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Reply To: The Power of the Personal,” with Mythologist Dennis Slattery, Ph.D.”


    Thank you Shaheda for such a powerful insight into exactly what I was attempting to address; which the term I was unaware of had already been identified as: “Social Isolation”. And one of the horrific results that can come about if not understood within it’s proper context is starting to finally gain attention as it is now coming to be realized from your extraordinary piece in the outrageous tragedy of “KIRS”. The psychological dimensions of this nightmare atrocity are beyond human comprehension that such unbelievable treatment of any child could be hidden for so long; and because of race like the holocaust must never be allowed to occur again goes without saying. And even though the depths of human depravity and abuse have been recognized throughout history this takes that realization to a whole other level considering; as she so adamantly pointed out: “that no one would attempt to even listen”!

    Although nowhere near as extreme I want to make a connection about “listening and being heard” to an even larger scale because it hasn’t been noticed like it needs to be flying under the radar for so long and only now as the Corona virus has emerged has exacerbated it into full devastating view. In many ways we are becoming increasingly disconnected from each other and this evidence is everywhere hiding in plain sight under the radar of our everyday social consciousness as I’ll show you why.

    Below I will leave a copy of an article that continually kept popping up on my newsfeed yesterday that illustrates what I’m talking about.


    Associated Press
    Poll: Millions in US struggle through life with few to trust
    Thu, June 10, 2021, 7:00 AM

    NEW YORK (AP) — Karen Glidden’s loneliness became unbearable during the coronavirus pandemic.
    The 72-year-old widow, who suffers from vision loss and diabetes and lives far from any relatives, barely left her house in Champion, Michigan, this past year, for fear of contracting the virus. Finally vaccinated, she was looking forward to venturing out when her beloved service dog died last month.

    It doesn’t help that her circle of trusted friends has dwindled to one neighbor she counts on to help her shop, get to the doctor and hang out.

    “I feel like I’m in a prison most of the time and once in a while, I get to go out,” said Glidden, whose adult children live in California and Hawaii, where she was born and raised.

    She is not alone in her sense of social isolation.

    Millions of Americans are struggling through life with few people they can trust for personal and professional help, a disconnect that raises a key barrier to recovery from the social, emotional and economic fallout of the pandemic, according to a new a poll from The Impact Genome Project and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

    The poll finds 18% of U.S. adults, or about 46 million people, say they have just one person or nobody they can trust for help in their personal lives, such as emergency child care needs, a ride to the airport or support when they fall sick. And 28% say they have just one person or nobody they can trust to help draft a resume, connect to an employer or navigate workplace challenges.

    The isolation is more acute among Black and Hispanic Americans. Thirty-eight percent of Black adults and 35% of Hispanic adults said they had only one or no trusted person to help navigate their work lives, compared with 26% of white adults. In their personal lives, 30% of Hispanic adults and 25% of Black adults said they have one or no trusted people, while 14% of white adults said the same.

    Researchers have long debated the idea that the U.S. has suffered from a decline in social capital, or the value derived from personal relationships and civic engagement.

    The General Social Survey, a national representative survey conducted by NORC since 1972, suggests that the number of people Americans feel they can trust had declined by the early 2000s, compared with two decades earlier, although there is little consensus about the extent of this isolation or its causes. The rise of social media has added another layer of debate, as experts explore whether it broadens networks or lures people in isolating echo chambers.

    The Impact Genome/AP-NORC poll sought to measure how much social capital Americans can count as they try to pick up the pieces of lives fractured by the pandemic. The findings suggest that for many Americans, the pandemic has chipped away at whatever social capital they had going into it.

    Americans were more likely to report a decline than an increase in the number of people they could trust over the past year. Just 6% of Americans said their network of trusted people grew, compared with 16% who reported that it shrank. While the majority of Americans said the number of people they could trust stayed the same, nearly 3 in 10 said they asked for less support from family and friends because of COVID-19.

    Community bonds have proved to be critical to recovery from calamities such as Superstorm Sandy in 2012, said Jennifer Benz, deputy director of The AP-NORC Center.

    But the nature of the pandemic made those bonds difficult or even impossible to maintain. Schools, community centers, churches, synagogues and mosques closed. People couldn’t ask neighbors or grandparents for help with child care or other needs for fear of spreading the virus.

