“I get theories like some people get headaches,” I told a friend a few minutes ago. Well, I got one, and now I’m writing it down.
Why do we even interact with other people, amirite? Empirically, the answer seems to be “Because you have to.” Take away that need—that is, introduce Amazon, Netflix, and working from home, and someone can exist in a crowded city for days without talking to anyone.
I mean, c’mon, reader: I’m more interesting than your next-door neighbor, right? Plus I never ask to borrow anything.
That we can meet our needs without our neighbors means our neighbors can meet their needs without us.
Thus the bar for “getting people to spend time with you” has been raised. You are competing with Netflix, Amazon, and any of a million wonderful, great, fun, but nevertheless competing-with-you hobbies that our modern bounty has made accessible.
When people speak of the ‘hypersexualization’ of contemporary culture—a very real phenomenon—we should keep in mind that the ‘sex’ here is itself de-sexualized. It is the ‘sex’ of pornography, masturbation, intentional sterility, homosexuality etc.
Once there was a bull who, aware of the stereotype, determined to be careful and judicious in all his conduct. “First, do no harm,” was a phrase he’d heard the vet mutter, and he thought it was an excellent motto.
Wandering in the pasture, he chanced upon an ant colony. “How do, ants?” “Things are on schedule!” they replied, with unsubtle head-gestures to the nearby grasshoppers. The bull went on his way, proud of himself for not stepping on the mound.
Spring came, and with it rain. With his superior vantage point (five feet off the ground) the bull saw a small current of water coming for the ant mound—that is, a “small current” for him, but for the ants a diluvian cataclysm.
“Ants, the flood’s coming, time to go!” he warned, but they weren’t sure if he meant that like, metaphorically, or whatever. And some didn’t really trust him, for past un-bull-like behavior (what kind of bull tries to avoid ant mounds?)
To be sure, he could have dug them up with his big, powerful hooves, but this might damage his relationship with the ants.
So they died.