By M.K. Styllinski
“Young adults are facing more stressful conditions than older generations, such as an increasingly competitive labor market, rising costs of housing, an increase in higher education costs, and issues of self-identity and confidence driven by more widespread use of social media.”
— Morag Henderson, sociologist at University College London
Reading time: (25-30 mins)
The crisis of meaning and purpose is something many of us are grappling with today. Girls and boys and young adults in particular are not succeeding in this battle. The path which defines our lives up to middle and retirement age is for the majority, mostly a constellation of conditioned responses encouraged by Official Culture. It replaces true meaning with a role that serves the technosphere as opposed to our true calling. Not always, but all too frequently. Then we are back to that existential crisis of youth where something deep inside knows that to find true creative balance takes a life time of struggle against forces that oppose any kind of spiritual liberation. Unless that is, we have the support to explore the transformation that comes knocking at the door of consciousness at various stages of our lives. To even have the awareness to heed that call requires a very different society than we have now.
Life is extremely complicated for young people these days, whether they are in Western, Asian, African or Middle Eastern societies. The predisposition of tyranny from our hierarchical institutions and social systems means that such a danger will always be there, even when there is momentum toward autopoietic * social innovations. The imbalance inherent within state authority and the unceasing drive of so many to live outside it’s influence is growing. This is a welcome reaction against the finite and unsustainable nature of cartel capitalism and rampant state-sponsored crimes against humanity. But we haven’t yet found that crucial tension, that balance that provides a psychological inoculation against psychopathic infiltration which so often turns civilisations into crucibles of centralised control.
The corruption of hierarchical power always weakens the structure to the point of catastrophic failure. And there are always young folks who act as literal and symbolic precursors to that descent, usually by embodying those ills and thereby showing us what long term or immediate future lies ahead. Each epoch manifests that see-saw between managed chaos and mass creativity which eventually bursts forth in destructive ways, sweeping away everything that went before. Children and young adults are the tuning fork of future generations in this regard. Nonetheless, there is has been a very wide historical berth when it comes to defining how our youth interact with the world. The older generations have a distinct challenge to make sure our younger generations are correctly tuned to that which offers hope, spiritual strength and resilience to face what is certain to be an unpredictable and challenging future.
But let’s rewind for a moment…
Take Medieval England for example. During that time the majority of medieval people were young with far fewer older people with around thirty-five to forty percent under fifteen years old. There was a distinct and recognised period where the early formative years were largely employed for utilitarian ends. If there were not distinct roles then the family didn’t survive. As a result, the Church law and common law regarded children as equal to adults in many ways. Parenting was just as important and often imbued with strict moral and community-based values inspired by the Church and folklore. Though play was a vital part of growing up and of far greater importance than today, if a child was unprepared for the realities of what was a rather brutal world, it meant that the longevity of the family would be weakened as would the life of the child. Conscientiousness in one’s work had to be learned early on as it was quite often a life and death situation. 
The ubiquity of young folks meant there were major social differences in every community and sphere of activity. A feudal hierarchy of industry meant clearly defined roles with a narrow band of what could constitute freedom from our perspective today. It also meant that on average, there was seventeen years’ less experience of life to draw on and very few elders and betters that children had to go to for advice. This high proportion of young people experienced a violent, feudal world which saw hand-to-hand combat; brutality passing for entertainment; state sanctioned slavery and appalling daily health hazards – including periodic visitations of the plague – as the backdrop to their lives. Medieval boys for example, had what amounts to a man’s job from the age of seven and could have his wee hand chopped off if he decided to pinch some fruit from a market stall. If he graduated to a more audacious deed like stealing a hairpin or a Lord’s hat, he could be hanged by his doubtless scrawny neck. Boys could legally marry at aged fourteen and were considered ready to fight in the King’s army. Those born into the nobleman’s life or royalty had material comforts but a different level of responsibility. For example, Prince Edward, at just sixteen years old was in command of whole battalion.
Not a lot of leeway for a “safe space” in that milieu.
Women were considered in their prime at seventeen, mature at twenty-five and past it by thirty. Marriage was organised in infancy with a girl ready at twelve for nuptials and saddled with possibly several kids by sixteen. That is, assuming she didn’t die at childbirth, which was common. In fact, one or two of her children would likely die before preparing for a fifth child.  It was all the more reason that parents laid the correct foundations for children’s emotional fortitude and resilience by providing sufficient time for story-telling, play, and a religiously moral and earthy attention to the joy of existence and the sense of the sacred. These were generally an essential part of growing up and mitigated a very tenuous and fragile thread that quivered between life and death.
