In my personal opinion, modern life has become very detached.
There are a number of potential causes: social media, celebrity culture, late-stage capitalism, etc.
The end result is a world where we are super connected but super alone; it is cool to not respond to texts and obligations, and lame to engage with people.
A telling example is a recent experience I had during a cave tour in Tennessee.
During this tour, we would occasionally pass other groups who had finished their tour. My little brother, who was quite excited, held his hand out enthusiastically for a high-five when people passed. Legitimately, only 3-4 out of 20-30 people actually gave high-fives back. Additionally, most people would NOT make eye contact. It was ridiculous. At one point, I even tried starting multiple casual conversations such as “This cave is cool, huh” or “this tour is taking forever.” People literally would not respond. It felt a bit like I was a NPC in a video-game.
Maybe, I have some glaring flaw that no one has told me about during my 21 years of life. However, I haven’t heard of my huge flaw yet despite having been to a large sample size of countries, conferences, events, concerts, etc. So, I don’t think its me.
In any case, I’ve gotten over this odd social world of ghosting, laziness, judgement, and suspicion. I’ve realized that people are NOT worth stressing over.
I have however found something worth stressing over: my life-force.
Discussed frequently in the Hindu tradition and other spiritual practices, life-force is the force that dictates our internal state. In scientific terms, life-force would be our nervous system (the brain and nerves).
To put it simply, when we stress, we weaken our life-force. And, when we engage in positive thoughts and contentment, our life-force increases.
Focus on your life-force if you’d like contentment, a subtle happiness, and motivation. Focusing on approval from others will only bring uncertainty.
Additionally, I hope my generation is ready for the consequences of its ghosting, judgement culture. Once we are past our youth, our social market value will change. We will start seeking friends only to find that we pushed most of them away. At least, we are superior to those losers who tried to build friendships. Right?
[Recommended reading: The Science of Yoga by Swami Nityananda]