    About half of Americans are engaged in civic groups such as religious institutions, schools or community service groups, according to the new poll. And 42% of all adults said they have become less involved with civic groups during the pandemic, compared with just 21% who said they became more engaged.

    “Compared to the way social capital can be leveraged in other disasters, the key difference has been that this is a disaster where your civic duty was to be on your own,” Benz said.

    Surveys from the Pew Research Center suggested that relocation increased during the pandemic. While some people moved to be closer to family, more relocated because of job loss or other financial stresses.

    Warlin Rosso, 29, has moved often in pursuit of financial stability, often at the cost of his social ties.

    He left behind his entire family, including 14 siblings, when he immigrated to the U.S. five years ago from the Dominican Republic. He worked at a warehouse in Chicago for three years, sharing an apartment with a girlfriend. But when that relationship fell apart, he couldn’t afford to move out on his own. In December 2019, he relocated to Jackson, Mississippi, where a childhood friend let him move in.

    That friend, Rosso said, remains the only person in Jackson he can trust for help. As the pandemic closed in, Rosso struggled in a city where the Hispanic community is tiny.

    Through social media, he found work with a Nicaraguan man who owned a construction business. Later, he found a training program that landed him a job as hospital aide.

    His co-workers are friendly, but he feels isolated. Sometimes, he said, patients bluntly ask to be helped by a non-Latino worker. He hopes eventually to get a similar job back in Chicago, where he has friends.

    “It’s not always welcoming for Hispanics here,” Rosso said. “Here, I’m alone.”
    The AP-NORC poll of 2,314 adults was conducted March 25-April 15 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.


    This is only one of a number of pieces that have been becoming more and more visible about what Covid has helped to bring into view about our increasing social dilemma that underlines what is happening to the human condition because of an increasing rise in our inability to connect with each other on a deep interpersonal level and it’s global. This is the face of our new normal that modern society is presenting that we as human beings must figure out how to address. Social media is both a cause and a savior in many senses because it allows us the ability to interface and interact globally in real time; but at the same time it also in many ways isolates us into separate groups. Modern computer based technology has through the internet become both a boon and an invasive and controlling force; and with the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence with also begin to sculpt our perception of reality in ways we aren’t even aware of such as the use of misinformation for instance.

    As Shaheda so precisely and articulately pointed out our ability to: “Listen and be Heard” I think is going to become increasingly more important because as these two pieces illustrate we have only scratched the veneer of a very deep inner need that lies festering underneath the surface of our everyday lives. We are disconnected in a way we are only beginning to realize the scope of as can be seen in the rise of hate groups and growing animosity between people who don’t even know each other and have lost this ability to listen; be heard; and to feel like they have a place at the table of our larger human family.

    There is no way this humble little entry can truly identify the larger landscape of this ever growing concern that Covid among other things has begun to reveal; but the ability of people to get to know themselves underneath the surface of their normal everyday conscious I think is going to become a more important part of the demands of future everyday life looking ahead. And simple little things like learning how to write about oneself and reflect on who you are and to know you are not alone I think will not only be desirable but critical for the basic mental health of the society in which they live. Perhaps a new way of integrating religion might be a possibility; but so far there are definite problems that are going to have to be resolved. And maybe this is not doable in the near future; but looking into the distance it may be unavoidable if we as human beings are going to be able to survive; because looming in the distance is climate change and global warming and not just a virus that’s already brought us to an uncertain future which we must figure out how to negotiate looking ahead.

    Shaheda offers a powerful reminder of what can happen if we just turn our backs and say: “it’s always been this way”; but as Joseph Campbell also reminded us; even though the world has always been a mess and you are not going to change that reality of life eating life; you participate in it. You can make a choice and engage in this wonderous Operatic nightmare that Joseph describes; or you can continue to be locked in the cage of your own never ending pain which like Joseph also describes: (would be like: “a madman screaming at bughouse walls”). Jung saw this approaching darkness of the human condition coming down the road when he warned about mankind’s future and that we must confront our shadow and integrate it. And I think if we as human beings can learn how to listen and be heard we will be one step closer to opening this door and seeing not only who we are, but who we can become. And Dennis we so appreciate your spending your time and offering your insights so we may better understand how better to accomplish these things.