Despite the very harsh nature of life for the average Medieval child the vestiges of something sacred in the life of the Medieval family is something that the modern era has lost. Regardless of what we think about these beliefs now, the sacred was paramount and informed much of the life of Medieval families and their children. It wasn’t just about silly superstitions (although they were certainly present) there was a deep-rooted understanding of the biosphere and the environment which was considered inseparable to God. This could only have come from having close contact with nature and working the land. A vast inheritance from pre-Christian folklore and its oral tradition was sown into the very DNA of countless generations. The strict, one-sided theology of the Catholic Church with its war on the independence of the body and soul could crush, but not quite extinguish it’s light. And it is this hybrid of Church authority and ancient folklore that gave spiritual sustenance to daily survival and thus meaning and purpose. If meaning was gleaned from the path of a flock of swallows or unusual meteorological phenomena it brought into focus one’s place in the world whether you were a villein, a seamstress, a tanner or a blacksmith. The elevation of the sacred and mystery in everyday life needs to be re-enchanted in our modern times.
Fast forward to the 21st Century and I think you’ll agree, material and social progress has been made. So, we might say that young people of today – as my grandfather would have growled as he puffed on his pipe – “Don’t know how bloody lucky they are.” While this statement, like the above Medieval comparison, might be too extreme or simplistic, it doesn’t do any harm to remind ourselves that we in the West and in many parts of the world generally live in civillised and affluent times when we cast an eye back to that period in history. Indeed, if you are still foolish enough to fill yourself with a daily diet of mainstream news you would be forgiven for thinking that the whole world is still one big medieval bloodbath. In fact, in almost every aspect, whether it is disease, hunger or war – things ARE getting better. 
But the devil is always in the details.
The challenges may have changed but so too the workings of evil. The latter is a master of adaptation to the slow rise of collective awareness so it has become easier to mask its crypto-geographic footprints in the quantum field. We still have millions trafficked for their bodies or bonded labour and we still have families picking over the rubbish tips full of the scraps of technological innovation that requires built-in obsolescence, destroys the environment and turns young brains to blancmange. It won’t have escaped anyone who has been paying attention that all is far from well, as much of the content of this blog will attest. Since this is a psycho-spiritual crisis, it is no coincidence that the environment and our biosphere is reflecting this imbalance to the point that some scientists believe we are entering a sixth extinction event.  Although there is a rising ecological awareness and many great initiatives and rediscovered ways of living lightly on our Earth, these two are frequently still in the box of the old corporate mindset with principles hijacked toward the old paradigm. If the new awareness is grafted onto similar organisational structures which gave rise to the problems in the first place then the probability is very high that these will ultimately be displaced or sidelined by the dominant hierarchical perceptions.
Many young people are being crushed between the limbo of this global transition and the deceptive pathways that ostensibly offer hope and positive change while actually delivering its opposite. Children and young adults I believe, frequently sense this, but they are surrounded by a culture that provides a confusing melange of inadequate role models and cultural dead ends.
How can children be expected to navigate stormy seas if they setting off with holes in their boats, no outboard motor and outdated maps?
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.”
Millennials and Generation Z in particular, are becoming the living embodiment of past denials and dysfunctions. Yet, the primary difference here compared to eight hundred years ago is that the battle for power and control now takes place as a social seduction if you will, a covert battle that takes place through our minds rather than the material plane. Granted, the hierarchies of material deprivation and economic disparity are still a huge part of the challenges global populations face but the focus has shifted toward techno-social engineering and mass mind control – an inverted or soft totalitarianism. Economizing on tactics and strategies for control is foremost in the minds of the Establishment. How else can you maintain a eco-technocratic World State system over seven billion people?
The underlying presence of the psychopathic priesthood and the socio-economics systems we have allowed them to subvert, means that there will be profound symptoms of ponerological infection at every level society. It so happens these symptomatic patterns are being exhibited in the young across all ethnic, economic and gender differences.
Why for instance, are boys and young men losing all motivation for life? Why are girls becoming more stressed and depressed than ever before?
