community or ptooey?

Discussion in 'Random Chit-Chat' started by Vashdaman, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. Vashdaman

    Vashdaman Za Warudo

    What are your views on the notions of community and responsibility to society vs. individualism? I know most of us here enjoy at least a spot of individualistic consumption, this being an anime forum, but I'm sure some people here also feel a certain estrangement from larger society. So I'm interested to hear everyone's views on the more traditional notion of duty to society vs. our more current mode of individualism. Why is it that some of us feel estranged? Is it the more individualistic capitalistic nature of our societies that's to blame, or is the problem that it's still not individualistic enough?

    On the one hand I feel like the lack of community spirit, at least in big cities, is something that certainly leads to many people feeling isolated and estranged, but on the other hand, having spoken to people who grew up in close knit repressive communities, that hardly seems like a walk in the park either.

    This was train of thought was brought about by reading about how 'cute culture' emerged in 70s Japan, essentially as a passive form of rebellion against the patriarchy and Confucian ideals of the country. At that time, individualistic consumption was still somewhat frowned upon by the Japanese elite, all the more so for women who were supposed to strive for self sacrifice in the name of family and larger society. But young women started embracing individualistic consumerism and an attempted retreat into the supposed sweet obliviousness of childhood, deliberately trying to disengage from adult concerns like politics. These women was thusly attacked by both the right and left wing male elite of Japan for being "selfish and stupid girls" despite them harming no one. And as we all know, the retreat into cute culture only intensified.

    I thought that was a really interesting example of highly traditional, supposedly society oriented attitudes clashing with an equally extreme attitude that attempts to entirely disengage with the concerns of larger society, and employing consumerism as a means to achieve this.

    So where do you all stand on this? Are our capitalist societies going in right direction in regards to individualism, or do we need stronger community ties?

    I don't know where I stand on this myself, having grown up without any feeling of community spirit, I kind of long for it, and imagine it as quite positive, but also know how stifling it must if you don't get on with that community.
  2. Rui

    Rui Karamatsu Boy Administrator

    I think anime fans tend to be quite introverted, and our society strongly rewards/praises/acknowledges extraverted behaviour while treating introspection as a disease, which often makes us become isolated and socially awkward by default. As for why anime attracts this particular crowd, I personally think that Japan's culture favours introversion (there are so many introverted lead characters) and this helps make it seem more appealing. Western shows which have deviated from the norm have also enjoyed success in a similar way.

    I remember some people moaning about self-service checkouts in supermarkets because they took away the social aspect of grocery shopping (?!) and a few times I have gone to use them (I exclusively shop at stores with self-service checkouts by choice) and been tutted at by a lonely worker at the checkout. Heaven forbid we actually accommodate those who prefer the cold impersonality of interactions with machinery over dealing with the mumblings of some stranger. Japanese society is set up completely differently; everything that can be made politely impersonal is made that way, without fail; rules are always signposted clearly to avoid the awkwardness of having to ask your fellow human beings, machinery replaces service workers everywhere it can and everyone silently understands the stresses of vague social rituals to the point of having developed fairly rigid rules around daily interactions. Going to Japan is a great break from the stresses of humanity for me.

    A significant proportion of people on this forum have also openly mentioned having AS which is, for these purposes, an acute version of the same phenomenon.

    Personally, I can't stand the stifling nature of forced 'community spirit'. I think communities are great but you have to want to be there otherwise it's a dreadful chore, and my natural state is to lead a reasonably solitary existence; I enjoy it more and never get tired of my own company. It doesn't mean that I don't care for people or have right wing leanings or anything like that - I love people very much. That's why I'm here. I just don't want to be around them, I don't want to say 'hi' to them in the street and I don't want to hang out and do social things when I could just be at home. My family background is in a culture with very strong community ties and I couldn't leave it fast enough. Urban life suits me well because my neighbours understand the system. We all pretend not to know one another outside the house where possible but will cheerfully help one another out when there's a problem. They're less severe cases than me (one of them will start talking to me over the fence if they catch me, which results in me taking great lengths to avoid that situation ever cropping up!) but overall we understand one another and get along fine. I don't miss the lost opportunity to tell people I don't actually care about all about the minutiae of my daily struggles.

