Eyal Cohen

Conflict and Circumvention

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There’s this term in sociology called “collective effervescence.” It essentially means “the sum is greater than its parts,” except the term was coined by a French sociologist in the 1800s so originally it was probably something closer to “the slug is tastier with its shell.” Or maybe “the wet wipes are more efficient than the shower.” The best way to define CE is to describe it as the feeling people get when sitting in a room smoking or drinking with their friends. Some sort of connective tissue tethers everyone in the room, so that each person feels like they’re more than the individual that they are. Maybe it’s kind of like how ketchup is good and mayo is good but when mixed together they make up the ideal fry-dipping condiment (my undergrad friend group used to call this “fancy sauce” and I don’t know if anything could ever characterize young men who play soccer better than that). CE is what people tend to feel when they watch concerts or sporting events. It’s the feeling people get when it’s 1 AM at a karaoke bar and the opening horns of “Sweet Caroline” start playing. It’s the feeling you get when you’re a part of a collective and are feeling effervescent. I feel like you understand the meaning of the words.

The reason it’s so important, this idea of collective effervescence, is because it affirms us. It tells us, as individuals, that we belong to something that matters. Without being able to apply our individuality to a collective cause or purpose, we lose our very connection from the social world we live in. When we lose our sense of collective effervescence, we stumble into what that French sociologist (whose name was Émile Durkheim, btw) defined as “anomie:” a sense of loneliness, listlessness, and alienation. Durkheim coined this term after studying and analyzing suicide rates across Europe at the time. He found that whenever people lost connection with the society they lived in, they killed themselves (there were national, religious, and marital factors that went into this, and if you want to talk about the study in depth, you can always call me to discuss and we won’t tell anyone that we’ll refer to our chat as an Academic Suicide Hotline).

There are lines to be drawn between this study from 1800s Europe to the prominence of gun violence in modern day America. Suicide as a “solution” or “reaction” to loneliness in 1800s France being substituted in 21st century USA with a manifesto on social media and an AK-47 from Walmart. But we shouldn’t digress. (And we definitely shouldn’t quote Rebecca Solnit who said: “When you see ‘lone gunman,’ everyone talks about loners and guns but not about men.” Not the time for that.)

Point being, we need to be a part of something. Often, that something is easy. Often, we have many somethings: family, friends, favorite team, cohort, SpinCycle class, Swiftie army. Whatever your thing may be, you have to continuously reaffirm your being a part of it. It is important to repeatedly reignite your ties with communities of like-minded people. You could say—or Durkheim may have said, perhaps—that a life is saved every time a person attends something like a family dinner, or a Friendsgiving, or a concert. Or, I guess, a protest.

I’m on my way to observe a protest now, actually. It’s the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend. A few hours from now, I’ll be in conversation with someone about what I did today, and, again, I’ll be specific with my word-choice and say “I went to observe a protest.” The intentionality of language is not for the purpose of depicting this event as some religious holiday like Yom Kippur, but to ensure that no one thinks I went to protest. Much like when I’d attend college parties in which females were present, I’m just going to look. The protest is a “Palestine Rally” organized by Within Our Lifetime (WOL), an organization that defines itself as “A promise, a motivational cry, a rally, and a call to action with the steadfast belief that no matter what obstacles we will face, victory of the oppressed is inevitable.”

The protest, a part of WOL’s “Anti-Colonial Tour,” is being held at Columbus Circle. In case you’re not that familiar with NYC, the Circle is home to—probably—the third busiest subway station in Manhattan (I would actually have it second but I’ll give the edge to Penn St. mostly due to the fact I don’t feel like arguing [14 St. probably also has a worthy claim for top three and I don’t think you need to be that familiar with NYC to know which station is unequivocally number one]). The Circle is located at the bottom left corner of the iconic Central Park (presuming you’re looking at the map the conventional way), and is home to countless office buildings, a luxurious and massive four-story shopping mall, horses and carriages and food trucks and beggars and vendors and performers and bird shit and a massive bronze statue of some dude who sailed a ship across—instead of down—the Atlantic Ocean a few centuries ago, and, of course, three Starbucks locations. There, at this plaza named after Christopher Columbus—a man best known for his work as an explorer, navigator, and leader of fleets who exploited indigenous societies in lands they mistakenly believed to be India, an assertion they insisted on and which led to centuries of erasure of people and names and languages and cultures, during the holiday weekend that celebrates the folklore genesis of it all—is a protest against colonialism.

