Social Distancing: Have We Been Doing That For Years?
The other day I was reading an article on the populism language used by our honorable PM during these times and how the word “Social Distancing” is not as relatable to hoi polloi, that’s when my inner “philosopher” thought I might have been in the process of doing it for as long as I can think of. That can be either my confinement to myself or the visits to my family that have reduced to just calls or distancing myself from the discussion on issues. It has been so gradual that we might not even realize how distanced we are from society, which we all are realizing now when we literally have to distance ourselves from others. The problem is so profound that it exists right in front of our eyes, but we turn a blind eye towards it as a society.
The word “social” literally means living in a community which means we are a part of something and yet we all feel alone sometimes. Is it because we have grown more self-centered? Or Is it because I choose to keep my share of problems just to myself? Is it because of the communication gap that our parents refer to or our lost belief in the utopian world? Maybe because the utopian world I want does not exist anymore.
Since childhood, we are all told to take care of ourselves but that does not mean we stop looking after people who we do not know. But as we grow, that essence of growing up together seems to be a lost cause. The sense of individualism somehow appears to be undermining the humanitarian beliefs. Why does talking about our problems seems like a big deal? Maybe the culture we are living in is not open to listening and discussing the issues. And we all are a part of that culture and have gradually become inaccessible to talk about societal issues and connect with them. The concept of social distancing seems so familiar yet so novel.
When did humanity become so rare and special? This culture is affecting our own thinking process. Our way of normalization of every issue comes down to years of unconscious practicing of this culture and constant ignorance of our own actions by which we distance ourselves.
We fret over a host of inconsequential things and let go of what we need to think and talk to people. As a society we feel about an issue, we talk about it, and then just like that we are back to our rushing lives. But that wide smile on our faces and lightness in our hearts that we feel when we see people helping and showing concern about society still exists. Maybe it is time that we realize how social distancing is truly never possible. And we might need to revive the concept of social amiability in our culture.
At this point in time when lives have faltered, we realize how distanced we were from our parents, our siblings, our friends, from loved ones and from our own self. Now that we need to distance ourselves from others, we find it hard though we were unconsciously doing it for so long. Maybe social distancing has now reduced the distance we all were walking.