You may recall that one of my favorite columnists is David Brooks, who is as much of a social philosopher and historian as anything. He wrote recently on the “fallacy of affluence,” the ongoing quest for more in the search for happiness and fulfillment. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, people in wealthy countries suffer depression by as much as eight times the rate of people in poor countries. Historically, in the settling of 18th-century America, thousands of Europeans integrated into the poorer but more communal Native American culture while virtually no Native Americans integrated by choice into the more affluent but more independent European community. Why is that?
Perhaps what we should be seeking, writes Brooks, is what they were seeking, not affluence but community. He sees increasing evidence of that: from the solidarity of the Bernie Sanders campaign to the behavior and expectations of the millennials, bringing their whole selves to work and turning their offices into a source of friendships, meaning and social occasions. Sort of like Kenwood Community Church? I think so. Perhaps we are on to something.