Not only do they lack physiological, practical and psychological resilience, they are exhibiting signs of mental illness. And if they are not, then Big Pharma is on hand to medicate and subdue any child who exhibits the slightest sign of a natural reaction to a world that is obviously not attending to their most basic psycho-spiritual needs. Pretending that so much of what we consider orthodox is normal means that more and more youngsters will be choosing to self-medicate through drug abuse, promiscuity or video games. If psychiatry and Big Pharma can make a profit from picking up the pieces of broken minds and tailoring health-care toward a highly reductionist worldview, then of course, it will. It is well-known that many prescription drugs switch off the ability to empathise.  And turning people into apathetic, unfeeling zombies is the next best thing for our psychopathic elite since the last thing they want is swathes of the population activating their conscience, let alone thinking critically. It has even reached the stage that if you have the temerity to question authority or have above average creativity you have a mental illness according to the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).  While not ALL mental illness is in the mind, the ever-widening goal posts of what constitutes mental illness is mediated by medical/pharmacutical companies which have turned over a record $116 billion in the USA compared with $76 billion in R & D costs. An incentive to keep our kids chemically compromised with highly dubious efficacy? I think so.  
The net gain for social dominators that preside over our institutions and the direction of our social systems is generations of conformist and compliant people ready to accept almost anything as long as you leave them alone in their virtual reality. When Jesus in Matthew 5.5. said “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” I doubt this was what he had in mind.
The United Kingdom and the USA tend to mirror each other in this respect. A recent survey of 2,000 British people from the UK’s Health Foundation  only confirmed a decade of similar research. More than half of the young people polled felt they lacked “the basic building blocks of life” in order to reliably navigate society. These building blocks which the foundation identified were:
- Emotional support in the form of parents, friends, and mentors
- Having the appropriate skills and education to pursue a career
- Personal connections and networking opportunities
- Financial and practical support
In other words: a healthy community which provides role models for guidance and natural growth toward meaning and purpose.
A community of wise women can guide the girl to womanhood. A community of wise men can guide the boy to manhood. Simple right? Unfortunately, the guidance that should be there generally isn’t. In it’s place are what appears to me and many others is a social science and education heavily infiltrated by ideology that is neither scientific nor educational in its truest sense. As a result of this interference, one primary missing ingredient is the absence of a proper ritual around the transition from childhood to adulthood, a crucial psycho-spiritual threshold which has disappeared from Western civilisation under the assumption that it just happens. It doesn’t. Boys need to be guided to be of service to others, as do girls in entirely different ways and based on hard-wired gender differences that compliment environmental directors.
When genuine communities are sporadic or non-existent and gender roles are blown out of the water, the great adventure of childhood is turned into a footnote for psychological survival. Very different to Medieval children to be sure, but survival, nonetheless. The result is that masculinity is now so denigrated and maligned that we have a feminised version of what a man should be. And no, we are not talking about a healthy integration of feminine traits alongside the masculine. The feminine has been distorted and subverted to the extent that it has appropriated masculine traits as a product of our economic /corporate and Fourth Way feminist impositions. This has led to a very real emotional emasculation of boys producing effeminate and spineless young male adults (or “Beta” males in men’s rights parlance) with allotted roles defined by feminist ideologues not by “conventional” wisdom. This means that young men are biologically and emotionally ill-equipped to deal with life as laid down by feminist dictates which are woefully out-of-date and erroneous in their conclusions. What it means to be a girl and a woman; what it means to honour the boy and the man will be explored at a later date. Suffice to say, that we are in danger of losing the simplicity of our gender differences. And gender really does matter.
Dissociation, disorientation (in every sense of the word) is the response to life that is indeed as harsh and unforgiving as it is beautiful. When children are so unprepared for what constitutes adulthood which has been stripped of any mythos and spiritual meaning then the stressors and traumas of childhood neurologically crystallise in the brain and body, fixing defence mechanisms that, once so useful, are no longer needed. Narcissism and infantilism is frequently the result. If tweens and teens are thrust into a world psychologically handicapped in the face of an often pathological world in and of itself, then they will, depending on personality types, either contract due to this neurotic fragility and favour isolation, and/or seek power through adherence to authority, or through virtual fantasy.
