By: Steve Taylor / Iff Books / $25.95
Overview: DisConnected: The Roots of Human Cruelty and How Connection Can Heal the World shines a light on us, the human race, to regain awareness of our connection, and that it is the only way by which we can live in harmony with ourselves, one another, and the world itself.
Verdict: DisConnected offers a new vision of human nature and a new understanding of human behavior and social problems. Connection is the most essential human trait - it determines our behavior and our level of well-being.
Cruelty is the result of a sense of disconnection, while “goodness” stems from connection. Unfortunately, the most disconnected people gravitate to positions of power, which leads to “pathocracy,” the most common form of government during the 20th century.
Disconnected societies are patriarchal, hierarchical and warlike. Connected societies are egalitarian, democratic and peaceful. We can measure both social progress and personal development in terms of how far we move along a continuum of connection.
At the most essential level, we are always interconnected. Altruism and spirituality are experiences of our fundamental connection. Regaining awareness of our connection is the only way by which we can live in harmony with ourselves, one another, and the world itself.
Simply put, and as is the fundamental mantra within this book, having a strong support system helps people overcome challenges more easily and maintain a state of mental well-being. Indeed, human connection also decreases health risks and improves physical well-being and longevity, whereas strong social connections strengthen the immune system and increase your chances of a longer life by 50%.
Or, taking the need for human connection in another way, loneliness has been shown to impact not only our physical health but our emotional health, too. Furthermore, the same 2018 study conducted by the researchers from ACS also found that lack of social connection may be associated with obesity, heart disease, and smoking.
Through the years, we’ve thrived as a species by connecting with others. Whether we were hunting for meat, gathering berries, or traveling in stagecoaches — we did it together in social groups.
But with the rise of digital interactions, we’ve also seen an increase in loneliness. We no longer meet for drinks after work or gather with our friends for game or movie nights. Meetings and social gatherings are now done virtually. We celebrate the events in our lives with a heart or thumbs-up emoji.
In what is a most captivating, and for this generation, if not the one fast riding its coattails, some might say compulsory read, author Steve Taylor, PhD. showcases the basic (yet, for a lot of blinkered folk, overlooked) fact that one of the most amazing things about humans is that what we call “human nature” covers such a wide spectrum; from the psychopathic and evil of Stalin and Hitler, to the selfless goodness of Gandhi, Nelson, Mandela, or Martin Luther Ling.
I mean, lockdown’s aside, I think we all know by now that human connection can be a chat over coffee with a friend, a hug from a partner after a long day, or a hike in the woods with a family member. Indeed, connecting with someone doesn’t have to always include words, either. Time spent in relative closeness and experience can also be a bonding experience.
But, and as aforementioned, unfortunately, the most disconnected people gravitate to positions of power, which leads to “pathocracy,” the most common form of government during the 20th century. Thus, and as easy as it is written, “pathocracy” begins when a disordered individual emerges as a leader figure.
While some members of the ruling class are appalled by the brutality and irresponsibility of the leader and his acolytes, his disordered personality appeals to some psychologically normal individuals. They find him charismatic. His impulsiveness is mistaken for decisiveness; his narcissism for confidence; his recklessness for fearlessness.
Soon other people with psychopathic traits emerge and attach themselves to the “pathocracy,” sensing the opportunity to gain power and influence. At the same time, responsible and moral people gradually leave the government, either resigning or being ruthlessly ejected.
In an inevitable process, soon the entire government is filled with people with a pathological lack of empathy and conscience. It has been infiltrated by members of the minority of people with personality disorders, who assume power over the majority of psychologically normal people.
But, I (slightly) digress, for what DisConnected: The Roots of Human Cruelty and How Connection Can Heal the World has at is prose heart is Taylor, at his core, a creative psychological thinker, trying to significantly augment our understanding of human experience and its highest possibilities.
A book to read NOW, and a book to pass along to as many others as humanely possible, through the lens of connection and disconnection, DisConnected is oh-so much more than just an intelligent soothsayer informatively barking out the known differences between the roots of good and evil. Moreover, it is someone desperately trying to educate us, in both practical and, in some context, experimental ways to simply understand more about our own human being’s before malignant narcissists take over.
About The Author - Steve Taylor PhD is a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University. He is the author of many best-selling books on spirituality and psychology.
For the past ten years, Steve has been included in Mind, Body Spirit magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most spiritually influential people. Eckhart Tolle has referred to his work as ‘an important contribution to the global shift in awakening.’ He lives in Manchester, UK.
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