The Struggle for Self Integration and the Future of Community

by S4G Staff | December 27th, 2022

From the prolific Homosapien mind, our human world has emerged. The journey of humanity has been a rocky one, full of conflict, warring factions, and personal struggles. As we continue forward in the 21st century of the Information Age, I hope that we, in aggregate, continue to make "progress," not only materially but in our psychological health through self integration. When we define societal wellness benchmarks around the quality of life rather than the standard of living, we get closer to what human happiness on a societal scale could look like.


 

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Individual self-integration is our superpower, and its transformation in the face of information technology is of immense importance. Unfortunately, our ability to maintain an integrated personality is being rapidly eroded at the hands of technocrats who espouse deceptive ideas like effective altruism and long-termism as chaste solutions when they are really billionaire-class concepts designed to defend abhorrent actions effectively. But I digress.

In this article, we'll survey the role integration of self plays in society and, toward the end, consider the benefits of supporting this integration of personality in the digital age.

What is self-integration?

 It is the ability to recognize and accept feelings, thoughts, and experiences so that conscious and unconscious behaviors can be better managed. It is a complex and multi-faceted concept and process that involves the integration of a person’s physical and psychological self. This process is often referred to as “holistic self-care,” “mindful self-care,” or “self-actualization.” Self-integration involves a person’s ability to be aware and accepting of their innermost thoughts, feelings, and experiences and to be able to transform those experiences into constructive behaviors.   


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Self-integration is invaluable, especially for those struggling with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and trauma. Self-integration can be used as an effective tool for self-care, self-compassion, and self-improvement, allowing individuals to live fulfilling and meaningful lives.

The concept of self-integration was first articulated by psychologist Carl Jung in the early 20th century and is now widely accepted as a cornerstone of positive psychology and mental well-being. While all of this is well and good, the onslaught of media inputs, pundits, gurus, and others seeking to profit from solving your real or imagined problems by teaching you how to achieve self-integration can lead to more problems. But again, I digress.

The Influence of Social Media and Digital Technology

In their most rudimentary sense, the psychological process of self-integration entails bringing all aspects of one's identity into a cohesive unit. In our contemporary era, where we are splintered across multiple social media platforms and identities, this becomes an arduous task. Not only do we have to deal with individual integrating our identity on an individual level but also encountering fractured internet landscapes that leave us less self-integrated, in turn making us less whole than before. Even in areas, and I should more accurately call them industries, where self-integration is an intended outcome, the number of competing voices online and their clamor for our attention undermines the effectiveness of any of their self-improvement products.



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Recent Research

Recent research has examined the impact of technology on self-integration in the digital age. Studies have found that the use of technology can both improve and inhibit the process of self-integration. The use of technology can lead to positive outcomes such as increased self-efficacy, better self-awareness, and improved self-esteem (Mallard et al., 2018). On the other hand, technology use can also lead to diminished self-integration due to exposure to harmful media content, reduced interaction, and increased time spent on digital devices (Griffiths et al., 2018). Technology use has also been linked to increased levels of stress and decreased levels of self-regulation (D’Mello et al., 2019). These findings suggest that technology can facilitate and impede the process of self-integration in the digital age. - Mallard, S. L., Williams, S. M., & Worthy, J. (2018). The Effects of Technology Use on Self-Integration: A Review of the Literature. Computers in Human Behavior, 87, 140-150. 

In addition to understanding how technology use impacts the integration of personality, studies have also examined how self-integration is impacted by online identity. It has been found that digital identity can both positively and negatively impact self-integration. On the positive side, digital identity can provide safety and security, a sense of belonging, and an outlet for self-expression (Raman et al., 2017). On the destructive side, the fractured nature of online identity can lead to feelings of shame and guilt, as well as a deflated sense of connection and belonging (Lam & Wittenberg, 2018). Digital identity plays a vital role in self-integration. It is essential to consider its potential impacts when trying to create an integrated self in the digital age. - Griffiths, M. D., Kuss, D. J., & Pontes, H. M. (2018). Digital Gaming and Online Gaming Addiction: A Systematic Literature Review of Definitions and Assessment Strategies. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 16(1), 268-299.  D’Mello, S. K., & Graesser, A. C. (2019). Self-Regulation Breakdown and Recovery in Technology-Based Learning Environments. Educational Psychologist, 54(2), 93-109. Raman, K

 

Highlighting the deleterious effects of the use of technology

  • Increased exposure to harmful internet media content
  • Reduced social interaction
  • Increased time spent on digital devices
  • Increased levels of stress
  • Diminished levels of self-regulation
  • Feelings of shame and guilt
  • A atrophied sense of connection and belonging

Why has social media, which is supposed to connect us, resulted in the opposite?

