The same stories get recycled again and again.
(This one is ironic: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b064ww32?ns_mchannel=social...)
"Though often represented as a period of repression... the Middle Ages offered - at least in religious roles - more options than now allowed. ...in the Middle Ages such social oddities were welcomed and assigned a place of honor. While the rest of us went about our worried lives, they prayed for us continually, speaking to God on our behalf."
This is a ridiculous claim. While our culture certainly places an outsized (IMO) emphasis on celebrity and wealth most people, most of the time, aren't fixated on becoming the next Musk or Kardashian and are able to lead exceedingly satisfying lives.
If the the conditions of the hikikomori - or the West's version of them - are rooted in their anxiety about living up to what they see on TV and in celebrity media then a healthy dose of Buddhism or Stoicism is probably called for.
I have personally struggled with gaming addiction for years, leaving at times and then getting sucked right back in without any self-control. Just recently I got hooked on Elder scrolls online and it took some struggling to let go. I can say for certain that gaming deepens whatever emotional state of isolation one can experience. Despite having fun, the feeling of loneliness gets stronger. I think if I didn’t have my wife and kid I would probably spend my life hunched over a screen dying while I play an mmo. I would get so depressed I’d probably let go of any form of self-care and fade into a blob of flesh and bodily fluids.
For all the bringing together that technology is supposed to do, I feel like it had a complete opposite effect. Sure, for some it’s awesome to stay in touch with people you wouldn’t have stayed in touch with otherwise, but in general it has made society more closed and people isolated from one another.
His books worth checking out too. As someone who struggled with addiction since childhood it is something I can very much relate to.
Not everyone gets to have a good job, a wife, kids and a house. Our society is very competative. There are worse reactions than becoming withdrawn. These people are not violent. They are not addicted to drugs. They are not in prison. There are far worse social ills.
And lighthouse keepers. That used to be a thing.
After spending 8 years in your room and only talking to your parents through a door, it probably takes a huge toll on your mental health. And since Japan is a shame/honor-society, the effects compound very quickly. To make matters worse, once you fall out of the “right” track in Japan, you are categorically excluded from certain forms of work and social status.
This means that if, say, you stay in your room a year after high school instead of going to college, you will never be accepted into college for the rest of your life. You will never be able to get a high status salaryman job. This leads to a mindset that there’s no going back and that the rest of their lives are ruined.
The hikkimori are a class of people that suffer from a culturally specific syndrome that would manifest itself in other ways outside Japan/Asia.
Depression or anxiety probably.
I think a large part of the problem is that it is very common in Japan for children to live with their parents for a relatively long time compared to Western (or at least American) society. And since Japanese culture is built on the honor/shame duality, everytime the child disappoints their parents, the effects compound. This eventually leads to a point where the child is so ashamed, they just lock themselves in their room to escape.
If children just left the house earlier, I think this would solve a lot of problems. They would leave their rooms because no one would be there to judge them.
As an aside, it’s interesting that the problem is only with men. Women are held to a lower standard and don’t feel the type of pressure as men to become successful and honor their parents.
Is this true?
Some argue that retreat into religion has historically resulted. Looking at the modern situation, we seem to be retreating into tech-assisted virtue signalling as our religious retreat. Sounds bizarre to make an argument that facebook or tumblr might be delaying cultural collapse by a decade or two in some areas, but I have read stuff like that.
Not talking about Japan specifically, this is basic human history and archeology stuff.
People can, have, and will put up with anything as long as it "works" for them, and when it no longer works, that's the end of that civilization's business model.
Historically speaking, nothing quite says "war and revolution" like a large and growing population of angry young men who were promised the world if they cooperated and now they're getting nothing.
I would argue that two effects might invalidate the claim against warfare. Human labor has been reduced in warfare, and democracy abstracts personal responsibility from decisionmaking.