The irony of this, I should say, is intentional. WOL’s Instagram post that informed me about this protest had a red line crossing out the words “Columbus Circle” on the protest’s location; a form of affirmative censorship, I believe. The red line, it should be noted, was very thin, since, you know, people still needed to be able to see and understand the meaning of the words. In the caption, when detailing when the protest was taking place, WOL called this holiday “thankstaking,” and, you know what, I’m here for it. I am, as you know, a whore for wordplay, so I commend (has anyone else found themselves momentarily mixing up ‘commend’ and ‘condemn’ over the last couple of months?) any attempt at playing with language, so, props to them. Wol Done. The final ironic tidbit of all of this, and this one wasn’t intentional, is that the Instagram account on which I saw this infographic belongs to someone who identifies as a part of the LGBTQ community, which perhaps screams—or throws—the irony of it all off the top of a roof. Anyway.

There’s a crucial notion I just alluded to in the last paragraph. I will return to it in a moment.

When I told a couple of friends that I’ll be going to observe this protest today, they both asked why; what’s the point. I’m curious, I said, which I am. I’m sure we’ve all seen some form of protest online over the last couple of months. I wanted to go in person and see and hear exactly not only what is said, but who is saying. I know, though, that I’m bringing my bias into this protest. We’re all biased. All the time. I’m taking the 1 train downtown in search of confirmation. I know exactly what I’m going to look for, and when you know what you’re looking for it becomes much easier to find. I walk out of the subway station at Columbus Circle, and here’s what I find.

There are, I’d say, around 400 people gathered at the entrance to the shopping mall. Most are holding up Palestinian flags and signs, a few of which read: “Jews for Palestine,” “Filipinas for Palestine,” and “Queers for Palestine.” Many of the protestors are wearing keffiyehs and I’m willing to wager a decent sum of money that at least some of these people—don’t tell anyone I said this, but I’m mostly looking at the white ones—are not Arab nor had they ever worn a keffiyeh prior to, say, a month ago. This strikes me as both oddly fascinating and fascinatingly odd. It also makes me think of cultural appropriation, and whether it is permitted under the guise of solidarity.

I park myself on the northern end of the protest next to three cops. The protestors—who I’m observing—form some kind of a circle, at the center of which is a gaping hole, approximately 15 feet in diameter, inside which stands a lady with a microphone and a very loud speaker. I lean against the glass wall of the mall and do my best to hear her words, attempt to understand not only their meaning, but who the people listening are.

Mic Lady begins her spiel, centering most of her opening remarks about the following three numerical facts: 20,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, 8,000 of them are children, and 500 aid trucks have been blocked from entering the Strip. Each of these facts, each time it is repeated, is echoed by a loud “Shame!” response from the crowd. I wonder to myself how the crowd knows to reply in such coordinated perfection. No one prepped us for this. Is this just standard protest behavior? Did they all come yesterday to rehearse? Who knows. I make a note to myself to check whether the numbers the lady is reciting are accurate, though, regardless of what I’ll find, I understand two things:

  1. Does it matter, really, on a macro level, whether the death toll is 20K or, say, 16K?
  2. For the 400 or so people around me, the numbers are true.

Two young women, probably in their early 20s, approach where I stand. It’s chilly in NYC today, so they’re dressed in long garments, though there’s a chance they’d be in similar attire even if it was August. Both women are adorning a traditional Muslim head covering, rendering their faces as their only visible body parts. Their palms are visible, too, I guess. Both women’s faces carry anywhere between “some” and “a fuck-ton” of makeup. I realize I am saying this as a man who can only speak from observation and not experience, but I am confident—as men who don’t actually know tend to be—that the range of makeup I offered is accurate. It would be overly simplistic of me, here, to argue that these ladies’ abundant use of makeup is an attempt to accentuate the only part of themselves their religion permits them to show (and even that permission is nuanced and contextual, I guess). It would be simplistic to contend that maybe if they didn’t have to adhere to certain rules, these women wouldn’t feel the need to use so much foundation and mascara. Or, alternatively, maybe if they were permitted to, they’d accentuate even more of themselves. Maybe, just maybe, context doesn’t matter, and my opinion of how much makeup a woman does or doesn’t have or should or shouldn’t use is better left unsaid. Maybe this paragraph is earning me the label of “sexist” or “Islamophobic” or “man.” So be it. I’ll just say that we’re probably better off asking and answering questions, simplistic or ignorant as they may be, rather than ignoring them.

