The Selfishness Of Selflessness In The Jacqueline Olds And Richard Schwartz

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The Selfishness of Self-reliance While being self-sufficient and independent sounds nice, it can sometimes come at a cost. That cost is loneliness. There is an increasing number of Americans who want independence. However, when they finally reach the independence they have been craving, they also get something else they didn’t bargain for—loneliness. Americans want their own things: their own country, their own government, and their freedoms. The idea of independence has been rooted in American culture since its inception and has since been influencing Americans today. This attitude comes off as selfish in a way. And that sparks the question: It is selfish to be self-reliant? Self-reliance, if unchecked, will lead to loneliness. Sociologist Philip Slater wrote about how we all want our own homes, cars, and other possessions. However, in the pursuit of those things, we tend to disconnect from those around us and start to feel lonely. In the Lonely American by Jacqueline Olds and Richard Schwartz, the psychiatrist couple writes about why loneliness is such an epidemic. There are many explanations for the widespread problem of…show more content…
I believe loneliness is not the real epidemic America is facing; it’s othering. So, the question, as Olds and Schwartz outlined, isn’t “How do we solve loneliness?” but rather, “How do we stop othering?”. Unfortunately, I don’t think we can. Othering is such an integral part of American history that it is influential in everything Americans do even today. Besides being partly responsible for racism, homophobia, and gender inequality, othering has been responsible for the low self-esteem, so many Americans face. We live in a culture where we are too worried about what other people think of us and become our own biggest critics. This mindset leads to loneliness because at times we feel that we don’t belong, even though we are just making that up. There is an implied othering that lies within the
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