For example, 5M dudes in their moms basement could vote, while remaining in their moms basement and never reaching the front lines, to extend the near shooting war between China jet fighters and Japanese recon planes that happened a couple years ago over that recently discovered East China Sea natural gas field. The kids will never personally fight unless something goes horribly wrong, and if the Japanese win, the kids will never work on offshore natgas platforms, but the economic effects of all those petro-dollars would raise all the boats in the entire country, such that 5M kids might get work at home or even salaryman jobs eventually leading to house, wife, and kids, and I bet a politician could court 5M or so votes using that logic. Politicians always seek power regardless of long term outcome. I mean, WRT the incident from 2014, we're not talking about hikki kids volunteering to personally fight in the jungle, all they have to do is tend to vote for people who tend to support a couple air force pilots being somewhat more aggressive than usual.
A similar dude with a job, wife, young kids, house, is not going to risk a war with China over some natgas fields and is not going to vote for a warmonger strategy politician. A kid kicked out of society because their isn't space in society for him anymore, has literally nothing to lose and everything to gain at the ballot box.
People who acquire the carrot on a stick are inherently small C conservative, and people kicked out of society's lifeboat are inherently rebellious, so its not even a simple binary thing of war or no war, its more an issue where political instability gets an automatic plus 5M points, which will lead to globally crazier outcomes than having zero additional automatic points.
Society failing kids by not delivering promises from national mythologies is a national security threat and a threat to global peace. Naturally of course everyone's gonna blame the kids and parents which is not going to fix anything, and if anything will just radicalize them further. "I thought I followed all the rules and didn't get what I was promised so I was just unlucky or they slightly disliked me, but turns out they hate me, so F them all lets nuke China and take their resources". And of course with a growing population around the world of the dispossessed and lied to, this is going to be a huge mess.
2016. One can very effectively wage a "war" through social media. Hacking aside, any angry young man (or woman) with an internet connection can foment serious change. He can get people out on the streets. He can trigger violence.
And even then, during the American colonial period and likely before, anyone who didn't participate in society would be regarded as seriously odd, at best.
There are whole books of past leaders speeches. Generals trained the speeches. In ancient Rome, rhetorics was the most important things a citizen boy had to learn.
Nor in the army or navy, unless commissioned (which was bought before about 1860, so you could be as dysfunctional as you like if you could afford it). Some of the most well known Victorians and Edwardians were pretty eccentric. To a degree that we'd probably find them dysfunctional today. Now we seem to expect a little of everything in everyone.
We have well known eccentric people now. Neither implies all that much about average person life. Nor that the average person would get away with the same. House hold servant would not be tolerated eccentricity.
Monks and hermits were praying to their God and meditating on spiritual topics, not playing video games and posting on internet forums which is what the hikikomori mostly do.
Do you consider your posting in this thread to be a overall positive? I do. I think it provides more value than praying over the topic would. For that reason alone, I wouldn’t necessarily consider the hikikomori to be worse than monks.
Just a thought.
Also, monks made or should made thought out choice. They did not locked themselves out of depression, fear and lack of energy to go outside.
I don't find being monk or nun something that makes much sense, but it is not nearly the same thing.
I think the sum of monks probably provided more value than the hikikomori, especially if you consider second order effects (preserved texts allowed the Florentine re-discovery of classical Greek/Roman philosophy, starting the Renaissance period)
You seem to think I'm advocating religion somehow; if so, you are quite mistaken.
Yes, spending time contemplating philosophical and spiritual questions, whether through a secular context or a religious context, is going to provide more value to the individual (and, indirectly, to society) than playing video games or posting on HN. How is this even in question?
And that's just the positive side. On the negative side, it seems a realistic hypothesis that The Unibomber had more total overall long term impact on society than all of Reddit. Realistic in the sense that its doable 50:50 odds debate topic, not realistic in the sense that obviously my hypothesis is unarguably correct. One weirdo deciding to voluntarily drop out of society and live alone in the woods causes X amount of drama, but kicking 5% of your population out of society and forcing them to angrily live alone in the woods will result in one-zillion times Z amount of drama.
Also, based on article, they are in distress and not happy with themselves. Also, they are completely dependent on their families help and don't contribute to household work at all. Even if they would be happy, there is issue of other people being taken advantage off having to care about them despite not wanting to.
> And lighthouse keepers. That used to be a thing.
Ah yes the lovely mercury fumes.
Something's not right about that figger. 1.57% out of a pop of 126MM is roughly 2MM.
Its people who've been stratified out of the workforce, and can't pay insane rates for education of either university level or trades.
