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Post: Blog2_Post

What I'm reading: What happens to us when we become old and boring?

Updated: Mar 8

At a societal level, we can be rich, or we can be communitarian. I don't think we can be both - at least, not for long.


The Baby Boomers came closest to enjoying both simultaneously, but only because they were born during an ideological changing of the guard. They enjoyed the high trust, family-centric culture cultivated by their parents and grandparents, and then got to enjoy the youthful rejection of all of that culture's downsides.


But that's a trick that can only be pulled once.


Historian (and Baby Boomer) Jon Lawrence is kidding himself when he tries to have it both ways:

We should read the widespread nostalgia for community as powerful evidence that people want to find a way to reconcile personal freedom - the right not to have to conform to the expectations of strangers (or indeed of family) - with a deeper sense of social connection.


I have bad news on this front: those things are irreconcilable. You cannot promote a culture of optionality, and then also expect people to choose you when you become a dull and onerous option. You cannot buy solitude when it suits you, and then try and buy back company when it does not, because company of the sincere and intimate kind cannot be bought.




Louise Perry

 

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