Two young white dudes, both in puffer vests carrying Patagonia bags and wearing the type of sunglasses you should only be wearing if you fish, have three kids, make sure that the first driving lesson you give your kid includes a whiteboard and instructive videos and absolutely no holding the wheel, and you—probably—have only ever had missionary sex, show up. They ask the cops standing next to me if the protest is blocking all five entrances to the mall, and the cops say that one door is open, and just like that, the white men ignore what’s going on and proceed to gain access.

Mic Lady begins talking about the hostage releases that started today. She tells the crowd about the “Beautiful images of Palestinian youth and women, imprisoned since they were children, returning home,” to which the crowd cheers and applauds. She adds that, “This could have been done since the very beginning,” contending that, “This goes to show they chose to kill 20,000 people first,” which the crowd responds to with another “Shame!” As I write her quotes down, word for word, I wonder whether over-simplistic arguments aren’t only efficient, but convenient. I wonder what words mean. And who is listening.

Did you cross the border, murder, burn, rape, and kidnap civilians—as young as nine-months-old and as old as 85 years—from their homes? No problem, let’s just bring in Mark Cuban and have him help us immediately negotiate a deal that everyone will feel happy about.

Were your borders crossed, your civilians murdered, burned, raped, and kidnapped? Go ahead and inflict violence in an attempt to find the culprits, eradicate the organization that unleashed that terror on you, and bring your civilians back, regardless of how much death and destruction you leave in your wake, and the generational effect that will have on the people in your region.

Somewhere between those last two paragraphs is where we’ll land. Somewhere there, the pendulum will swing enough in one way or the other, the numbers ladies speak into microphones will be rendered sufficient for those in charge to go, “Okay, that’s enough, let’s negotiate,” with the hope that the other side won’t be traumatized and vindictive and scarred about the horror they lived and witnessed and experienced; that the other side will be open and amicable to any and all negotiations and regulations because let’s just find peace. Long-lasting peace. Hopefully that will happen. (Spoiler alert: it won’t.)

The phrase I hear from Mic Lady next is “prisoner swap,” which, again, doesn’t make a lot of sense in my brain. Calling this a “prisoner swap” is inaccurate; it is an injustice to the elderly women and toddlers whose only crime was waking up in Israel on October 7th (we probably shouldn’t digress by quoting Bill Burr who asked: “How come anytime there’s a hostage situation, who do they negotiate for first? ‘Well, at least let the women and children go.’ What about me? Bullets hurt me too, why the fuck do I got to stay in the vault?” Not the time for that). On the other hand, we could also say that a teenager being sentenced to 20 years in prison for throwing a rock at a car doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, either. A pretty disproportionate punishment for such an offense.

Unless, I guess, we consider the story of a man named Dor, whose cousin was driving her 4-year-old daughter when their car was struck by a rock thrown by a Palestinian teenager, causing the car to crash into a truck, and the toddler, a four-year-old, to be hospitalized for two and a half years before succumbing to her injuries and dying. What makes sense, then. Is imprisonment dictated by intent or by outcome. How are we to adjudicate the intent of a 14-year-old boy who was taught, his whole life, to hate; who was told to simply chuck a rock; who was instructed to only ever consider the derogatory religion or nationality on the receiving end of that rock, not the humanity. How are we to comprehend what sort of injustice that 14-year-old may have seen with his own eyes? How are we to reconcile with an outcome that shatters a family for good? How many more generations must be shattered for things to start making sense; for us to start looking for sense? Trite and cliché questions, those are. I’ll just say that we’re probably better off asking and answering questions, trite or cliché as they may be, rather than ignoring them. Rather than making over-simplistic and convenient statements.

A little girl, maybe 4-years-old, shows up holding a woman’s hand. A mother and daughter, I presume, enacting the only thing I can imagine a mother doing with her 4-year-old. The little girl is bundled up in a coat and is wearing pink ear muffs and a pink bow and she asks her mother what’s going on and her mother says that it’s a protest and then they walk inside and I never find out whether the little girl—as little kids are wont to do and as many adults could benefit from doing—asked any more questions.

A man pulls up with a tattered—and I mean absolutely tattered; ripped and dirty and shredded and begrimed—American flag, holding up a sign that reads, “UNFUCK THE WORLD.” Instantly, he is my favorite human being here.