How exactly are we tracking this? I know in the USA, we cheer and hooray when the unemployment numbers go down, but those are pegged to "how many people get unemployment"... And after at most 2 years, they drop off. And that makes the numbers on 'unemployment' go down!
Well, yes and no. It’s true that university is expensive (but you don’t need to repay loans until you are earning over a certain threshold). However it’s also true that if you take an apprenticeship a) you will be paid during training and b) a skilled tradesman or tradeswoman can easily out-earn most graduates, and this is well known.
if you can find and be accepted by one
In my area, we have a few trade unions and a steamfitters training facility. They take new potential apprentices 2x a year. When I looked into one a while back, there were over 500 people in front of me on the _reserve_ list. I nope'd out and looked for other avenues. There were a few others, but also had similar insane lines with estimates of years before getting an apprenticeship.
So yeah, while that path does exist and costs no cash out of my pocket, its mostly wishful thinking that this is a "get in, learn and do, and get paid" and more of a "hurry up and wait... maybe".
I'm not sure where you get the idea that incels are shut-ins, or an American take on what is essentially the concept of shut-ins in Japan. While I'm sure some hikkikomori do harbor such opinions, I find no reason to think they essentially do, or that it tends to it. If anything, I'd say that the phenomenon is much more similar to MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way), which seeks to reject romantic involvement, at least with women. Again, even that is a stretch.
Where do you get the idea that incels tend to be anime fans? I have the idea that people with more time on their hands who face social rejection turn to media and worlds to the periphery, which anime and manga provide very well - whole worlds of immersive entertainment that's produced every day, huge fan communities to throw yourself into. This is why it might apply to hikkis and NEETs.
I'd also question the idea that hikkikomori are simply less angry incels, or something along those lines. Feeling rejected and a distaste for "3D", opting for the world of fantasy is actually almost the opposite of the incel phenomenon, which is very much focused on what they take to be real world causes to their real world problems.
Of course a woman with traditional family and religious desires is still going to want to be treated with respect, so maybe that's a problem (from what I've seen of the "red pill" cult that overlaps incels). A major gripe of stay at home moms I know is that men do not respect the importance of what they do or the validity of their choice and look down on them.
The incel movement is mostly a self fulfilling prophecy. A group of men who failed to get partners and rather than attributing the failure to themselves, attributed it to the women. Thinking that they are low quality males and it is the women’s fault that their standards are too high. In the absence of this belief, they could probably find someone as you say. But they have convinced themselves that women as a collective will not accept men of their caliber. It’s an unusual message of “it’s not my fault I’m bad” and you won’t find much logic to it. Basically it’s angry men with low self esteem but high entitlement.
They are not closed in their rooms long term nor necessary unemployed. They go to school, gym, meet like minded friends.
Is this true? Although I get the impression that the incel movement is right-leaning, is there any reason to say that it's an essentially anti-socialist movement? What are its political goals? Is it even a movement?
The victims are likely to get blamed for economic problems such as demand destruction. If an economy for 100M people requires 100M "great jobs" spenders but only has 95M "great jobs" available, those 5M kicked out of society are going to have trouble keeping the consumer economy running. Resulting in economic contraction to a 95M person-sized economy for a 100M nation only having maybe 90M "good jobs" rinse and repeat until collapse.
Interesting statement. What previous societal collapses can you cite to back up that claim?
I hate to Godwin the discussion but as a trivial example I don't think the Jews got gassed in Germany because the economy was too strong and Weimar was too politically stable. Generally you don't want to be part of a small outgroup during a societal collapse, the masses will demand somebody gotta be burned at the stake and its not going to be the popular group.
Your points don’t seem to be aligned though. Minorities suffering is not the same as blaming the first coincidental victims of economic downturn.
The Great Depression in West Virginia seemed rather wholesome and pleasant as portrayed by "The Waltons", so rivers of guillotine blood in the French Revolution are not a guaranteed outcome. The whole point of this problem being that kids won't have jobs, friends, spouses, houses, and kids, means a happy "The Waltons" outcome is unrealistic to expect, however. If the whole point of the problem, is the opiate of the masses has been taken from some of them, its gonna be a bad one.