    st_owly and IncendiaryLemon like this.
  3. ayase

    ayase Godhand

    I have very mixed feelings about this. Having respect for other people in society as equals I think is a very positive thing, but trying to enforce behaviours and attitudes on them I think is a very negative thing, which kind of ties in to what you say about traditionalism and the eventual pushback against it Vash (although now the backlash appears to be against the modern, more liberal status quo). I was talking to some friends about similar subjects just over the last few days in fact, it's interesting what a lot of socially liberal people's reactions to Trump and Brexit have been, some of which I think have been very positive developments because they've finally realised that while a lot of people do long for a sense of community, most people don't react positively to being told how to act and think. Is there really much difference between those traditionalists who think they know what's best for everyone and the PC brigade who think the same? In my opinion, no.

    Ultimately, I'd agree that people have a responsibility to make sure people aren't going hungry or without shelter - I think the welfare state as originally envisioned for looking after people's health and making sure they're not living in poverty is a good thing and if anything we need to get back to believing in a sense of fairness and stop looking out only for ourselves. However in terms of social attitudes I don't think the community really has a place because that's a personal thing - My conversation irl was about media (such as films, games and anime) and I'm kind of alarmed how many people think that media producers (or worse, the authorities) have some kind of "duty" to the community to make things that represent their world-view over that of even the creators. As far as I'm concerned that's bollocks, and speaks of how, sadly, people don't look at media as art but as pretty much propaganda that should be embodying their (personal, not society's shared) values.

    The only people who've criticised art and media in history not for its artistic merits (which are also subjective) but for not embodying the values they believe in have been totalitarian regimes, and in a free society no-one is prevented from making art. The people making these criticisms really do annoy the hell out of me because they ignore the very basic sense of fairness that is say, a fair tax and welfare system in favour of complaining that other people aren't making video games that appeal to them - That's not society's job, it's not anyone else's job, it's your job as an individual if that's what you want to do with your life. And if it isn't, shut the hell up. When the left has becomes primarily concerned with first-world middle-class problems while we still have unemployment, homelessness and child poverty something has gone horribly wrong.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
  4. IncendiaryLemon

    IncendiaryLemon Captain Karen AUKN Staff

    I thought I'd put in my 2 cents here, but I think what @Rui said pretty much reflects what I think as well. I would very much identify as an introvert. Not quite hikikomori, I do have a job, and I have no fear of leaving the house, but apart from going to work and going out to buy food, I rarely leave the house, but I feel perfectly content with that. My favourite things to do are watch anime and write about anime I have watched, and my income and position on this very site allow me to do both, which I'm very pleased about. Despite this though, I'm not really introverted out of choice. It hasn't always been this way, I had plenty of friends throughout school and college, yet I still chose to shun them in favour of staying at home a lot of the time. Now however, all but one of my friends have dispersed throughout the country to go to University, and I have only had contact with one person since, and it seems any plan we made to meet back up again fell through. I must admit, despite me being rather content with my lifestyle, I do feel pangs of loneliness. It would be nice to have a handful of friends at least, even if our meetings are few and far between. I've pretty much come to the conclusion I'm just going to be largely alone for the rest of my life. At 19, I've never had a single relationship, and since my most social days are far behind me, it's probably going to stay that way. Even though I'm cool with being alone, it does kind of sting that I'll never be able to experience anything like that.

