Thoughts on Social Distancing
By, Dr. L. Roth, PsyaD
Last year I had different clients complaining about isolation and experiencing difficulties in their attempt to connect with others. Cigna reported that the new generation was suffering from loneliness as no other generation before. It is interesting to see how the pandemic came right at the apogee of our individuality.
Social distance is a signifier that cuts across all social practices. As a distance that involves staying far the phobic object. 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 have been covered by masks. At the point of fright, we reach out to technology. I am concerned about the technological assistance of denying the presence of our bodies to reach virtual presence. Technology is increasingly used with its positive and negative effects. It allows for some type of relationship while also keeping record. I am concerned about the technological assistance to the denial of our bodies that increases our virtual persona.
Since the development of the penicillin, medicine has defy death. We now live 30-40 years 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?