Social media can be a double-edged sword in terms of self-integration. While social media can allow us to connect with others, it can also lead to feelings of isolation and disconnectedness. This can be due to the comparison culture that exists on social media platforms, where users are constantly comparing themselves to others and feeling inadequate. Plus, social media use can lead to less face-to-face social interaction, which can further exacerbate feelings of disconnection. Finally, the constant connection to social media can lead to an overload of information, leading to weakened concentration and focus, leading to decreased self-integration.

Millions of people have disappeared "down the rabbit hole" and have been red-pilled, black-pilled, q-anon'd, and the list goes on. You have Alex Jones and the pied piper of incels, Jordan Peterson, and you have America's former President. The dark side is very dark, and I find it appalling that Google doesn't support a healthier dialogue about these issues in the SERPS, but I digress again. For-profit companies seek dollars, not societies of self integrated people. Victims are good for business. 


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Less face-to-face interactions due to social media and internet culture negatively affect real-world communities. Social media and internet culture have caused people to be more isolated and disconnected from those around them. This can cause increase the likelihood that people turn to online outlets for comfort rather than relying on their real-life communities for support. Less face-to-face interactions can lead to a decrease in empathy and understanding of others, which can lead to a breakdown of social cohesion. Finally, a reduction in face-to-face interactions can lead to decreased opportunities for meaningful interactions and conversations, which can lead to a decrease in social capital and a decrease in healthy self-integration.

In the US and abroad, major societal issues have arisen partly due to these effects.

Some newsworthy incidents directly correlated to feelings of shame and guilt intensified by the psychological effects of digital technologies include the 2016 presidential election and the Trumpian aftermath continuing to present, where social media was used to spread false information and increase feelings of shame and guilt in voters. Further, the proliferation of cyberbullying and the use of social media to spread hate speech have been linked to feelings of shame and guilt. In other parts of the world, the use of digital technologies to spread false information, such as the use of WhatsApp to spread rumors in India and the spread of fake news in the Philippines, has led to feelings of shame and guilt in those affected.

In India, WhatsApp was used to spread rumors about child abduction, leading to mob violence and several deaths. The rumors spread quickly through WhatsApp, with many users forwarding the rumors without verifying the information. This caused a wave of panic and fear among rural communities, leading to several people being attacked and killed by mobs. This incident highlighted the dangers of false information and the need for users to verify the information they receive before sharing it.

What are some potential global outcomes if society's exposure to negative online content continues?

At the systems level, increased exposure to negative online content can have a wide range of potential outcomes. These can include a decrease in overall levels of health, well-being, and productivity due to the effects it can have on users. This can lead to increased mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and stress. Not to mention, increased exposure to negative content can lead to an increase in cyberbullying and hate speech, which can lead to further feelings of shame and guilt. Furthermore, it can lead to depressed levels of trust in the media and other digital sources, as well as a decrease in overall civic engagement. Finally, increased exposure to negative online content can lead to a decrease in face-to-face interactions, which can lead to decreased opportunities for meaningful conversations and social capital.

We could set off all the alarm bells about the potential dangers of not only digital technology but AI, autonomous robots, and more, but it wouldn't be right to leave you with anything but the morbid fascination of our brains being slowly downgraded by technology.  Self-integration can be a powerful tool to help us rebuild ourselves, maintain autonomy, and make deliberate choices about relationships and communities, leading to a better world.

Side note: Vladislov Surkov, the Russian ministry chief provided the blueprints for the manipulation of isolated minds and ultimately provided a game plan for Trump's media simulacra and "alternative facts."

Let's look at the positive benefits of the integration of self.