    I'm not too sure if half of what I just typed was relevant to the topic, but it sure felt good to get it off my chest a bit, so there's that.
  5. Lutga

    Lutga Mad Scientist

    Man, 19 is so young to write off an aspect of life like that! If I could go back and be 19 again, I totally would! (to be fair though, I thought pretty similarly to you when I was 19)

    In kind of reply to that - you never know what the future might hold. The most important thing is to take it into your hands though - change comes through action. And while - like most people here - I'm pretty introverted, I can say, looking back that the most interesting things in my life - both good and bad - came from me making a conscious decision. Not forcing myself out of my comfort zone (because that's something different) but taking action when it felt right in my heart.
  6. ayase

    ayase Godhand

    What's the cut-off point?
  7. IncendiaryLemon

    IncendiaryLemon Captain Karen AUKN Staff

    I suppose you're right, but I'm lacking in self confidence and I'm generally pessimistic about the whole situation.
  8. Lutga

    Lutga Mad Scientist

    I think we all feel like that at times though. And it comes back to whether we actively want things to change, and how we might go about that. It's about working on the things you feel good about, and using that as a stepping stone to build confidence - snowballing that into other aspects of your life and building bit by bit toward a situation where you feel happier in general.

    I felt the same - and sometimes when I have a bad day or week, I still do. Sometimes it's hard to console a quiet insular hobby / personality with wanting to be sociable at times. But it comes down to how much you want it - at one point I went all out and really went in for going out and meeting up with people, until I reached a point where it started to feel uncomfortable and I realised I'd pushed myself too much, and that having loads of friends and going out all the time wasn't what made me happy. And now, instead, I probably only really go out and see friends once every week or two - and that, along with more casual interactions with people at Uni etc. fills that need for me.

    But I guess what I'm getting at is, if there's something you don't feel quite right about and think - hey, I wish this was different - don't just think about it, but take action - I think you'll be surprised with the results.
  9. qaiz

    qaiz Stand User

    I don't like being around people, I don't deserve happiness and I don't deserve to be loved, at least not until I learn to love myself first which might prove harder than it sounds. Being around people, feeling happy and loved always results in a hungover state thereafter in which I become drunk on my depression. As if my mind had a mind of its own I often find myself conspiring against myself, wishing myself to fail. I wish that I could be close to others, that I could belong but I never felt that I belonged anywhere, just merely existed. I guess going out with a whimper is a fitting way to go for a person like me, cooped up in his room like a bird in a cage, but even when the cage door is opened momentarily I have no desire to leave because I cannot fly, which I guess makes sense because I'm not a bird. Birds are cool, I wish I was a bird.
  10. ayase

    ayase Godhand

    Uh, well, you can be surprised with the results. But equally you might be proved right or even surprised in a negative way or disappointed.

    I think the lesson is to never hope.
  11. Rui

    Rui Karamatsu Boy Administrator

    Well, this thread sure spiralled into depressing territory faster than usual.

    I know people approaching their fourth decade who have never been with anyone romantically. I've heard of people twice that age falling in love for the first time. It sucks to have to wait long through years and years of doubt and insecurity, but for what it's worth, I think active pursual of friendship works. I know exactly why a lot of people don't want to do that (I wouldn't either) and it's even more intensely demoralising than being alone - it feels like job hunting in all the worst ways unless you have limitless self esteem - but everyone I know who has actively committed to finding someone has, eventually, found someone. The people who haven't are those who go from their house to their male-dominated workplace and back each day and literally don't know any girls at all (they're males not looking for male parters). Since they don't talk to anyone, it would take a twist of fate worthy of a romantic comedy light novel to break the cycle. And then even if they met their own Belldandy they'd probably wait for her to make the first move and miss out.

    I want to think Vash will eventually meet up with someone who truly, truly 'gets' him and his view of the world. In the meantime, he's getting used to handling rejection graciously and speaking to people he finds attractive. I can't see it as anything other than a good idea. While I don't practise what I preach myself, those who put themselves out there exude attractive qualities such as confidence, engagement, passion and enthusiasm - even if inside they feel anything but at times. Hanging out with people who only display negative emotions or constant cynicism is draining.

