Thoughts on Social Distancing During This Difficult Time
By, Dr. L. Roth, PsyaD
Social distancing has been practiced at home and on the road. Families and partners are staying rooms apart in order to feel safe. It doesn’t take much to make us feel lonely. Even before covid-19, Cigna reported that the Z generation was lonelier than any other generation. It is interesting to see how the pandemic came at the apogee of our individuality.
Social distance is a concept that cuts across all social practices. As the distance that involves staying far what triggers our worst fears, is 6ft enough? How do we measure that distance? The social distance required by biological transmission becomes an impossible ideological distancing that may give way to social control in the name of safety. It may install a surveillance practice as a way of managing the anxiety, our fear of dying.
Our subjectivity has been reduced to a body that makes us vulnerable and that puts our lives at risk. We keep our faces covered by masks. We open doors with a tool to avoid touch. At the point of fright, we reach out to technology, zooming in to social gatherings. I am concerned about this “birth” of virtual embodiment that keeps us so clean and safe. Technology is increasingly used with its positive and negative effects. It allows for some type of relationship while also keeping record. We have only trade organic vulnerabilities for technological ones.
Since the development of the penicillin, medicine has defied death. We now live twice longer than our previous generations. We have distanced so much from death and dying, we have forgotten about it. We have forgotten about it until Covid-19 made it evident. How do we practice social distancing in the intersection between the exercise of our basic freedoms, the safety regulations and the need for human touch (of bodies in close contact)?
..And also, how is the pandemic affecting the development of children growing up in that sanitized, sterilized space created by social distancing?