Conversely, they might negatively expand through an entitled and aggressive narcissism leading to ego-inflation as a barrier to shame and weakness. A rebellious and angry rejection of authority may or may not be appealing. Both are coping strategies as means to claw back identity. The latter might initially thrive when it comes to a career since they are merely joining in with the dynamics of a society already built on narcissistic values. Such people will therefore have no qualms about trampling over others to get what they want. As recent study even suggested that they are a likely to be more successful in work, love and education than those who harbour a more active conscience. But let’s be clear: success, when derived from narcissism, one of the dark triad of pathologies means that the very notion of love is likely to be fake and ultimately transitory; the very notion of work is likely to be aligned to accruing power and status thus highly selfish and individualistic is perfect for the psychopathic template of the corporate world. In academic excellence many studies show opposite findings – that they overestimate their capabilities and any initial success quickly fades. So, let’s not pretend that inculcated narcissism is anything but destructive.
With a risible economic outlook young people have reason to be mistrustful. Although there are those who think we are living in a recovery period all the historical and present indicators show that this is merely the pause between an almighty crash that will make 2007-2008 look like a light-bulb “pop”. If a vast proportion of young people cannot cope now, how on earth are they going to survive when things get really tough? All the more reason to prepare the ground now so that the children of the near future have a fighting chance.
We know that the crisis in meaning and purpose is hitting the young hard and has produced a range of fears which are symptoms of a core maladjustment to reality. For example, a lot of Milliennials are afraid about the future when it comes to earning a living or aspiring to the level of affluence that their parents may have enjoyed. Yet, poorer nations are undeniably happier and find greater meaning in life despite considerably lower standards of living compared to their American counterparts. 
This is something deeper and more complex than fears of material loss.
Photo: Mohamed Nohassi | unsplash.com
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche
Meaning and Purpose vs Loneliness and Isolation
Isolation, lack of support, limited variety of social connections and feeling that people do not belong play a part in the rise of a number of psychological disorders including chronic anxiety, panic attacks, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and depression. Accordingly, the body will begin to reflect the mind’s distress which is why ill-health is so often associated with the above. The results of a study published in Science Daily a few years ago was part of the deluge of new reports showing the link between our state of mind and the immune system. Researchers found: ” that people who were more lonely showed signs of elevated latent herpes virus reactivation and produced more inflammation-related proteins in response to acute stress than did people who felt more socially connected. ” And with loneliness comes poor quality relationships and the consequent health problems leading to reduced mortality. Similarly, social isolation and the lack of support is now known to play a major role in the onset and development of addiction rather than any overriding chemical dependency. 
© Cacioppo et al., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology A graphical representation of the social network of Framingham, Mass., shows lonely people clustering at the periphery of the network.
With figures on loneliness rising in the states year by year, and with a predominately aging society young people are increasingly matching older generations by declaring loneliness as a primary cause of their discontent if not their physical health issues. One report by The Lonely Society back in 2010, highlighted a link between the extreme individualism of Western capitalist/consumerist societies and a varied panopoly of mental health disorders.  Though consumerism is only one spoke in the wheel of causes, data from a new Cigna study from this year offered even more startling figures. Cigna examined the behaviour driving loneliness of 20,000 Americans aged 18 and over to reveal:
- Nearly half of Americans report sometimes or always feeling alone (46 percent) or left out (47 percent).
- One in four Americans (27 percent) rarely or never feel as though there are people who really understand them.
- Two in five Americans sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful (43 percent) and that they are isolated from others (43 percent).
- One in five people report they rarely or never feel close to people (20 percent) or feel like there are people they can talk to (18 percent).
- Americans who live with others are less likely to be lonely (average loneliness score of 43.5) compared to those who live alone (46.4). However, this does not apply to single parents/guardians (average loneliness score of 48.2) – even though they live with children, they are more likely to be lonely.
- Only around half of Americans (53 percent) have meaningful in-person social interactions, such as having an extended conversation with a friend or spending quality time with family, on a daily basis.
- Generation Z (adults ages 18-22) is the loneliest generation and claims to be in worse health than older generations.
- Social media use alone is not a predictor of loneliness; respondents defined as very heavy users of social media have a loneliness score (43.5) that is not markedly different from the score of those who never use social media (41.7). 
Although smart society has a powerful influence on loneliness and isolation, it seems social media per se – like the rampant backdrop of consumerism – is not the primary cause, as has been discussed previously. (I will distill the specific factors at play in the next post).