    I don't think it's wrong to feel despair and to give into it at times, but if you convince yourself it's the only outcome then you've created a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Vashdaman likes this.
  12. Lutga

    Lutga Mad Scientist

    I agree with the above. Basically, while it's ok to feel bad or down at times - don't just continually wallow in that despair hoping things will magically change. Find something to inject your passion and energy in - it will take your mind off the bad things, and you attitude as a whole will begin to change, and you'll start to exude that more positive mindset to the people around you. It's catching!
  13. ayase

    ayase Godhand

    If I had forever I wouldn't be concerned. If I could have stayed 21 forever I wouldn't be concerned. If I didn't try to change my circumstances and make an effort to get what I want out of life I wouldn't be concerned. But I am trying to enjoy my limited time on Earth, which feels like it's rapidly draining away along with my youthful looks. And if I don't get to experience the things I want to experience during my life (and during the times of my life when it's possible) I am not going to be happy when I die*. I don't believe in a God but part of me hopes there is one so I can give them a f*cking piece of my mind about sending people into existence in an arbitrary time period and society they might not be at all suited for with no mission briefing, no manual and an overwhelming number of entirely irrational and unpredictable NPCs.

    I'm not a complete downer - I passionately love as much as I vehemently hate (so, a lot) but that doesn't change my lack of comprehension at other people's behaviour or what's driven people to create this ******** society and it's ******** rules and expectations. I don't understand why people need to think about things so goddamn much - Do you want something or don't you? Yes or no? 1 or 0? But no, people need to consider all kinds of pointless frippery that is never going to matter because everything's ultimate fate is to perish in the heat death of the universe. People have unnecessarily complicated their lives, which has in turn unnecessarily complicated mine. I'm beginning to think even speech was a mistake for humanity.

    *Not that I'm particularly happy with that outcome anyway, I'm still kind of resentful that the price for getting to live is a finite lifespan of indeterminate length, and I wasn't even the one who signed the contract.
  14. qaiz

    qaiz Stand User

    Maybe it is a case of a self -fulfilling prophecy but in the end it's a prophecy that I find fulfilling.
  15. Vashdaman

    Vashdaman Za Warudo

    Woi, some great replies in this thread, very interesting stuff! I think that I can relate to things practically everyone in this thread have said, even if there certain variations in degree.

    I can be as negative about the world, and at times the prospect of meeting cool friends and lovers, as anyone. And I think it's important to express these feelings, even just to let other people know they aren't alone in feeling a certain way, so thanks guys. Ultimately though I do very much agree with Rui, everything she said really, though I probably would be that Neighbour who keeps trying to have a chat over the fence, but I think it really is important to keep hope about meeting friends and lovers, and not resign yourself to dying alone, if you can help it. Eventually it does happen, well I'm sure it does anyway. And even in my experience, I literally not one friend at all outside of family between the ages of 19-24, same age I signed up here (out of hopelessness ha!), but I finally found two soul mates, at university and they have made the last three years worth living, well, way more than worth living. If I can find those two, why can't a I find a gf?? I had my first proper girlfriend at 25, it lasted not that long four months, but she helped me realise that I can be loved who would have thought. I partly first got with her due to self delusion, in that I thought she was mad hot for me when in reality she really wasn't (AT FIRST!), but it just goes to show what Rui is saying is true, not that you have to resort to self delusion or anything. Like, I can relate to Qaiz's self destructive cycle, it's something still wrestle with: sometimes I feel like going through **** makes you a better person and that I need to through more and more. But there's wrong with being "ok " just "ok" and just a little bit hopeful. Don't let the fire of hope completely be extinguished, if you don't I'm sure you find something.

    But man people are great like. The other day I was having a dismorphia freak out going up and down in my uni's lift staring at my mug, for hours. I couldn't get out, and it was late, so not many people were using the lift, and I was just in there. But someone called the lift and I was like "OH NO OH NO SOMEOME KILL ME" and this girl got on, and far from making me feel a freak, she was just really nice. We had a little chat and got off the lift and I went home.

