I want to revisit the topic of belonging because it permeates so many areas of our lives – impacting our behavior, our social interactions and our relationships. We live in a fast-paced world and have access to technology which enables us to connect with millions in virtual space.
We not only have the liberty to express our opinions on ezines and blogs but we can simultaneously engage an audience in multiple forums, influence contemporary culture and even affect current events. This is truly awesome! I believe this has an effect on the way we view our opportunities for belonging.
We are no longer limited to belonging in nations, tribes, clans, villages, religions or cult groups. Our membership sphere extends to virtual networks where barriers of race, color, creed and political thought have become enmeshed, enabling us to navigate across boundaries. We now belong to interest groups and lifestyle clubs based on our cultural practices and thought preferences. We are no longer limited by geography or tied to our birthplace – even if we never get to leave it. By the same token, the world has experienced unprecedented migrations across continents and insurgencies of large populations in virtually every nation because people are forced to flee their homeland due to ruthless dictators, civil wars, warlords, drug cartels, various renegade groups with access to money, guns and vigilante power.
Vivian Diller, Ph.D., a psychologist in private practice in New York City tells us that “reactions to a natural disaster, an act of violence, mortal combat, bankruptcy or the loss of loved ones can be pretty different. But, almost always, there is the before and after, the desire to forget and a need to remember -- common experiences that follow throughout life.”
The question is what happens to our sense of belonging in the context of these seismic shifts? Does survivor’s guilt and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) transform our need to belong with a need to flee from our past and seek non attachment?