Although a complex mix of epigenetic and environmental influences are operating, there may even be “a specific genetic basis for social isolation and social interaction” according to one study which was published in Nature earlier this year. Such findings have implications in tackling not only loneliness and isolation but obesity and mental health in general.  What’s more, it’s been known for over ten years that such a malaise might well be contagious as a kind of inversion of community coherence. Individuals who feel themselves trapped in this way foster distrust in others because they don’t trust their connections which leads to a block in the chain of exchange, thereby increasing the lack of skills needed for social integration on top of continuing isolation. (See graphic above). Loneliness is spread more among women than men and is more likely that such a contagion will be caught from friends rather than family. Which has implications for toxic ideologies like Western 4th Way feminism and the peer group chatter-base of social media-led friendships. 
Navigating around our current cultural and environmental box may mean a person becomes progressively locked into this feeling of isolation which can be extremely difficult to break, unless we willfully change our thinking. Those prone to loneliness may have a personality that is naturally introvert, and/or intellectual; experienced hurt or been traumatised in the past with the consequent hyper-sensitivity to pain and the circular thoughts that follow. This may provide over time, a fine analysis of other people’s psychology, a skill that is an advantage when it comes to limiting possible threats but creates an ironic repulsion of the very thing that the lonely so desperately wish for in their lives: social interaction and inclusion. When you are utterly focused on not being the butt of jokes; not being ridiculed or seeking out the “perfect” social grouping this tends to narrow the field to point zero. 
Quality rather than quantity seems to be the key. Closeness and meaningful relations are what’s more important, in the same way that intimacy over the conveyor belt of normalised sexual conquest is the only way authenticity can begin to flower within close relationships. A sense of belonging and coherence naturally develops meaning and purpose, and vice versa. Take care of one, and you’ll likely find the other. And the involvement of interests, cooperation and giving something back to one’s community is an antidote to the dangers of introspection that can all too easily become a self-absorbed indulgence. In this climate of group identity and tribalism, the spinning wheel of an individual’s negative thoughts amounts to a “safe space” from the reality of who we really are – warts and all. Overidentification can spin out of control which is why this individual struggle is often mirrored in a desperate wish to belong, at any cost, which usually means truth and objective reality are the casualties. Combined with our natural predisposition to please authority figures, you can see how useful this is to our power brokers.
This isn’t about enforcing a rigid moralism and running back to a time when religious authoritarianism laid down the rules. But the ultra-permissive chaos characterizing our culture now seriously lacks the boundaries and limitations that promote regulation. A lot of young people have no idea who they are where they are going, but they are pulled along relentlessly into the maw of Official Culture and all it requires of them. When they understand that society offers them nothing where it counts, they will pick almost anything that numbs the pain and offers a dopamine high as they travel down the roads laid out by cultural ideologues, rather than the cues from their naturally emerging selves.
Under the tutelage of a nurturing community with clear demarcations of inner and outer dialectical exploration that precious emergence can be guided onto the right tracks for maximum potential. Without the right guidance this transition from kindergarten to tween; teen to young adult effectively means being wrenched from childhood into adulthood with none of the social and spiritual knowledge required for enriching themselves and by extension, the culture of which they are a part. By “spiritual” I refer to that which nourishes the child and young adult with MEANING promotes health and joy. And meaning can only come from a community of people who look after each other in ways that go beyond our current paradigm.
Economist and social commentator Charles Hugh-Smith describes how the application of technology; a changing workplace; nomadic lifestyles and the disruption of the family unit are some of the key components of this new culture of isolation and emptiness. Here’s what he said in a recent podcast:
Our culture is ill.
Our families have been depreciated and demoralized. A lot of people don’t get along with their families. They don’t have any family connections. Or they see their relatives once every few years or something.
Of course this is understandable in an economy where we have where people are always moving around. You have to move for your job. Or you have to move for your kids’ schools. There’s a dozen reasons why you’ve got to move far away and then lose connection to your family of origin. Distance makes it much more difficult to maintain. But, however it occurs, this loss of sense of family is a core factor plaguing our culture.
Then there’s the erosion of values and faith. Those experiences are primary in their participants’ lives. You have got to have faith or value. Something you really value and you’re willing to sacrifice for. You find other people in the same boat. You’re going to have something that’s really exciting and positive. Everyone is going to get positive feedback when they join.
