Unseen Unknown

11: Who We Become When We’re Lonely & The Rituals That Will Save Us

Episode Summary

Brands are facing the fact that loneliness has become a part of our identities, crisis or not. But you can’t talk about loneliness without talking about the meaning of rituals. We speak with Sasha Sagan, author of the social history book “For Small Creatures Such As We”, Harvard social scientist Kasley Killam, and Danielle Baskin, founder of the social connection app Dialup, about models of ritual, connection, and how loneliness can actually pivot our lives in surprising directions.

Episode Notes

Brands are facing the fact that loneliness has become a part of our identities, crisis or not. But you can’t talk about loneliness without talking about the meaning of rituals first. 

As society becomes more secularized and isolated, we struggle to find the self-defining connection that rituals once afforded us. The weekly gathering that separated work from rest, the rituals of birth and death, the seasonal rituals of growth and change - all of these have been fading from our identities, and perhaps accelerated out of our lives with the arrival of COVID-19.

Many tech and D2C brands have rushed in to fill the gap, but as the after-effects of crisis set in and we emerge from the collective trauma of social distancing and major economic loss, loneliness and ritual will take on radically new meanings.

In this episode, we speak with three people whose work and research has significantly impacted our understanding of loneliness and human connection today:  Sasha Sagan, daughter of Carl Sagan and author of the social history book “For Small Creatures Such As We”, Harvard social scientist Kasley Killam, and Danielle Baskin, founder of the social connection app Dialup. 

If rituals and traditions are the glue that keeps us together and protect us from disconnection, then it's important to understand how they are created, what makes them work, and how they frame our perceptions of things like time, pain and meaning.

We explore models of ritual, different frameworks for connection, and how loneliness can actually pivot our lives in surprising ways.

Links to interesting things mentioned in this episode:

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