Functional Lonerism


The selective pressures of the current day are creating functional loners. A cursory look at where we are and the role the pandemic has played in accelerating us to where we are shows that those that survive are functional loners. Who is a functional loner? The functional loner is hard to define. They are individuals who effectively survive autonomously. They need and desire no extensive social interaction but can handle it if it comes to them. They can stay in the Canadian wilderness or the middle of New York and hardly be noticed. Well, what are these pressures? And who are those in the elusive class of “functional loners?”

Firstly, what are these pressures? Let’s start with the most apparent: cell-phones, the internet, and the convenience they provide. With cell-phones, having a traditional job with coworkers is no longer mandatory as one can now make a living online. One no longer has to go to the grocery store or restaurant to eat when they could order food to their homes. This same logic applies to everything from ordering a mechanic to my house to fix my car to ordering packages such that I can live my life with little to no human interaction. Turn your gaze to social media, where the illusion of “friends” or “followers” gives the semblance of real human interaction with the “human” removed (this is by no means under-discussed in the public sphere but is important nonetheless).

The rise in the OnlyFans service exemplifies this phenomenon—much of the losses in social cohesion, capital, as well as the downstream effect of these happenings remain to be seen. To a certain extent, minimalism and stoicism are pressures playing into this void as they are attractive philosophies in their own right (and for good reason). A reasonable person could argue that the lamentation of these issues is overrated as we notice a simultaneous rise in martial arts in this generation, which comes with it, a vibrant community. They could further argue that online social interaction and the strong bonds formed through gaming, online forums provide help and comfort when dealing with death and other personal issues. This author entirely agrees, but two things can be simultaneously true. Also, the classic question every economist asks applies here: Do the costs outweigh the benefits? I argue that the costs do outweigh the benefits because loneliness is a pressing issue in almost every form and is on the rise.

The question then becomes, if it is the case that it is ours to have a Japanese future, who survives this? Functional loners. These individuals have a temperament that is more introverted than the average individual. They carry a certain detachment from that which the average finds worthwhile. Assuming a landscape of freedom and relatively little governmental tyranny, they are more concave in their worldview and maximize the boring. This individual has complex modes of adaptation to a rapidly changing social landscape by being alone, where adaptation is the foremost trait emphasized by the world. More concretely, think the 1.5 generation new immigrant mentality. I believe those people will survive the future (emphasis on “survive”) because it is not self-evident that they will live happier or more enjoyable lives than the rest of us.

Certainty Rating: 75%

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