By Trevor K. McNeil
I am self-isolating. I have to admit I am rethinking some old assumptions. Such as, what is important? What is not important? Since I was a kid, adults have told me to “sort out your priorities.” Something that is usually easier said than done. Not least because the reasons for my priorities tend to be individualized to me. What I want, and what my mother, or my neighbor, for that matter, are not the same. Certainly the individualization of priorities makes the notion of shared or “fundamental” values, as applies to the human race, something of an absurdity.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
The closest thing to a ranking of needs or priorities, is Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”. Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist, who wrote about human needs. In 1943 he wrote, “Theory of Human Motivation”. He admitted some of his work and writings were based on observation and some good old-fashioned guess work. Maslow believed people are motivated to fulfill a certain set of basic needs. Maslow used a five tier pyramid to depict those needs.The base of the pyramid is physiological, the most basic of needs: air, food, water, excrement and sex.
ISOLATED AND LOVING IT
By Trevor K. McNeil
As Bad As It Seems?
Humans are social animals. So we are repeatedly told. As with most sweeping generalizations, however, the earlier statement isn’t really true. Do humans show a tendency toward preferring social groups? Certainly. There is also a sizable minority, known by many, usually derisive names; that do not easily fit into the standard “social” description. It is these people who are likely to fare best in the current situation, in which self-isolation and social distancing have become the order of the day. They have been social distancing and in a state of self-isolation for years.
Just A Little Bit Different
People who purposefully isolate, or at the very least don’t mind if they are isolated, include many of the estimated 700,000 individuals on the Autism spectrum. While every case is different one of the main features of most forms of Autism is a degree of social awkwardness. This usually stems from a difficulty reading social cues, even if such cues are understood. Which can easily lead to social gaffs when interacting with others. As such, many on the spectrum avoid social contact. There are also people who self-isolate because they are introverts, and prefer to keep their own company. These folks, when given a choice, would rather stay home and read, or go on-line, than go to a party on Friday night.
There is nothing wrong with willful self-isolation, particularly in terms of the on-line world. A high percentage of modern internet technology was specifically designed to connect people. As the first half of the term “social media” indicates. It is easy to forget, with all the wi-bang hype and spectacle, but the internet was, originally, an extension of the telephone. The connection was made through a land line in something called “dial-up.” People were once skeptical of the telephone, certain that people would stop talking face-to-face. Just as with other predictions regarding new technology this forecast turned out to be dead wrong.