A strong belief in a value system will allow you to congregate around things. Like for artists it’s about finding a cheap place to live and sharing your art with other people who are just as excited about doing their art. That’s a value system. I will sacrifice everything else to support this. Shared values are the anchors or magnets for social engagement.
And when people congregate around shared values, there are positive social roles for everyone. In other words, you could be unemployed. You could be at a low point in your family. You could have a lot of things going wrong in your life. But when you show up for that organizational meeting, people brighten, “Hey, you’re here! We need you. Your contribution is important.”
It just makes an enormous difference in your outlook on life. Your demoralization goes away — at least, as long as you’re participating in community groups with positive social roles. 
The word is well-known and somewhat over-used. We have the “local community;” gay and Muslim communities for instance, but what does it really mean? Different things to different people. My use of the word is related to genuine self-sufficiency, autonomy and spiritual freedom that arises from people making the decision to re-enchant their lives to help their locality – economically, ecologically, socially and culturally. It is not remotely connected to a politician’s definition which is usually a skin-deep platitude designed to bolster his or her political ideology. The fact is, there is no official encouragement of community so defined, but the seeds of such a renewal are beginning to sprout in most nations. (More on this later in the series).
Community flourishes when it is not tied to a political slogan and the mechanisms of our failing social systems as we commonly understand them, nor when it is based on rigid beliefs. However, awareness of these realities needs to be understood if people with differing political and religious preferences are to work together. True vision arrives when we see how leftism and conservatism need each other – and other political preferences in between – if the community organism is to survive and thrive. Radicalism must play no part in this evolution. The success of that community – whether seven or seven-hundred – is only feasible when the individual remains autonomous within an overall set of shared values and goals. When the individual is free but willing to move in the same direction as the community it can develop organically with the flexibility of creative experimentation that allows mistakes and challenges to build knowledge and strength. In reality, this “self-sufficiency” is a shared process of bring forth a world designed around psycho-spiritual integrity and learned resilience. This is then translated into practical, functional tools and emblems of that process which characterise sustainable and self-evident progress for all.
When people feel a part of something that benefits them in practical ways and attends to their emotional and spiritual needs – however imperfect – then creative connectivity begins to build a group centre – a well-spring of energy that is both shared and sustained as a feedback loop of nourishment. And it is this centre, this heart of a community, that provides meaning and purpose -where it counts. With the individual finding meaning within an overall alignment of perennial values and principles and with real world applications, the community is enriched and enlivened. The greater the meaning and purpose the greater the ripple back of knowledge disbursement, leading to the optimal integrity of the centre.
In terms of political beliefs, we might say that the left ensures openness and change, the right offers caution and boundaries to that change. To honour these differences and to explore how they may fit into a mosaic of applications where everyone benefits is the antithesis of the State. To foster community in villages and towns is to give wings to conscience that thrives through the right social connections diverse in background but following the same values and principles. Such unrelenting faith and intention will unleash a creative power to which young people are naturally attuned.
And it is that “attunement” that we need to make sure they find once again.
To foster meaning and purpose and break the cycle of loneliness requires adaptation and flexibility. Nothing will ever be perfect since it is is the in the process of doing that one finds one’s place. The result will always be part of a greater cycle that is by nature, transitory and unpredictable. So, why look for what is an unattainable utopia? But we can do a heck of a lot better than we have now. In the same way, communitarianism will not work from institutional initiatives because it will be infected by the same agendas for social management seen for example, in the ubiquitous push for an Eco-SMART society (which I wrote about here and here). It has to emerge from an organic, grass-roots stimulus, a decentralisation that occurs away from Official Culture of the State. This is a quiet act of non-compliance. You cannot fight city hall as the saying goes, but you can ignore it as far as it is possible, and join others who choose to do the same.
The inner community of one is a personal quest which will naturally translate to an external expression. It means exploring the damaged psyche and finding the gaps in our awareness. It means understanding how far we are from our true calling and how best we can find the path of access back to balance. Rather than focusing too much on the why of the past, we can tell a new story beginning in the present and by healing the emotions locked in the body channeled in unproductive ways through the overactive mind. Any simple activities which ground the emotions and establishes coherence and cooperation by sharing group endeavour will serve to naturally open up lost pathways to the soul, as well as repairing neurological branches within the brain which had long since been “burnt” away by hurt and pain. In time, this will lead to purpose. You can be sure that such an effort will reap dividends as the fabric of our Universe responds to effort as opposed to apathy. This is a natural law.
