“Why do large scale disasters produce such mentally healthy conditions?”
Tribe, by Sebastian Junger is a book dedicated to researching the conditions that evoke a sense of belonging.
Junger examines numerous studies that report lower mental health incidents during times of war and crisis.
This research sheds light on how our conventional thinking about concepts like safety and risk might be counterproductive to our sense of personal fulfillment.
Junger cites Charles Fritz’s 1961 paper that begins with the question,
“Why do large scale disasters produce such mentally healthy conditions?"
Junger notes that Fritz was, “...unable to find a single instance where communities who were hit by catastrophic events lapsed into a sustained panic, much less approached anything like anarchy. If anything, he found that social bonds were reinforced during disasters and people overwhelmingly devoted their energies towards the good of the community rather than just themselves.”
Modern life has made a mission out of diminishing risk for the sake of survival. But this has also diminished our reliance upon, and interconnectivity with, one another.
We must get wiser about was is true risk and risk manufactured by society. Though it might feel counterintuitive, the reduction of danger at the expense of experience, might in the end, be the biggest danger of all.
For today, examine where you shy away from risk and try something different. It might serve you better in the long run.