Society is built from human relationships and communities. These arise from the interpersonal processes embodied in the human organism. Our experiences are shaped, and give shape to, the structures and designs that make up our social world: urban layouts, religious rituals, or the information architecture of social media networks. For both better and for worse, these design cues affect the quality of our conversations, our relationships, and our sense of belonging.
In our contemporary era, our social world has been shaped by powerful trends: car-culture, suburban sprawl, the rise of secularism, the nuclear family, decreases in local community affiliation, the commodification of arts and entertainment, and mass media, both legacy-broadcast and digital-interactive. We have traded deep and strong bonds most humans from previous eras enjoyed for much wider and shallower affiliations and interactions.
The result? It’s hard to say. Join us, Jason Lange and Michael Porcelli, as we discuss the evolution of the social technologies that shape our world today and some of their deficiencies that have given rise to loneliness, depression, psychiatric interventionism, online outrage, and the polarization of our discourse. We consider the idea of socio-emotional well being as an increasingly recognized need, analogous to physical and psychological health. We explore the possibility of an emerging “relational economy” where ways and practices, previously centered in traditional religious communities, is emerging as a growth area in the years to come.