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Alienation As Natural

Updated: May 10

As of writing this article, I recently kicked myself out of Quora, the site for which I dedicated 4 years of my life and even got a reward for participating. However, when I announced I was leaving, only one person told me goodbye, and business went as usual.

Now that I've returned to Facebook to attract more traffic, I have no choice but to send friend requests to random people, hoping that my site will be of value to them. One of them wished me good luck and disconnected, and another one just blocked me without a word, as if I were a "used-car salesman".

Although I wasn't offended by recent events and interactions with the world, I now understand that alienation is something very natural in our world. Why? Because when there are billions of people in the world, none of us are taught to see them as our friends, associates, or whatever. Our perception remains tribal in estimation -- only family, friends, partner(s), and other associates are those who are most important to the average person.

Even if you are to live in a small country, such as Israel, with around 8–9 million people, as long as you are not associated with anyone someone else knows, that someone else will tag you as a "stranger," AKA, a person of the lowest priority, if there is even a priority to them.

I've become a stranger to many people over the course of my solitary life. It isn't that I do something wrong. It's just the natural order of human relationships. Why? Because once business is done with that someone, and that someone is beyond friends and family, then that person is irrelevant. You could be very close to each other, like lovers, and still become alienated from one another eventually when you break up.

The human mind seems to be very functionalistic regarding human relationships. Each person can have a function of its own for us, and, thus, a different value. That is, unless you adopt a more universal perception, and treat everyone equally. Of course, equal treatment is very hard because we are individuals with different relationships with one another. If you love someone very much, then according to this method, you must love every single being with the same intensity of love. That's what makes this method very impractical, even if it is the ideal thing to do.

The "tribal" method, on the other hand, is what most, if not all, of us have towards our own humanity. It doesn't matter if you're religious or atheist, creationist or evolutionist. Most, if not all, of us aspire to have a clear hierarchy of importance for the people we encounter in our lives. It's a way to distinguish a friend from an enemy, a friend from a stranger, and a loved one from someone you don't have feelings of love for.

This paradigm leads to the inevitable conclusion that alienation is natural. Why? Because there is a limit to everyone's set of priorities towards the many fellow humans that exist. You can't expect everyone to be your friend, unless you're very naive. You can't realistically expect to love everyone the same as your loved one, because it would make your loved one far less distinct than everyone else.

When I was blocked by that guy on Facebook, it was because we didn't know each other at all. Perhaps, in a different timeline, we would know each other, and then he would try giving this site a visit.

See how biased people are in regards to recognition. The more of a stranger you are, the more people would either prefer to stay away from you or be interested in knowing you (unless they're faking it and they're scammers). On the other hand, if we take the same example from the previous paragraph, and I'd be world famous instead, to the point he'd know me, maybe then he wouldn't have blocked me, after I told him of my site.

In plots of fiction, some characters die because they have lost their relevance to the general plot. Their deaths symbolize the fact that they are no longer needed in the story. Some are minor characters, some are major ones, but in the end, the protagonist alone may live up until the end of the story, simply because even in fiction, there is a hierarchy of importance for all characters.

It doesn't matter how attractive, smart, or beloved these characters are. In the end, once they have served their purpose, the writer needs to make the decision to kill them off or at least pull them away from the story, once they are no longer needed for good. Perhaps they will come back as cameos, perhaps they will only be mentioned by ear. As long as there is this hierarchy, maintaining all the cast of characters would be very difficult, especially if you have plenty of side characters.

Alienation is therefore a natural consequence for people who are less important in the eyes of other people. It isn't that the former necessarily did anything wrong. It's just that they are no longer needed, or so certain people may think.

When I was a kid and I played my favorite game of Suikoden IV, where you have to assemble a force of warriors, I recall a certain character thinking about what will be of him after the events of the game, AKA, a conflict between two nations. When I read this as a kid I felt sad, because I wanted all the people in my ship to forever stay with me and not depart, each to their own.

Many of these characters were so minor, they weren't even included (or mentioned) in the game's spin-off sequel. Still, even then, I liked the thought of having people around me. People I can interact with, and never have to be separated from unless it is inevitable.

I personally don't really have the "guts" to "get rid" of people, no matter how minor they are in my life. I understand that alienation may be natural in general, but it isn't natural for me, regardless of whether I'm the rejector or the rejected. There are exceptions, but still.

This is my contribution to 2021's World Philosophy Day, celebrated every third Thursday of November.

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Michelle Ewens
Michelle Ewens
18 Kas 2021

Young people may resonate more with your writing. Quora is filled with older folks. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death amongst people ages 16-24. There is your audience. They need philosophy to learn how to use their perception to discover meaning.

Şu kişiye cevap veriliyor:

Interesting insight. Note taken. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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