Since greater purpose and meaning in life protects against the aging of the brain; reduces death from all causes; creates a happier and more fulfilled life, with greater longevity and health, it makes an awful lot of sense to make this quest a priority. Loneliness can be remedied and mental illness ameliorated, or even eliminated, over time. Jumping headlong into complex issues encouraged by activism-focused university courses will not address the core issues in the same way that imposing mathematical/logical testing on preschool kids will not encourage a healthy template for their future. Regarding the former, all it does for students is to feed their entitlements and divert their creativity into ideological false promises and for the latter, interfere and impair the natural, neurological development of the child, where learning is associated with imposed stress wholly alien to the type of education these children need. When reaching young adulthood, certain personality types will opt for liberal arts courses where the coalition of SJW tribalism, media and activist-prone courses will mean minds already primed for indoctrination from institutionalised ideology, which right now, happens to be radical leftism.
There is nothing wrong with activating a social conscience in the same way there is nothing wrong with studying esoteric wisdom traditions. Both need a very careful, graduated approach so that the individual is in a position to cope with complexity and nuance when the time is right. History, in this respect, is the story of running before we can walk which only adds to noise and chaos. Perhaps young people need to start small, one step at a time and in a chronological sequence that offers clear, goal-based delineated progress. You adapt to the requirements of the time and have an active part in re-writing your own story thereby honouring the powerful potential of the unconscious to adapt to your new thinking. Matching your inner intention with sensible, simple and pragmatic outer actions will deliver change and the support to see it through. 
We don’t need to have grand visions of changing the world. We start the process of changing ourselves and the rest will follow, most notably those closest to us and in our immediate locale. Otherwise we are wide open to evil – either by apathy or by active participation. Evil spreads its pathogen cumulatively, through our ignorance of unconscious forces let loose into the world. Our job is to see them, reign them in and understand their presence in our psyche and how they might effect others. This is one of the most honourable (albeit ambitious) quests you can encounter. It is the true meaning of the hero or warrior myth. We must start small in a similar vein to Nature’s cycles of growth: in generally takes time, will, sacrifice and a lot of effort through a form of conscious suffering set up from a conscious choice. When applied to healing oneself and finding purpose with others reality WILL respond. The late Polish playwright, dissident and prime minister of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel phrased it this way:
“Everything starts with the smallest of things. People don’t have to invent visions of a better world. It’s enough to start behaving politely with those around them in accordance with their consciences. Not in a way that would cause that unpleasant feeling of being tainted. And it’s enough for them to do it in their own microworld.” 
This is why clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson emphasises “standing up straight with your shoulders back” and cleaning up your room.  By starting small we step by step, develop humility and the self-confidence to tackle the ABC of life therefore avoid hypocrisy and burnout when the bigger issues draw our attention. And our world is designed to seduce you from that creative potential by draining your essential energy into a variety of addictions – grand or small. The world needs people who have earned the wisdom to care because it will be the kind of social conscience that can recognise the dangerous errors of education as ideology and the patterns of psychopathy appearing in the workplace and our institutions; where the development of conscience is not a fake altrusim to feel wanted or special but has been seeded as a result of the struggle with the unknown and the will, trust and faith to see it through. It is then that we bring forth something uniquely creative and useful to community. In combination with certain catastrophic events, it may be then that the very structure of Official Culture and the technosphere will begin to see an exodus to other forms of living that will slowly restrict its human and material energy supply.
Many of us have likely been so beaten down by life that we are confronted with the realisation that enforcing reality to conform to our little preconceptions and presumptions we invite more chaos into our lives than harmony. By seeing that life may have dealt us a series of blows perhaps designed to wake us up, we retain the opportunity to see the past clearly and whatever role we played in it, thereby choosing the responsibility to carve a new future for ourselves. Acknowledging that we have regrets and some “issues” is part and parcel of seeing ourselves as we really are with no bullshit whatsoever. Perhaps that is our primary mission above all else, if we desire to be of service to others, thus ourselves. It is only then that we will be useful to our friends, family and colleagues because we will be actively building that integrated community of one, in order to create the potential of community in our locale.
Or we can just project our angst into the world, gain some relief but put off personal growth – the reason for our existence.
