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American Relationships And The Blindness Of Social Wealth


      It has been my experience that those of us with loving, close families, good and loyal friends, and quality relationships with our neighbors, co- workers, and within our communities, are socially wealthy.

      It has been widely documented that loneliness and social isolation affect many in our culture, which lead to a multitude of miserable issues, including health problems; yet loneliness is rarely discussed.

      David Brooke, the author of the following opinion piece, believes that loneliness is instigated, or at least supported, by online interactions rather than those that are "in person;'" and that those who rely on relationships online can be socially poverty stricken, often lonely.

      It is Mr. Brooke's contention that those of us who are socially wealthy may not understand how socially poor people live.

      The Author begins with a story:

      Bob Hall was a rancher. In 1936, in the midst of the Depression, he was suffering from a cancer that was eating the flesh on the side of his face. His ranch had dwindled to nearly nothing, and weeks after bankers took the last of his livestock, Hall died, leaving his family deeply in debt.

      His sons pleaded with anybody they could find to make a loan and save the family ranch. No one would do it. Finally, in desperation, they went to their neighbor, Buzz Newton, who was known for his miserliness, and asked him to co-sign a loan. “I always thought so much of your dad; he was the most generous man I have known,” Newton answered. “Yes, I’ll co-sign the note.”

      Bob Hall’s grandson, also named Robert Hall, drew out the lesson in his book “This Land of Strangers,” noting: “The truth is, relationships are the most valuable and value-creating resource of any society. They are our lifelines to survive, grow and thrive.”

      There's a mountain of evidence suggesting that the quality of our relationships has been in steady decline for decades. In the 1980s, 20 percent of Americans said they were often lonely. Now it's 40 percent. Suicide rates are now at a 30 year high. Depression rates have increased tenfold since 1060, which is not only a result of greater reporting. Most children born to mothers under 30 are born outside of marriage. there's been a steady decline in Americans' satisfaction with the peer to peer relationships at work.

      Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy summarized his experience as a doctor in an article in September in The Harvard Business Review: “During my years caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.”

      Patients came to see him partly because they were lonely, partly because loneliness made them sick. Weak social connections have health effects similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and a greater negative effect than obesity, he said.

      Over the past five years, such trends have abruptly gotten worse. In 2012, 5.9 percent of young people suffered from severe mental health issues. By 2015 it was 8.2 percent.

      Last year, Jean Twenge wrote a much-discussed article for The Atlantic, “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation,” charting the accelerating social collapse. Teenagers are suddenly less likely to date, less likely to leave the home without their parents, more likely to put off the activities of adulthood. They are spending more time alone with their digital screens, and the greater the screen time, the greater the unhappiness. Eighth graders who are heavy users of social media are 27 percent more likely to be depressed.

      I summarize all this because loneliness and social isolation are the problem that undergird many of our other problems. More and more Americans are socially poor. And yet it is very hard for the socially wealthy to even see this fact. It is the very nature of loneliness and social isolation to be invisible. We talk as if the lonely don’t exist.

      I was really struck by this last week, when Mark Zuckerberg came through Washington. Most of the questions he faced at the congressional hearings and most of the analysis in the press were about Facebook’s failure to protect privacy. That’s the sort of thing that may be uppermost on your mind if you are socially wealthy, if, like most successful politicians and analysts, you live within a thick web of connection and feel as if your social schedule is too full.

      But the big issue surrounding Facebook is not privacy. It’s that Facebook and other social media companies are feeding this epidemic of loneliness and social isolation. It’s not only that heavy social media users are sadder. It’s not only that online life seems to heighten painful comparisons and both inflate and threaten the ego. It’s that heavy internet users are much less likely to have contact with their proximate neighbors to exchange favors and extend care. There’s something big happening to the social structure of neighborhoods.

      The British anthropologist Robin Dunbar observes that human societies exist on three levels: the clan (your family and close friends), the village (your local community) and the tribe (your larger group). In America today you would say that the clans have polarized, the villages have been decimated and the tribes have become weaponized.

      That is, some highly educated families have helicopter parents while less fortunate families have absent parents. The middle ring cross-class associations of town and neighborhood have fallen apart. People try to compensate for the lack of intimate connection by placing their moral and emotional longings on their political, ethnic and other tribes, turning them viciously on each other.

      The mass migration to online life is not the only force driving these trends, but it is a big one. Such big subjects didn’t come up in the Zuckerberg hearings because socially wealthy and socially poor people experience Facebook differently and perceive reality and social problems differently. It’s very hard to quantify and communicate the decline in quality of relationships. But it is nonetheless true that many of us who are socially wealthy don’t really know how the other half lives.


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          A Slight Quirk With Yabberz


              It was just brought to my attention via private message that a person asked me to stop duplicating posts. As far as I know, I have not duplicated anyone's post but to that person they might see it differently. How could that be? Easy. Posts may be duplicated but unbeknownst to those people doing it because they may be blocked by a person who posts the same article or they may have that person blocked. Either way it neither person sees the other's post therefore duplication can happen.

              There has been times when people do post the same topic of discussion but the discussions are based around different sources and not the same news source so there may be a different slant.

              And then again, people just may post the topic with the same source and who is to know who was first to post? I don't know if it can be done but under the headline of each discussion it does say....started 4-10-2018 which is the date but would be better if the time were added as well so people know who started the discussion first.

              Just a thought.

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              Why Dogs Love Us.


                  You’re not just imagining it: There’s substantial research to support the claim that dogs truly adore their owners. An animal behaviorist confirms to Inverse there are all sorts of chemical goodness going on in puppies’ brains when they’re around us. It’s even purer than you think.

                  While we don’t know exactly how long ago humans started domesticating dogs, some scientists think our friendship could go as far back as 40,000 years. Dogs have continued to grow alongside humanity, from helping us hunt mammoths to chasing after sticks. We’ve loved them all along the way, and apparently, the feeling is mutual.

                  “Of course dogs love their people!” animal behavior consultant Amy Shojai tells Inverse. “The hormone oxytocin is released (in both dogs and people) when they interact/have contact with someone they like. This ‘love hormone’ helps cement and increase the bond we share … it’s also the hormone that floods the system of new moms to amp up attachment to new babies.”

                  Just the scent of their person is enough to make a dog happy. A 2015 study published in the journal Behavioural Processes found that dogs connect their owner’s unique smell to pleasure. By utilizing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans — which measure brain nerve cell levels — the researchers got an inside look at how dogs responded to their humans’ scent versus familiar dogs, unfamiliar dogs, and unfamiliar people. The team found that when the pups smelled their owners, it activated a reward center in their brain called the caudate nucleus. They didn’t react the same to any other scent.

                  Jonesy as a pup.

                  We also know that dogs respond positively when we talk to them in that ridiculous high-pitched voice we all do. As Inverse previously reported, researchers at the University of York recently found that dogs respond more positively to dog-directed speech (DDS) than when we talk to them like people.

                  Scientists had 37 dogs listen to people talking to them in “dog-speak” — that high-pitched voice, coupled with “dog-relevant” phrases (e.g. “Who’s a good dog? You are!”). Participants would then talk to dogs in a flat done about ordinary things (e.g. “So, I went to the movies last night”). The dogs overwhelmingly preferred dog-speak, which the researchers compared to the way people talk to babies.

                  Eliza, Franky, and MaggieEliza, Franky, and Maggie

                  We may never understand all the mysteries swirling in our puppies’ minds. But we do know one thing for sure: Dogs are good, and we’re better humans because of them.

                  Here’s one more picture of a dog. You deserve it.

                  Ernesto in his natural habitat.

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