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Many millennials are suffering from extreme loneliness. This was already the case prior to the onset of the pandemic, but coronavirus has made the problem even worse. All you have to do is Google “millennials loneliness” to see how much this is a thing. Lots of articles and YouTube videos have focused in on this sad state of affairs. Some millennials say that they do not have a single IRL friend, that is, a friend in real life. This is a unique feature of the generation as a whole (not to say that this is true of every millennial of course). Now, boomers and Xers certainly had their generational issues, but loneliness wasn’t one of them in the way it is for millennials. The studies also indicate that this problem is effecting zoomers (Generation Z) as well. But what’s the cause of this problem? The standard answer is social media. I definitely think that’s true, but I also think this needs to be viewed from a specific angle in order to explain the proliferation of loneliness. I’m going to argue that a combination of the work of Marshall McLuhan and Emmanuel Levinas can help us here. If boomers and Xers were able to cultivate close friendships, friendships that last a life time, then we must ask about the differences between their everyday circumstances and those of millennials and zoomers. Friendship is always the product of communication, but there are a multitude of forms of communication. The form of the medium through which people communicate fundamentally shapes the communication itself. …

The Dangerous Maybe

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