Mic Lady starts talking about how this protest is taking place on “the celebration of another Thanksgiving weekend,” which the crowd responds to with another “Shame!” This makes me wonder how many people got together with loved ones and had turkey yesterday. Most likely, none of them. They’re probably all vegan.

There was a joke there, of course, but the curiosity is very much real. How many of the people here are standing and condemning (not commending) the colonial history of this holiday, despite the fact they partook in some form of celebration yesterday. How much meaning do these chants carry, really, if these people’s walk is different from their talk?

A couple of days ago, I saw a video on Twitter that took place outside the shopping mall I’m currently leaning against. It was another protest, where the protestors chanted, “Bombs are dropping / Why are you shopping?” What does that mean? Did any of the human beings reciting those words buy a Christmas gift for their mom this year? Should I think less of them if they did? Or have these people not purchased any sort of luxury or good since October 7th? Does it matter if the purchase was done in a luxurious shopping mall in NYC or delivered to their door with next day delivery courtesy of the Great God Bezos? Can atrocity and sadness only be combatted via an abstinence from joy? How does one reconcile criticizing others for doing in public what one does behind closed doors?

Observing others is easy. Talking is, too, easy. Turning a blind eye to the mirror is too easy. I know this because I’m in the midst of doing all three.

What do words mean. Who are they talking to. And who is listening. That’s what I want to know. Do these people know what they’re saying, because if so, I want to know what they believe they are saying. Make it make sense to me. I could approach one of these people and ask, I guess, except I am not A) a journalist B) trying to go viral. Approaching and asking would feel fabricated, I feel (I realize this somewhat contradicts my previous claim that we should be asking more questions, but bear with me). Each of us, me and them, would be bringing our biases to the interaction. I’d be asking them questions in search of confirmation; they’d be answering in the contrived way they feel is correct—however they define that correctness for themselves—and not in their most genuine way. Maybe I’m being too cynical, which I will be again in a moment. In the meantime, I have questions.

Are these people chanting these words absentmindedly? Or are they chanting because they believe it’s the right thing to do; or because it’s what they believe a liberal person should be doing; or because it’s what they believe the world should be shouting; or because they believe it isn’t a question of religion or race or land or ideology, it’s a question of humanity and decency; or, maybe—and this is me being cynical again—are they standing around me, chanting, because they want to feel like something greater than themselves. Some collective effervescence. Who are the chants for, really, and what do they mean?

This takes us back to the crucial notion I alluded to earlier. WOL can play with the name of this holiday, and they can strike a red line through the name of the location, but, ultimately, they can only protest from within the system. Arguments can only be made using the language available to us, a tattered flag can carry its specific meaning only so long as it is still recognizable as a flag, ideas can only be contextualized within the framework of our society, resistance can only bourgeon under a certain level of compliance. That’s what keeps society functioning; that’s what tethers us—our words and actions in this world carry meaning that we collectively understand.

Or we should understand, at least. So, when I hear every single person here clamor, “Resistance is justified / When people are occupied,” I’m curious what that means. Because if your ‘resistance’ entails blocking the entrance to a shopping mall, raising awareness, and speaking out for what you believe is true, just, and right, then I’m on your side. But if you believe that the meaning of ‘resistance’ can be applied to an organization that murders parents in front of their children, binds families together and burns them alive, rapes souls as they take their final gasps, and kidnaps toddlers from their beds, then I want nothing to do with your collective. If, too, you’re comfortable turning a blind eye to the death and destruction left in the wake, if the narrative you propel centers on the side you occupy rather than the side you may occupy, if you’re willing to strike a thick red line through any attempt at increasing the circle’s circumference, I’m not so sure I want much to do with your collective, either.

Mic Lady starts talking about how colonialism is a plague, and should be combated in Puerto Rico and Colombia and Bangladesh. Those injustices—as does the central one protested against at this Circle today—trace back years or decades or centuries. I make a note to myself to check whether videos of people being castigated for shopping at this luxurious mall were posted on Twitter before October 7th, about those injustices, though, regardless of what I’ll find, I understand two things:

  1. Going into this rabbit hole will only lead to more questions. What fight is worth fighting? When does each atrocity have its day in the attention sun? What is the benefit—and I believe that, overall, there is one, albeit in a complex way—in Mic Lady referencing struggles elsewhere in the world at this protest today? When would they come up if not now? Can we only talk about disasters when other disasters are going on? Does that just lead us into an inevitable and never-ending ‘whataboutism’ cycle? How many questions can I ask and not answer in one essay?
  2. I’m being a smartass.

