An article in last Sunday’s New York Times, on the year of the blur, talks about how social isolation has compromised our emotional condition and our sense of time. The author of this editorial in the New York Times, his name is Alex Williams, argues that we need social interaction in order to do two things. First of all, social interactions give us typical markers that help us define important events that set up milestones in our lives. And secondly, social interaction helps us to maintain a sense of ourselves. As a sociologist, I could not agree more with Alex William’s editorial.
There was a famous sociology theorist by the name of George Horton Cooley who developed the concept of the looking-glass self and this concept has been very important in a subfield of sociology called social psychology. The notion of the looking-glass self is that we look at other people, we interact with other people and we come to understand how they view us. In other words, other people in our lives are like looking glasses — looking mirrors — looking glasses and we see ourselves as they see us. And we incorporate our understandings of what other people tell us about ourselves, into our own self-identity. I can certainly understand how the social isolation that so many of us have experienced over a long time since the global pandemic was declared in mid-march can affect our sense of self.