We currently experience a situation of dislocation: a grave disturbance in the balance between our needs for autonomy, achievement, and social belonging. The lockdown in which we find ourselves has undermined every one of these vital needs. Our autonomy is curbed by external restrictions. Our achievements seem to dwarf in the face of the existential threat posed by the Covid-19 virus. And our social belonging is under pressure as a result of our practiced social distancing.
According to psychologist Bruce Alexander dislocation is “excruciatingly painful”. According to him, dislocation equals “an enduring lack of psychosocial integration”. It undermines our sense of identity and meaning as it destroys the profound interdependence between us and society that has developed throughout our lifespan.
The challenge ahead regarding online communication is that it should help us restore at least part of our psychosocial integration. It is upon us to figure out how online communication can enlarge our sense of autonomy, our sense of achievement and our sense of social belonging.