Purpose can be anything that interests and drives you; whatever gives a sense of enjoyment and passion for life. But what gives it meaning beyond our own self-interest is the service we can provide to others. And the choice to share our skills, however humble we may perceive them to be, happens almost by default once we have genuinely begun the process of addressing the core source of our own obstacles. We discover that the deep meaning to life that arises from helping others echoes the suffering that we endured on the road to a more harmonious personality and as such, we access empathy and conscience; we learn to decentralise the self. Paradoxically, by focusing less on ourselves, we receive much more in return as a mathematical certainty.
But here’s the kicker: when you begin to access the nature of an underlying connectivity that exists between people with the intention to give without seeking to get, one’s moral compass and the axis of values which lie upon it become exponentially heightened, affecting others in ways we may not be able to immediately see as empirical proof, but nevertheless flow through the network of connections.  Create goodness for others create goodness in yourself. Hold on to constriction within yourself expect constriction in others.
Expansion that runs along the tracks of ethical and moral knowledge facilitates expansion in others as a ripple effect. When you feel good you want to share it. When you change your inner environment and symbolise this by constructively changing the environment in which you live this also reaches others. Life is inexhaustively symbolic and welcomes unidirectional transformation. There IS help out there. But we must learn its symbolic language. When that process is repeated and “grooved” and based on tangible results it becomes amplified through simple emotional resonance and feedback, not only to the original individual as instigator and facilitator but throughout the community as a whole.
Young men desperately need meaning and purpose to DO and to act. Young women desperately need meaning and purpose to nurture and receive. Yes, they can flip over and interchange – these are not cliches or stereotypes fixed in stone, but hard-wired, biological facts which can flexibly translate into an almost infinite diversity of applications to enrich a community.
A purely Darwinian interpretation of social groups only goes so far and may even work for a psychopathic worldview. Obviously, that is not a culture thriving on conscience but one that uses the majority to furnish a minority addiction to power for its own sake. Normal human beings are more than that; cooperation and altruism correctly applied determines whether or not we live life lightly, simply and creatively or merely survive. Trust and faith regarding that truism can only arrive by experimentation and by pushing through the fear and misery that would have you remain with what you know – even if that’s horribly bleak as you set out. The very effort to break the pattern of constriction WILL be met with a response.
Isolation and loneliness are poisonous to the individual and the promise of community and play a significant role in the misery of the young. And of course, it’s a round robin: if one is anxious or depressed then it tends to decrease motivation, impair the quality and length of sleep; increase isolation and therefore one’s sense of purpose. So, it will be equally obvious that a support network to provide simple human connections is essential. Whether it is loneliness or addictions – we all need support and CONTACT, a fact that has been proven time again in countless studies.
“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.”
―George Bernard Shaw
The suffering that comes from loneliness is the painful motivator, which is true of life in general. This is the value of suffering: it makes us stronger – if we bite the bullet. Until that person either gets so switched off and depressed or s/he begins to get positively “angry” and release the courage to seek a way out, self-pity and victimhood mentality will keep him trapped in that pit of despair. Seeking genuine connections with others has to be one of the greatest motivators – even if it takes us a few introspective trials and dead-ends to get there. Unless we attempt to carefully pull ourselves out of that pit, we may be subject to a serious decline in our mental and physical health. Loneliness is not just comparable to obesity as a threat to longevity in younger generations, each may be inextricably tied up with the other when it comes to toxic stress in childhood. 
There ARE very real material and existential threats to our peace of mind and material well-being. They are designed to stimulate our highest potential; to act as a mirror for an opposite creative ideal, should we choose to take it. Without such friction we would remain the robots or zombies responding mechanically to biochemical cues – exactly how our predator overlords like it. And this is really the point….
Do we continue to be victims of our pathological culture, pay our taxes and elect local and national leaders that can only offer the same abject bullshit over and over again? Or do begin to carefully build something different within and help others do the same? And the funny thing is, once you begin that process a community of responses arrive through the human connections you make.
Community emerges from the development of one’s own microworld.
* = the property of a living system (such as a bacterial cell or a multicellular organism) that allows it to maintain and renew itself by regulating its composition and conserving its boundaries” | The notion of autopoiesis is at the core of a shift in perspective about biological phenomena: it expresses that the mechanisms of self-production are the key to understand both the diversity and the uniqueness of the living. —Francisco J. Varela, in Self-Organizing Systems: An Interdisciplinary Approach, 1981 (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
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