We need to feel connected with each other. It’s something biological. But I also think we want it to feel larger than just between individuals. A sense of community that is hard to define. It’s something like a place you feel at home but is larger than just your family. Where most people share your worldview and values. It helps you to feel understood. I think a lot of people satisfy this need in religion. That’s why they get together once a week to share meaningful stories that touch deeply on core values, relate them to current events and share what is going on in their own lives.
What’s also strange is why we need to find these smaller communities with the larger culture. There must be something about the larger culture that doesn’t satisfy the need, and requires that we find the smaller bubbles to connect. Does it feel hostile to the values we most deeply hold?
Anyway, for atheists like myself, religion isn’t an option for finding that group experience. We need an alternative, and I think as people become less religious overall, more and more people will be looking for another option. I think we all need to start local meetings to serve this need, to both develop relationships and talk about our deepest feelings and concerns.
But great art helps too. The stuff that feels exceptionally honest or hits upon something we’ve thought but nobody else we know has mentioned, that resonates with us deeply. Those moments feel significant. When we share them with others, and they reciprocate our experience, it creates a sense of bonding. This is why we need to help each other find the best creative works, not what they make mostly for money and push at us.
Here are some that help me:
David Foster Wallace
Media (mostly podcasts)
The Joe Rogan Experience
Going Rogue with Caitlin Johnstone
WTF with Marc Maron
Part of the Problem
Waking Up with Sam Harris
Open Source with Christopher Lydon
On the Media
Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill
The Mincing Rascals
The Chicago Way
The Great Concavity
Craphound – Cory Doctorow
The City Club of Chicago
Inside Chicago Government – Ben Joravsky
Intelligence Squared US Debates
Hardcore History – Dan Carlin
Common Sense – Dan Carlin
Economic Update with Richard D Wolff
Ready Set Gov
Deconstructed with Mehdi Hasan
The Rubin Report
Unregistered with Thaddeus Russell
Your Welcome with Michael Malice
Connected to Chicago with Bill Cameron
The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe