Getting Connected

In Social Intelligence I noted longterm trends that signal a gradual corrosion of opportunities for people to connect – networks of friendships shrinking, families spending less time together, a decline in social gatherings. Though many of us sense this trend toward a loss of connection, the data tracking it has been piecemeal.

Now that’s about to change. The National Conference on Citizenship, a group dedicated to promoting civic ties, is going to track how engaged with each other people are, as part of what it calls a “Civic Health Index.” The Index will track 40 key civic indicators measuring levels of political activity, civic knowledge, volunteering, trust, and charitable giving – in part, a measure of our collective social intelligence. The group sees the index as a way to track signs of weakness in the civic fabric, to more systematically measure the trends announced in Robert Putnam’s eloquently titled book, Bowling Alone. Well and good. But I’d like to see some efforts made to reverse the trend, rather than simply document it.

One might be to rethink our arrangements for housing the chronically sick and the elderly: We accelerate their isolation by stashing them away from family, friends, and the richiness of life. Why not, for example, put day care centers in elder care facilities, so that the very young – who love the full attention of a caring adult – can have access to isolated elders who delight in the company of the very young?

6 thoughts on “Getting Connected

  1. Thank you for this page which shows me a good idea. Please let me get this paper. I want to compare the two intelligences emotional and social with empirical data from Korean public officials.

  2. my teacher asked us to reqd this book as an assignment. When i first bought it all i could think of is man its long and when i opened it and started to read i was very interested. I got through it in no time and learned so much from it about others.

  3. I have found your book (Social Intelligence) a valuable resource for my blog. I write about family relationships primarily, but I believe “family” is where you find it. In so many cases, it seems, the families we construct are not related to us at all, and of course all relationships are important to us in some way, no matter how far they extend. (The neighborhood, the nation, the world). It’s interesting to see science entering this realm of study–I have your blog bookmarked for future reference. Thanks for a great read.

  4. Thank you Daniel
    Firstly , your book Social Intelligence has helped me enormously , confirming so much I feel about our fear based society .
    Secondly , to me having seen my grandmother and mother be put into care , isolation is one of the worst degradations of our times . I wish I had known and been there much more for my family – in ignorance I just took it as part of life . Now thanks to you I’m making sure it doesn’t happen to me or my family .
    Warmest Regards

  5. Interesting idea – putting daycare in with elder care. Unfortunately, kids get sick a lot, probably not the best thing for elderly people.

  6. Sir,
    Your book helped me a lot in understanding the concept of social intelligence.Can you suggest some ways to improve social intelligence of a child? Some activities that can be suggested for improving one’ social intelligence..Can you add some recent studies on social intelligence..?

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