Pathologically Independent

Poison is in the Dose

US popular culture is pathologically individualistic. Some of your perception of over-dependence is likely a healthy amount of dependence within a chronically under-dependent culture. This is not inevitable; it’s a result of perverse incentives and people acting in (individually rational) self-interest. It doesn’t have to be this way.

(Actual over-dependence and maladaptive co-dependence are another matter. Those need to be approached on different terms. In such cases, seek professional help.)

There’s a lot of genuine, chronic, often generational family dysfunction caused by both that same over-individualism and by consumerism.

The realtor-lead push for home ownership, for example, breaks up multi-generational households. Grandparents are no longer around to help raise the kids. Parents (especially single parents who lack social support) are often working too much to give their kids enough time. Kids become overly independent as an adaptive response. Companies continue to profit by perpetually selling balms for and distractions from the underlying dysfunction without fixing the root causes. The cycle repeats itself.

The US continues to devolve, as a nation, towards perhaps the most subtly destructive of social structures, the suburbs. We need to reconnect with our family and friends. Your individuality is important but not when it comes, in irony, at your own expense.

(Original post.)