As more and more people have lived in closer and closer proximity, and urban population density has climbed into the thousands per square mile, all of human society has been affected.
When the population was a tenth of what it is today, in the 1700’s, people valued almost any human contact because they didn’t see other people very often. In the 18th and 19th century (and before), most people lived on farms and many of them were isolated, rarely seeing other people outside their own household. When anyone saw another person, they were happy to see them, greeted them in a friendly way, and talked a bit. Many people in remote areas got their news this way.
By the end of the 19th century cities had begun to grow rapidly as many young people from the farms, no longer needed as technology made farming more efficient, moved to the cities to find work. As population densities increased, people could not greet everyone on the street any more – there were just too many people for that. Thus, people started ignoring each other on the street, unless they had a relationship of some kind, a habit which persists to this day.
At the end of the 20th century the crowding in cities became extreme, and a small percentage of the population became increasingly paranoid and distrustful and, with the help of organizations of bigots like the KKK and of fascist propaganda, a hatred that reinforced their self-imposed isolation and obedience to conservative leaders was spawned in them, and it grew and spread.
Today the epidemic of hatred and fear has been pumped up to extremely high levels by conservative strategists, the current president, and the conservative media. As a result, hate-inspired mass shootings have become daily occurrences.
I believe it is likely that, as the global population continues to surge toward 10 billion, the fear, hatred, and violence will only increase, and conservative politicians will only see reason to encourage it for their own benefit. I only hope it will not lead to an unjustified war or civil war, as nobody would benefit.
We have a lot to be afraid of, but it is not each other.
Thanks for reading — Tim