the cruel myth of the rugged individual

Jesse Singal:

In other words, it may simply be the case that many people who lived in less equal, more “traditional” times were forced into close companionship with a lot of other people, and that this shielded them from certain psychological problems, whatever else was going on in their lives.“I often think about my grandmother on my mother’s side, who ran a farm in rural Minnesota with my grandfather,” said Twenge. “They had seven children, and they had to get up at five o’clock every day to milk the cows. My uncle tells me stories about her pushing a plow and stopping to barf because she was pregnant so many times.” It was a tough life, in other words, but: “She was always surrounded by people — not just her immediate family, but she had extended families, brothers and sisters, living in the farms around her. She was virtually never alone — and that can be a bad thing, clearly, but from a mental health perspective being surrounded by people is a good thing.”