You can be good. You can do good.
Grabbing a milkshake and just talking, sitting, enjoying the sun and caring about another person.
Let me let you know, the little things matter. We live in a world where people are lonely, not just weirdos, outsiders and aberrations. You and me, everyone needs people:
I think there’s a fundamental crisis of loneliness in our time that we don’t know how to think about. The average American had 3.2 friends in 1990. I mean Aristotelian friends: people that when you’re happy, they feel happy, and when you’re sad, they hurt, not because they choose it, but just because they love you. The way we parent. When my daughters or my son, when they hurt, I don’t make a choice to hurt, I just hurt. I love them.
The average American who had over 3 friends 25 years ago has about 1.8 friends today, halving in 25 years. Forty percent of Americans have no confidantes. We can’t make sense of how bad that ache hurts and how much people are projecting onto politics a hope that we could solve deep crises of the soul and of local community
That’s Ben Sasse.
There’s an essay floating around about how “the 90s were better” because we were better people then. Technology was less isolating, and our worlds were at once smaller, more manageable and as a result grander and happier. That’s what that author thought and what Sasse’s reference seems to suggest.
I’m here to tell you that nothing has changed, not really. People aren’t different. We don’t need different things. Morals, like our very nature, are immutable and whether we recognize the truth of their external weight on us does not affect them one bit. Our vices though, our normative action and general transgression changes over time.
In the past, the physical world forced forbearance. In the way you try not to make conflict with your coworkers but more oppressive, every waking moment. All this contact with other people though…. might have been good. In a world where we as a default opt out of every relationship, more unhealthy behavior occurs than a world with this “oppressive” structure. Well that’s the theory.
But the moral weight is still there and knowledge of a moral standard demands choice. Even if the shape of our reality makes every relationship an opt in relationship we should never stop trying to opt in. If people matter, we need to make them matter.
So drink some lemonade with that kid from church who wants to pick your brain. Ask to cook your family members dinner (or just order a pizza and lounge) . Sit and Talk. Enjoy the weather. Go for a walk. Swim out to a raft and lie on your back. Look at the stars, the clouds, passing people or cute dogs. But please do it with someone and care about them.
Make the time, make the choice and make the world just a little bit brighter.