Greater social connection is not a panacea, but it offers a basic building block for tackling pervasive ills that have befallen us. While not a substitute for mental and behavioral health care, it can mitigate the social isolation, relationship distress and loneliness that can induce service demand. Social connection can also build awareness of, and deterrence against, the adverse impacts that “solution aversion” can exert on partisan division. And, for this seminal moment in race relations, it can help to humanize – and build bridges between -- persons on different sides of the fence, be it race, ethnicity, or in this case, a public protest.
Gen. Carden and I have been in correspondence since, which I hope to continue, and it occurs to me that this is just the kind of act of relatedness for which we all need to be striving much more often these days – connection that is built between individuals within one’s tribe but also beyond one’s tribe, based on being assertive but receptive to the unexpected, and predicated on speaking but, more importantly, on listening.
My hope is that we as a people can individually and collectively find ways to achieve much more social connection in the days ahead.
Harris Allen, Ph.D., leads the Harris Allen Group, which he founded in 1998 to support performance improvements in health and healthcare.