I circumvent around the crowd to see if there’s anything happening on other arcs of the circle that I’m missing out on. I walk past a couple of street vendors selling Palestinian flags and it never fails to amaze me how anything, in this wonderful Capitalistic word, can be monetized. Where there are taxes to evade, there’s a buck to be made. I go past a middle aged woman walking her fluffy little white dog who is incredibly reluctant to walk into the crowd. “Let’s go this way,” she says, as if her words mean anything to him. She pulls the leash, forcibly moving him in a different direction.

It’s cold in NYC today and I’ve had multiple coffees, so, obviously, I’m absolutely desperate to tinkle. I traverse this part of the city often for work purposes, so I know there are public restrooms inside the shopping mall, which is, honestly, quite a rarity (there is an incredible scarcity of free public bathrooms in New York, which is actually a fascinating and huge public policy issue about homelessness and drug use and what basic humanity means, so please dial 6 when ringing my aforementioned Academic Suicide Hotline if you’d like to discuss).

The last thing I hear from the microphone as I head into the mall is, “BDS is the floor, not the ceiling,” and as soon as I’m on the other side of the glass doors I can’t hear a single word from outside. I scamper to the escalator like a man with a bladder that’s rapidly reaching its ceiling. I walk into the bathroom. There are three urinals and three stalls. All occupied. I do a quick Kegel exercise and wait for a vacancy. Five (5) teenage boys walk in. A urinal clears and I go bid my respects to Urinitus, the great Greek god of piss. Someone walks out of the stall, one of the teenagers goes to take his spot, and the dude who walked out says, “The lock is broken, just so you know.” I’m not sure the cautionary words mean much to the teen, who, as soon as he enters the stall, begins to moan sex sounds as loud as humanly possible (at least in my experience). I love teenage boys. Not like that. Relax.

I make it back out to the protest and lean against the same glass wall. The five (5) teenage boys from the bathroom walk out of the mall and begin heading south, then they notice the crowd of people blocking the way. One of them goes, “Aw fuck no I’m not tryna walk through that,” and they all turn around. Two guys, probably early 20s, wearing skinny jeans and parka jackets and balaclavas that cover pretty much their entire faces, show up and approach a group of dudes already here. I wonder what all these guys call ketchup-mayo mixes. They exchange hellos and dap ups, and someone asks the newly arrived pair in their balaclavas, “Are you guys brothers? You have the same eyes.” I, of course, find this fascinating.

Speeches are over and the crowd now alternates between two chants: “Resistance is justified / When people face genocide” and “There is only one solution / Intifada revolution.” While, again, I’m curious by what all words mean (and who is listening), I find the word ‘solution’ to be particularly striking (despite the fact that the heaviest word there is, of course, ‘genocide,’ and which I will dedicate its own essay to).

I circumvent my way to the other side of the protest, where I see a man wearing a massive cross holding up a sign that has a cyclical flow chart with two images, each pointing an arrow at the other as if one becomes the other. Kind of like a chicken and an egg situation. Chicken becomes egg becomes chicken becomes egg… you get the gist. The first image on this man’s poster is the Israeli flag, and the second is the word “NAZIS.” What do words mean. I don’t know for a fact how the man holding this poster would define the aforementioned ‘solution,’ but I presume he’d opt for a Final one.

I lean against a metal balustrade, light a cigarette, and take a picture of this dude’s sign. The chanting continues, and I notice some sort of movement in the crowd. The gaping hole in the middle is all but gone, and it seems as if the group, as a collective, is beginning to move in my direction. They are moving in my direction. The WOL post, I’m remembering now, did mention that after the protest the crowd is going to march up Central Park West and towards the Natural History Museum. I struggle to find sense in their movement because that’s literally in the opposite direction of where I am, but they are definitely coming my way, led by, I should note, ‘Israelis are Nazis’ man. I feel like Simba after Mufasa died with the herd of buffalo stampeding towards him (this is, by all accounts, a perfect animal kingdom metaphor).

(Picture taken by author)

I let out a puff of smoke with the hope the crowd doesn’t presume I’m leaving a cloud of toxins in their trail, then step out of their way. As I walk, I see the street vendors packing up their stock of flags and folding up their tables. I stop to finish my cigarette and see a lady, probably in her 60s, walking past the vendors, and she flips a middle finger at all of them. Glove on for the cold, huge jacket on, and a middle finger held up for a good 30 seconds. “UNFUCK THE WORLD” dude has some competition.

