Our consciousness is not oriented around being part of a greater whole.
The thought systems which have shaped the modern world are not focused on strengthening our collective life together. In fact, it is just the opposite. They extol the freedoms, liberties and rights of the individual and minimize the importance of strong, healthy societies. There is a great emphasis on making money and lots of it.
In America, our cultural values emphasize the right of individuals to be free from the constraint of others, to carry guns to protect themselves, and to promote financial markets where we can get rich. At the same time, we have reduced government protections for the poor and needy. Providing assistance is seen as coddling those who fail to carry out their individual responsibilities to provide for themselves. In a “can-do” culture, we claim that everyone can succeed. Those who do not will have to suffer the consequences.
When individuals can no longer count on their society to provide a protective social safety net, people will look to other social groupings to offer what society will not. Society, as a whole, fractures into a collective of social groups all of which are trying to provide the social cohesion that humans need and that government refuses to provide. We have splintered into tribes which regards other tribes as an adversary.
This is not to say that people do not care. We do—most of us. But a malaise has set over the world. We are encouraged by our cultures to consume. The antidote to depression is shopping, going out and giving ourselves gifts to make us happy. After all our economies are counting on us to do our part.
But what is all this for? Does life have any meaning at all?