The image today was taken on the north side of Mt. Hood. It is a bit of a journey getting there because you have to drive over ten miles on a very rough gravel road. But once you get there the rewards of being so close to the mountain make you forget about the drive. That said, after I spent a lot of time taking pictures of the great view, I began to wander a bit and found myself really intrigued by these dead trees. Seeing them against the backdrop of the brilliant blue sky and white puffy clouds made them all the more interesting.
The dead trees reminded me for some reason of Thoreau’s famous quote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” And this reminded me of a study done a number of years back that speaks volumes about our society today.
NO MORE MR. ROGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD
In 1985, researchers set out to understand the degree to which people have family and friends they can rely upon to discuss matters that are personal in nature. A national survey was done, and in 2004, the same group decided to repeat the study to determine how core discussion networks had changed over two decades. The results are frightening!
25% of all Americans in 2004 reported they had no one in their life to discuss personal issues, compared to 10% in 1985. The modal (most frequent) number of discussion partners in 1985 was three, but in 2004 that number plummeted to zero. The average social network size has dropped from 3 confidants to 2. The number of people who reported that their spouse was the only person they trust with personal issues increased by almost 50 percent since 1985.
These outcomes paint a sobering picture of the price we may be paying for our technology-enhanced life. And these results were from 2004! I hate to think about what the results would be like today. We may have lots of Facebook friends, but today far too many people are leading lives of quiet desperation. There is no substitute for face-to-face time (and I don’t mean Apple FaceTime).