I’m tired (I’m assuming you, reading this, are too). I want to go home but decide to go to the bathroom one more time before leaving, just to make sure I leave with an empty tank. I enter the mall and understand why the protest walked in the wrong direction. They headed towards a different entrance to the mall, and are now marching through the passageway, preventing people from crossing from one side of the mall to the other. Shoppers near me all come to a halt and wait for the long line of traffic to pass, seemingly believing that protestors marching are akin to cars going 60 miles per hour. I decide to cross. I don’t bump into any of the protestors, yet no one seems to follow my lead.

I begin walking uptown. I’m hungry, and I stop at this place I’ve never seen before that has a pink exterior but that sells empanadas. This is odd, but the thought of warm dough and meat is what motivates 83% of my life decisions, so I enter. I order then crash against the store’s wall as I wait for my order number to be called then sigh loudly then try to start processing everything I just saw. I stare blankly at what’s in front of me, which, unfortunately, and without me realizing, is a man whose bicep is—genuinely—bigger than my thigh. He asks me, “You good?” Twice. I snap back into life and apologize just about enough times for him to believe me it was an honest mistake and there’s no need for him to knock me the fuck out. I keep my head down till my order number gets called and I grab the food and leave immediately and inhale the fried pastries in anteater fashion as I continue uptown.

I cross paths with the protest twice as they snake their way through the streets that intersect the avenue I’m walking up. The patrons at each store and restaurant I walk past pause their conversations to film the marching protest, and I’m curious what they’ll do with the video (and whether I’m in it [and whether it’ll go viral]). I notice a hole-in-the-wall Irish bar I’ve never been to and I walk inside to start going through my notes. (For those of you keeping track of how long it takes me to write, this process started on the Friday of Thanksgiving and we are now in 2024).

The man on the barstool next to me is on his phone scrolling through an Australian news website, reading an article about the war. The bartender, in an immaculate Irish accent, asks me what I want, and I tell her a Guinness, and after ¾ and a ¼ of a pour, it’s in front of me. The Aussie next to me asks for another round of a pint of Guinness and a shot of Jamison, and I confidently just called him that because his accent screams that he is not Australian, but an Aussie. The bartender serves him then walks towards the entrance to chat to a couple of women who I’m presuming are regulars. The protest passes by and we can hear the chants through the bar’s doors. The bartender asks the two women what that noise is, and one of the women informs her it’s a protest, and the bartender asks what are they protesting about, and the woman says, “It’s a Palestinian protest, against Israel,” and the bartender, instantly, says, “Why are they protesting here then?”

What do words mean. And who is listening.


I asked a lot of questions here. I’m not sure how many answers I’ve given. I’m not sure how many I have.

There’s a part of me that wants to say that I’ve been looking at this day from a slightly wrong angle. Not necessarily a biased one, though that is certainly a possibility. Maybe it’s not about what these words mean to me; it’s about what these words mean to the people saying them. I’m quite certain that most of them—barring, perhaps, people interested in Final Solutions—actually have their hearts in the right place. I’m aware that my saying this also implies that not only is my heart in the right place, but that I have some sort of legitimacy to define what ‘the right place’ even means. I’m not Eyal Merriam-Webster, I know. But I know that Durkheim, were he still alive, would be disappointed. Because our collectives now hinge on the alienation of others. We find ourselves continuously reaffirming our belonging to a group—through our words, through our actions—in a manner that detaches us from people around us. While repeatedly reigniting our ties with communities of like-minded people, we alienate ourselves from people who believe they are standing for what is right, from people who wish to accentuate parts of themselves, from those who just want to gain access or make an honest dollar or walk their dog or just take a goddamn fucking piss.

With every word, with every action, we feel closer to those who see the world in the same way we do, and farther away from those who don’t. We feel better about ourselves, while losing connection with the society we live in.

And that, as Durkheim and Mic Lady told us, is costing lives.

About the Author
Eyal Cohen is a nonfiction writer based in New York City. Born in Israel, he was recruited to play soccer in undergrad in Florida, after which he moved to NYC for his MFA in writing from Columbia University. He’s currently shopping his memoir / cultural criticism hybrid: A book-length essay about how men understand, withhold, and externalize love.
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