pressure” caused by just thinking about these unpleasant possibilities is enough to stop them from being effective and healthy in their relationships at home, at work, and among their social contacts.

When all of these come together in a person's mind and heart, the result is a loss or diminished ability to analyze and solve problems. In other words, although almost 9 out of 10 people affirm that knowing how to solve their own problems is the "main skill" one can and should develop, few have that ability. Yet, many people can no longer solve their personal or work problems without help.

As Han said, “Today we search for more information without gaining any real knowledge. We communicate constantly without participating in a community. We save masses of data without keeping track of our memories. We accumulate friends and followers without encountering other people. This is how information develops a form of life that has no stability or duration.”

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