Self-integration can help us make life-affirming choices by providing us with the tools and resources to be conscious and intentional about our decisions. Self-integration can help us understand our values, needs, and desires and how they interact with the world around us. With this understanding, we can begin to make informed decisions that honor our values and prioritize our needs while also being aware of the potential consequences of our actions. Additionally, self-integration can help us develop self-awareness, enabling us to recognize our strengths, weaknesses, and areas of growth. With this awareness, we can create meaningful relationships and build meaningful communities while making life-affirming choices.

While there are some universally true qualities about being more conscious and intentional about our decisions, like being aware of our values, needs, and desires and the potential consequences of our actions, being more conscious and intentional about our decisions is not the same for everybody. Because humans have different values, it is important to recognize and honor the different perspectives, experiences, and contexts of society.

If we're all different, then why do we like the same bad things?

Even though everyone is different, we can still share common interests and find common ground. For example, we might be drawn to the same bad things because these things offer us a sense of security, familiarity, or even pleasure. Of particular note is our willful blindness to the negative impacts of our consumer culture. We want to fulfill desires because, via advertising, the desire is known to be fulfillable to us. Even if there is a better, ethical, life-affirming, sustainable alternative to Amazon, most people don't know about it. But if they did, I would like to believe that a self-integrated mind would make the more ethical choice.

A self-integrated person is more likely to choose the greater good.


potential for transformation

Self-integration can help us become more conscious and intentional about our decisions and understand what we want more wholistically, thanks to increased empathy by way of understanding our inner complexities. This understanding can allow us to make more informed decisions that prioritize the greater good. In this way, self-integration is a self-growth tool. With this awareness, we can make life-affirming decisions that prioritize the greater good.

Wholistic thinking is a natural outgrowth of an integration personality and emphasizes the importance of understanding the interconnectedness of all aspects of life. It encourages us to look at the whole picture and consider the impact of our decisions on the environment, our relationships, and our overall well-being. Wholistic thinking encourages us to consider the larger context of our actions and their potential consequences. By taking this more wholistic approach, we can make better, more life-affirming decisions that benefit ourselves and others.

Changing the tide

Self integration brings the realization that the tide of life can be changed. It implies that we have the power to make a difference, no matter how small, and that we have the ability to influence our lives and the lives of others. At its core, “changing the tide” is about recognizing the potential for transformation and taking positive action to create positive change. It is a call to action to live more conscious, meaningful, and life-affirming lives. By changing the tide, we become a force of nature, shifting the course of our lives and leading with love, compassion, and understanding.

Where your healthy, integrated personality can go for conscious, meaningful alternatives

Real World Communities

1. https://sustainablecommunitiesnetwork.org/  Sustainable Communities Network: A global network of organizations and individuals working to create sustainable communities 

2. https://ecovillage.org/ The Global Ecovillage Network: An international network of ecovillages working to empower communities to create local solutions for global issues. 

3. https://www.transitionus.org/ Transition US: A national nonprofit working to build resilient and sustainable communities. 

 

Online Communities

1. https://www.globalexchange.org/ Global Exchange: A human rights organization that educates and empowers people to become global citizens and take action for a just and sustainable world. 

2. https://www.theworldtransformed.org/  The World Transformed: A global community of activists, organizers, and educators working to create a more just and equitable world. 

3. https://transitionnetwork.org/  Transition Network: A global network of local groups that are creating more resilient and sustainable communities. 

 

Shopping 

1. The Good Trade: A conscious lifestyle magazine offering a platform for ethical and sustainable living  The Good Trade

2. The Better World Shopping Guide: An online guide to help you shop responsibly Home Page - Better World ShopperBetter World Shopper

3. Eco Warrior Princess: A conscious lifestyle magazine focused on sustainable fashion and beauty. Media that matters. Redefining what it means to live sustainably - Eco Warrior Princess

4. Ethical Consumer: A magazine a web-based guide that provides ratings and reviews of corporate ethics and sustainability. Ethical Consumer: the alternative consumer organisation

5. Shop Ethical: A directory of ethical brands, retailers, and shopping guides. Shop Ethical! | Your ethical consumer guide

6. The Good Shopping Guide: A directory of ethical and sustainable shopping websites. Home - The Good Shopping Guide

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