    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
    Zin5ki likes this.
  16. mrclt1994

    mrclt1994 Hunter

    ^ that last paragraph sounds kind of trippy.

    I feel both like an introvert and extravert at the same time if that makes sense?

    I feel perfectly able to entertain myself while alone, either with Anime, looking at stuff I wanna buy on the internet, catching up on my YouTube subscriptions, going on a nostalgia trip to certain music on YouTube etc. I also feel very comfortable in social settings and getting on with people - the only times when not is if there really is NOTHING in common with me and the people I'm trying to 'mix' with, at which point it's just awkward.

    I wasn't always prepared to say hello or get involved in conversation, and never did so until my late teens. I put that down to 'experience' I guess? I work in a large team and have done so for a while and it's quite a diverse one at that with people from different age groups, different parts of the world and different outlooks on life, so that's helped a bit in that I can now find even the littlest common ground to build a conversation on. It was hard at the start because you're like 'ah, where do I take it from here'.

    Back to me as an introvert, I feel like anime is a big help (well any kind of visual entertain really) as it allows you to be immersed in someone else's world and can take it all in, in your own time. It's also a big help against feeling 'lonely' and in fact, it kind of is interacting with people in way as people are the ones who made the anime in the first place and are projecting their ideas into your brain through animation.

    I guess in conclusion, I like my own company just as much as I like other's.
  17. Rui

    Rui Karamatsu Boy Administrator

    The way I heard introversion/extraversion defined is that introverted people are drained by social interaction while extraverts are 'charged up' by it, with the opposite being true for solitude. I would say there are certainly people in the middle of the spectrum who have become good at both and can manage the effects to stay within their comfort zone. For example, my father is introverted but grew up in circumstances where that wasn't acceptable, so he'll happily socialise quite fluently and openly then go for long rides on his bike afterwards to recuperate from the stress of it all. A lot of people probably don't even realise he's introverted.

    For me, being around people wears me down very quickly. But I guess everyone will have their own criteria and limits. My mother-in-law is a very outgoing (the polite way to say it) woman who can't spend even ten seconds on her own before phoning/emailing/visiting/annoying someone else and simply cannot understand why I always refuse her great invitations to spend every Christmas break touring dozens of her relatives' houses and never sleeping in my own bed. Yet she considers herself an introvert because she gets embarrassed doing things like public speaking or performance. I personally think she's a shy extravert but that's just my opinion.

  18. Vashdaman

    Vashdaman Za Warudo

    I don't know what I am, bad social interaction, so that's pretty much most social interaction, brutally drains me, but good social interaction is the best thing ever for me and is what I live my life for. So even though all that bad interaction kills me on a daily basis, I force myself to go through it and "keep trying" in the hope I might get just a grain of gold. I feel more **** if I don't keep trying, because I worry I could be missing something magical by not giving people more shots. Of course I mean new people, I don't keep giving people I don't gel with shots, I cut them out so quick. But it is so draining, even more so when you don't get anything back and all your efforts were just in vain. Sometimes the people are nice, but I find anything less than soul mates just drains me so much and I feel like I would have been better off just not going through it. And I would have, but I wouldn't have known they weren't soulmates unless I tried.
    The problem with me, that I don't I think might be less of a problem for other introverts is that lonely solitude hurts me so much, even though sometimes I still go through copious amounts of it, but I reckon it's depression that leads me to stow a way rather than a hankering for it, or sometimes it's just that I have nowhere good to go, like a friends house for example. I feel like I went through too much solitude and now I hate it, like an alcoholic who gets drunk really quick. I am the kind of person who emails my two friends constantly. People drag me out of my mental quagmires, nothing else has ever worked.
    I have been told I'm autistic though, so maybe that's the explanation.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016