The sense of community technology provides has caused the greatest evolution and deterioration of a society in observable history. Never before have people been more connected with, and equally disconnected from, one another.

The paradox of this technology is that we think it provides us more connection and a greater sense of community. The reality is that it often leads to higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.

This phenomenon is relatively new, having only truly started taking its toll over the past decade or so. Despite this, studies have begun drawing conclusions between the constant use of technology and its impact on human beings.

Many theories point to the idea that the amount of information we consume on a consistent basis leads to higher subconscious stress levels.

There is also a strong connection between technology use and our tendencies toward pleasure. The chemical dopamine, which is the driving factor behind internal motivation, is to thank for this.

Dopamine is released in our brains when we eat good food, exercise, and have genuine social interactions. In essence, this chemical acts as a reward system; it pats us on the back for beneficial behavior and encourages us to repeat that behavior.

The Nature Cure

To counter this, research has been done to support the idea that spending more time in nature can remedy our abuse of technology. Researchers have found that spending at least two hours per week in nature, either all at once or spread out, will produce a positive impact.

This time frame leads to better health and psychological well-being than those with no nature exposure.

The principles of stoicism also support this philosophy. One of the guiding ideas of stoicism is living in accordance with nature. The term ‘nature’ can, of course, be interpreted in many ways.

To the ancient Stoics, nature was correlated to the idea of natural law. Natural law is generally considered a system of justice thought to be common to all humans and derived from nature rather than from the rules of society.

Of course, nature as in ‘the outdoors’ and nature as in ‘natural law’ are not the same thing. However, ancient Stoics could not account for the technological evolution we’ve experienced. The connection between the two is still certainly recognizable.

Spending time in nature provides an opportunity to observe both the world and yourself objectively. There is no gratification feedback loop feeding us information in nature. There is no persuasion or influence in nature.

Connecting with the world around you allows you to recenter yourself. You can then evaluate your own life in accordance with natural law.

Sense of Community

The longing for connection and a sense of community are inherent characteristics of human beings. Stoicism is often misconceived to promote isolation and seclusion. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

In the ninth book of Meditations, Marcus Aurelius suggests that solitude and isolation are like cutting off your own limbs. Essentially, you cannot survive and prosper in life alone.


The timing of this writing is coincidental because of the current predicament the stock market is experiencing.

While much of these events do not coincide with stoic principles, there is one clear driving factor that has kept this situation alive – the sense of community.

The GameStop ($GME) Revolution

For a quick background on what happened here, let’s quickly run through the idea of short selling a stock.

Assume you think the price of XYZ stock will go down in the future. You then borrow shares of this stock and sell them at the current market price.

Once you’ve done that, you publish research claiming why XYZ company is currently overvalued, and why people should sell their shares of it. Many people will agree with your research, thus decreasing the price of XYZ stock.

You then buy shares at the current price and give them back to your lender.

Your profit is the difference between the higher price you sold the borrowed shares at, and the lower price you paid to acquire the shares you will return to the lender.

But what if XYZ stock price doesn’t go down? You still owe the lender the shares you borrowed, so you will have to buy them back at some point.

The Perfect Storm

This is where the hedge funds and market movers found themselves in a bit of a dilemma. Not only did they borrow a ton of shares under the assumption the price would go down; they borrowed more shares than exist.

This is where one individual on a subreddit found a problem, did the research to explain the problem, and then got enough people on board with his theory to affect change.

In fact, so many people got on board that there have been millions who have bought and held GameStop ($GME) stock.

The theory is that as long as people do not sell, the hedge funds that borrowed all those shares will have to buy them back at current market prices. This will only drive the price up more, causing what’s known as a short squeeze.

This has caused a historic moment in how the stock market operates, and probably will operate moving forward.

GME and a Sense of Community

The relation to a sense of community is how this story has gained attention and been perceived. Many large networks are perpetuating stories about how this will cause market collapse and ruin the economy.

This is clearly an attempt to create fear and encourage people to sell their shares of GameStop ($GME). As a result, many retail investors (average people buying shares on their own) have begun to question the integrity of these networks. Instead of selling, the movement has only gained more traction.

The GME event has opened people’s eyes to the questionable behavior of many hedge funds, brokerages, and the financial system as a whole.

Some of these multi-billion dollar hedge funds created risky positions in a stock, were exposed, and are now trying to change the rules since they didn’t play out in their favor. As it looks now, they’ve lost at their own game.

One of the more substantial side effects of this movement is the sense of community it has created.

This is the first event in the past few years with widespread media attention that has not resulted in a political correlation. While some news outlets are attempting to politicize this predicament, that’s not what this is about.

The People vs the Elite

As this story gained traction, more and more people have involved themselves under a common theme. The idea of avenging the elite that has profited at the expense of the average person appears to be the common goal.

There are many stories of people who lost everything during the 2008 recession, largely because of the risky positions taken by banks and hedge funds. While these large entities were bailed out, the average person was left, and in some cases is still, picking up the pieces.

This movement is about far more than making money off of the risky position these hedge funds took in GME. The sense of community is apparent, and has lead to some pretty spectator results.

Of those who have taken profits in GME, some have paid it forward in the form of donations to their local children’s hospitals and various nonprofit organizations. The cohesiveness of this online community ‘buying and holding’ has resulted in a positive impact on their local communities as well.

A Sense of Community Beyond GME

Nothing lasts forever, and this situation is no different. It has, however, paved the way for a stronger sense of community as a whole.

In a world of constant political divide (often imposed by media), this shines a light on the potential for more.

Instead of buying into the imposed division, recognize the source of the information you receive. View their information objectively. This event has exposed the interests of many news outlets and other elite organizations.

Is the U.S. really as divided as we are all lead to believe? The GME movement may prove that imposed political division has distracted us from the root of the problem.

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