Social interaction is a powerful tool. It leads to a union of two entirely different individuals for a particular period of time, which leads to exchange of ideas and thoughts and sometimes to the physical contact. Richard Simmel (1858-1918) invented a new term “sociation” to define this type of interaction. Sociation will be further explained in regards to habit, class inequality, cooperation, and debt. Each of these terms holds a significant place in determining how sociation leads to the development of today’s societal nature.
Charles Duhigg (2012) presents a wonderful example of how habits determine society’s reaction to a particular individual. He states that “people come to be accepted into the society by developing what is called weak ties (ties which are temporary and not profound)”. These weak ties in turn lead to people copying each other at random. This is commonly known as peer pressure that can lead to the mass movements as evidenced in the example of the Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott case (Duhigg, 2012, p.424). People hardly knew Rosa Parks but supported her cause nevertheless. Peer pressure made people develop a sense of identity in the society just because other black people supported that cause.
The word “debt” is one of the most frequently used within the modern societal interactions. Debt has varied meanings, but the most meaningful is “a feeling of gratitude for a favor or service”. Graeber (2011) states “when it comes to society, honor and dignity takes prevalence over the monetary aspect of debt”. However, over time, both have come to be intertwined inexplicably. The author tries to explain that money yet to be repaid was considered a lowering of one’s honor in the face of society and was, therefore, linked to one’s dignity. Graeber elucidates that when people interacted in the olden times, the question of settling one’s debt to ensure restoration of honor invariably crept up. Thus, people thought that being in debt is a sign of insult to their pride.
Class inequality is another term, which is the most apt in terms of societal interaction. Very often, income inequality is the main cause of differences in classes amongst people. Noah (2012) states that the society “has a conspicuous history of treating certain races different from the others based on certain factors, with the most common being the income levels”. He also mentions that people of higher income levels do not allow institutions to place them with the lower classes for mixing, thus creating inequality. Therefore, a proper interaction between the society members is impossible, creating a fractional dysfunctional society instead (Noah, 2012).
During societal interaction, it is of utmost importance for the two individuals to cooperate with one another. Today’s society comprises of individuals that belong to the different religions, races, genders, ethnicities as well as have different economic outlooks. To live among a huge variety of individuals one has to develop certain skills and not just goodwill. One has to be a good listener and be willing to discuss proactively rather than engage in the pointless debate (Sennett, 2012). It explains the point that people who succeed in developing these interaction skills earn the pleasure of being accepted into a harmonious society compared to those who do not, and are, therefore, viewed upon as outcasts. Professor Sennett goes one step further in stating that “these interactions can play a vital role in community development, resolving of key issues and bringing about financial harmony”. With an insight into these key terms, it can be concluded that interaction between the individuals in a society can come about by co-operation. However, it is also closely linked to the other terms of habits, debt and inequality, since members of the society need to look over these things in order to flourish in the modern world.