Why it’s so Hard to come Home from War

“Well, I think we’re a completely alienated society, and we just don’t notice as much because most of us don’t have the experience of incredible closeness that soldiers are allowed to enjoy. We don’t notice because we don’t know anything different. I think Western society basically invented loneliness. Most societies through human history experienced tribal cultures, with people sleeping shoulder to shoulder in shelters and hunting together and raising children together. Everything was communal, and we just don’t do that, and I don’t think it works well psychologically. Soldiers actually do have exactly that experience in combat, and then the reentry into this alienated society we’ve created is extremely hard. There’s a reason Western society has such a high suicide rate, such a high depression rate, child abuse rate, crime rate, and so on. Those behaviors are at epidemic levels in our society; that’s the society soldiers are coming back to and it’s pretty shocking to them.”

May 30, 2014 / From Ideas.Ted.com